A Republican congressional candidate in Indiana’s conservative 3rd Congressional District has a history of misrepresenting his academic record. Kip Tom, a corporate farmer who has collected millions in federal farm subsidies, is running to replace conservative Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R) who is running for an open U.S. Senate seat. The other credible candidate in the IN-03 GOP primary is state Sen. Jim Banks, a highly conservative member of the state legislature and Navy Reserve officer who returned from Afghanistan just last year.
Until recently, Tom claimed that he held an associate’s degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M. He has made his long career in corporate farming the centerpiece of his campaign, arguing that his resume and business experience set him apart from other candidates in the race. Numerous biographies, including until recently his own LinkedIn page, tout the degree from Texas A&M. “Tom has an associate’s degree from Texas A&M in agrcultural [sic] economics,” reads his bio on Farmers Feeding the World, where he serves as a board member.
His official biography on his corporate website notes “Courses of Study include: Associate Degree in Agriculture Management, Texas A&M” and that same biography with that same line also appears on the official website of Purdue University.
But now Tom is changing his tune. While a news story from early in the campaign said Tom “earned an associate degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University,” Tom’s campaign website makes no mention of the degree and instead references a management certificate the businessman obtained from Texas A&M.
More damaging, though, is the fact that Tom’s LinkedIn page, which once cited his associate’s degree, now calls the exact same degree a “certificate.” His page originally listed “Associate’s Degree Agriculture Management, Texas A&M” but now calls that program “Certificate of Agriculture Management, Texas A&M.”
Lying about his resume didn’t harm his chances of collecting nearly $3.3 million in federal welfare, but it may well harm Kip Tom’s ability to convince voters that they should sent him to Washington. After all, as Kip Tom says in his own ad, Washington politicians “these days. . . throw a lot of it [manure] around.” It starts with false statements made on the campaign trail.
Kip Tom’s old LinkedIn page: