United Way service was on a committee, not a board.
Congressional candidate Jim Graves acknowledged Monday that he did not, in fact, serve on the board of United Way of Central Minnesota, as he had previously claimed in an online biography.
The DFL candidate, who is challenging Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Sixth District seat, changed his online biography after the United Way confirmed that it had no record of his board service. Graves did serve for several years on what United Way described as a "board-level committee," working on the charity's annual fundraising drive.
State Republicans, who pointed out the résumé discrepancy last Friday, continued to hammer away at the campaign Monday. But the Graves campaign spokesman said the candidate simply lost track of the boards and committee positions he had served on over the years.
Adam Graves, the candidate's campaign manager and son, said of his father that "I know he never anticipated running for office" when the original biography went up on the website for Graves' hotel chain. "When I asked him about it he said, 'Well, let's just change the website.'"
United Way CEO Patrick Powell confirmed Monday that Graves has never served on its board of directors. But the agency's records show that from the late 1980s to the early '90s, he served on the "campaign cabinet" that organizes the charity's annual fundraising drive.
Powell said it isn't uncommon for community volunteers to confuse boards with committees.
The Graves World Hospitality site had stated that "Jim Graves has served on numerous non-profit boards, including United Way of Central Minnesota."
It now says that Graves served on "numerous non-profit boards and/or committees, including the United Way of Central Minnesota."
Bachmann has herself been hammered by fact-checkers for claims ranging from the charge that vaccines cause mental retardation to an accusation that the U.S. government is being infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Her campaign was quick to call Graves a liar.
"Jim Graves got caught red-handed. When you sit on a board, you go to board meetings. It's a pretty simple thing to remember," said Bachmann campaign manager Chase Kroll in a statement.
"It's dishonest and wrong for Jim Graves to claim he sat on a board of a charity when it is clearly not the case."
Jennifer Brooks • 651-925-5049