King County Councilmember Jane Hague, in the midst of an already troubled re-election campaign, said Friday she takes full responsibility for widely circulated reports that she has a college degree that she doesn’t have.
But Hague denied intentionally providing incorrect information and initially said she was puzzled at how several “Who’s Who” books, The Seattle Times, the Municipal League of King County and the National Association of Counties all reported erroneously that she had a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University.
“What is the point here? Are you trying to call me a liar?” she asked at one point.
“I’m willing to say that if there were erroneous reports, then you may call me guilty. You can call me guilty because the buck stops here,” the Bellevue Republican said.
Actually, the “buck” never quite “stops” with Hague. It drunkenly weaves for a few miles first, before getting pulled over and blowing a 0.14.
Asked why several “Who’s Who” books said she had a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan, Hague said at first, “Beats me.” She then speculated that her staff members may have inadvertently filled out forms with incorrect information.
Because of course, when she says “the buck stops here,” “here” apparently refers to her incompetent staff.
If that happened, she said, “I didn’t check it closely enough. There you have it. My fault. I should have been a better proofreader. I should have been more careful about it.”
Sober translation: “I’ve got sucky staff, and it’s my fault for not keeping a closer eye on them when they fill out candidate questionnaires I’m supposed to be filling out myself.
“About 20 years ago,” when Hague contacted her alma mater in an attempt to document her credits and get a degree, she learned that credits from the law class hadn’t been transferred to Western Michigan and by then it was too late. She said she never tried to portray herself as a college graduate.
That’s right, Hague never tried to portray herself as a college graduate, except, you know… in a 1993 Municipal League candidate questionnaire, in the 1991, 1995 and 1996 editions of “Who’s Who”, in Seattle Times campaign profiles in 1993 and 1997, and in a published story in the National Association of Counties online newsletter in 2000… all of which occurred after she claims she first found out she never got a diploma. But other than that, never.
I suppose the kerfluffle over a “BS in Business and Economics” that Hague claimed to receive, but never did, wouldn’t be such a big deal if it wasn’t part of an established pattern of disingenuity and blame shifting over the past 15 years. Indeed, as the P-I reports, Hague has a documented history of blaming others.
After being pulled over for weaving dangerously on the 520 bridge, and then twice blowing nearly double the legal limit, Hague verbally berated the arresting officers, blamed her husband, and is now contesting the DUI. After a 2001 collision with a Metro bus, Hague blamed the bus driver, despite his account and those of witnesses, including an off-duty police officer. When found guilty of ethics violations in 1999 she blamed it on bad advice from a county attorney, who denied having given her any advice at all. And just a few weeks ago, in responding to a campaign disclosure violation complaint, her campaign blamed a “volunteer treasurer” for failing to meet state requirements.
Anybody who has ever run for office or worked closely on a campaign knows how candidates labor over their answers on questionnaires and in interviews — and how closely they scrutinize the write-ups, endorsements and evaluations they get in response. For years Hague knew that publications and organizations were crediting her with a BS she did not earn, and she did nothing to correct the record. For years Hague lied about her resume… part of a pattern that clearly suggests that she lacks the integrity and forthrightness voters usually demand from their elected officials.
Actually paying money to have your name printed in “Who’s Who” is embarrassing enough, but exaggerating your profile is just plan pathetic. Are voters ready to remove this embarrassment from the King County Council?