This Republican Got His ‘Business Degree’ From A Steakhouse Franchise

“This was a management course he took when he worked for Sizzler, kind of like Hamburger University at McDonald’s.”



A Republican senator is facing backlash for claiming he had a college degree before it was discovered his university operated a steakhouse in Torrance, California.

Iowa Sen. Mark Chelgren’s biographical information on the Senate Republicans’ website, according to NBC News, stated he had a business degree from California-based “Forbco Management” school — however, the name isn’t listed as an accredited school by the National Center for Education Statistics and records show the only Forbco in California is an operator for a Sizzler steakhouse franchise and does not award a “degree.”

Iowa State Republicans spokesperson Ed Failor admitted Chelgren did not hold a formal degree and that his credentials on the website have since been updated to remove reference to the degree.

“This was a management course he took when he worked for Sizzler, kind of like Hamburger University at McDonald’s,” Failor explained. “He got a certificate.”

As for Chelgren, he insisted he had not been trying to be deceptive.

“This was not an attempt to inflate anything. I didn’t concern myself about this, honestly,” he said. "I had to take their school and their classes and they gave me their degree — as they termed it — and I have used that terminology.

“I was told, ‘Well, it is probably better terminology to say ‘certificate,’ so regardless of however they want to do it, that is the semantics (NBC News is) arguing.”

Yet, in a telephone interview last week, Chelgren said Forbco was based somewhere in Los Angeles and he got his business degree “around ’88 or ‘89” and also, it was so many years ago, he couldn’t remember.

The Senate Republicans’ website now states Chelgren attended the University of California at Riverside majoring in astro-physics, geo-physics and mathematics. The Republican added he attended the university for three years but did not get a degree. However, university spokesman John Warren told NBC News that the Republican only attended the institute form 1992 to 1993.

Chelgren has an answer for this discrepancy as well, stating he had also attended “Riverside Community College.”

The Iowa Republican’s qualifications came under inspection due to a bill he is sponsoring that seeks to limit the number of Democrat professors universities can employ.

Supporting Senate File 228, Chelgren said his own experiences with “liberal professors” have impelled him to push for a plan that would impose a hiring freeze so that there are no more than 10 percent more Democrat professors than Republican ones in a university.

The bill has created a lot of controversy and critics believe it is just another attempt of Chelgren to avoid being challenged on his non-existent credentials by conservative voters.











Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mike Segar 

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