The Curious Case of Christine O’Donnell’s LinkedIn Profile

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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Is it possible that Christine O'Donnell has been falsely accused, by us and the entire Internet, of lying about attending Oxford University and Claremont Graduate University? That's what O'Donnell claimed today — because the LinkedIn profile in which she allegedly misstated her education history wasn't even hers.


“I never established a LinkedIn profile, or authorized anyone to do so on my behalf. I have always been clear about my educational background. I completed undergraduate work at Fairleigh Dickinson University. After my undergraduate work, I completed a summer program run by the Phoenix Institute, at the institute’s Oxford University location. The institute runs programs around the world at various universities, and participants study issues of human dignity. I also completed a Lincoln Fellowship at the Claremont Institute in Claremont, Calif. We would encourage LinkedIn to remove this profile."

Let's look at this claim a little more closely. If it's really not her profile and was created unbeknownst to her and without her permission, that means:

• That someone unconnected to O'Donnell knew her employment and education history well enough to craft a thorough and highly detailed (and for the most part accurate) profile. This isn't like a fake Twitter account where all you need to do is sign up as "TheRealChristineO'Donnell" and you're set. There was a ton of information on this profile.

• That, also unlike a fake Twitter account, whoever did this went through all that effort not to paint an unflattering portrait of O'Donnell, but just the opposite. LinkedIn took down the page, but with the help of Google cache, we can see that her experience at the RNC, for example, is described in the same self-promotional way that people typically write about themselves on résumés.


Created and implemented GOP-TV marketing strategy that the Washington Post credited for playing a significant role in the historic 1994 GOP sweep. Tripled desired marketing goal in half the projected time.

• That at no time did O'Donnell notice that she had a fully fleshed-out LinkedIn profile that she knew nothing about. Perhaps she is not a self-Googler.

• That when The Plum Line's Greg Sargent asked the O'Donnell campaign for an explanation about the Oxford University claim last week and this week, her spokeswoman Diane Banister never mentioned that it wasn't even an authorized account because of ... some reason that exists. When asked about this, Banister told the AP, "Ms. O'Donnell has clarified any questions about her education and the LinkedIn page."

We're not saying that O'Donnell is lying, but logically, her explanation seems like a stretch. Which is more likely, that O'Donnell had zero connection or knowledge of her extensive and flattering LinkedIn profile, or that she just made a few mistakes in the section about her education history? LinkedIn is "looking into the matter," according to a spokesman, so hopefully they can shed some light on this mystery soon.