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Originally published October 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 23, 2008 at 10:10 PM

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Web sites misrepresent Reichert's résumé

A day after reports that congressional candidate Darcy Burner exaggerated her Harvard degree, her campaign pointed out that numerous Web sites misrepresent Republican Congressman Dave Reichert's two-year associate degree as a bachelor's degree.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Turns out U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert has resume questions of his own.

Numerous Web sites misrepresented Republican Reichert's two-year associate degree as a bachelor's degree.

Reichert's opponent, Democrat Darcy Burner, pointed out the incorrect Web sites a day after The Seattle Times reported that Burner said at two recent debates that she has an economics degree. She has a computer science degree from Harvard with a "special field," or emphasis, in economics.

Her campaign says the emphasis in economics is roughly equivalent to a minor in the subject.

At least five Web sites, including a government-sponsored congressional directory at bioguide.congress.gov, listed Reichert's education as "B.A., Concordia Lutheran College, Portland, Oregon."

None of the Web sites with the wrong information are affiliated with Reichert's campaign. His congressional office was taking steps to correct the errors this afternoon.

It wasn't immediately clear where the wrong information came from.

The congressional directory gets its information from public sources, such as newspapers. Editors at the Web site said their sources of information about Reichert were a Washington Post Web site biography and a 2004 issue of "The Hill," a congressional newspaper.

A spokeswoman at Concordia University, Jeanie-Marie Price, confirmed that Reichert has a two-year associate degree, which he earned in 1970 while attending the college on a football scholarship. The school only offered two-year degrees at the time.

When Reichert attended, the college was called Concordia College. Now it's called Concordia University. It is a Lutheran university.

"This claim that Congressman Reichert has a four-year B.A. degree has been up on that Web site for years, and neither Congressman Reichert nor his campaign have made any effort to correct the record," said Sandeep Kaushik, a spokesman for the Burner campaign. "Certainly it appears that they were happy to leave this false impression that he had a four-year B.A. degree."

Reichert, a former King County sheriff and two-term incumbent, has never made a big deal about his degree. He went to college briefly on a football scholarship, then left to join the Air Force.

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His campaign and his congressional office Web sites both say he "graduated from Concordia Lutheran College." They don't mention what kind of degree he earned.

"We've never told anyone it's anything but an A.A.," said Mike Shields, Reichert's campaign manager. "In fact, he talks in speeches and says 'A.A.' all the time, because it's part of his story. ... It's in his book that he wrote."

Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or eheffter@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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