Delaware Republican Senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell has responded to accusations that she overstated her education in her resume by insisting that a LinkedIn profile erroneously stating she went to Oxford University wasn't authored with her knowledge.
But now a new website has surfaced listing the same erroneous biographical information. And a website spokesman claims that O'Donnell entered the data herself.
On Thursday, the Democratic National Committee pointed out a second O'Donnell Internet profile also lists the candidate as having studied at the University of Oxford (O'Donnell took a course with the Phoenix Institute on Oxford's campus). On a Zoom Info entry, the Delaware Republican is described as having received a "Certificate" in "Post Modernism in the New Millennium" at the University of Oxford. The entry, as noted in the top right corner, was "User Verified."
Resume websites are notorious for scraping information from other sites, which would raise the possibility that the ZoomInfo entry was merely a duplication of what appeared on LinkedIn. But O'Donnell's biography is described differently in each. And a spokesman for Zoominfo told the Huffington Post that the company has a policy of not grabbing information from its main competitor.
"We scan the web to pull most of our info so it is pulled from a variety of sources just as a starting point," said Matt Lloyd, a ZoomInfo spokesperson. "We will look at news articles and a variety of different things. We do not actually pull from LinkedIn. LinkedIn has some strong privacy laws and they are our competition so we have been pretty rigid about not taking information from them."
So where (if not LinkedIn) did ZoomInfo get the false information that O'Donnell attended Oxford? Lloyd said it came from the candidate herself.
"The profile was actually claimed in 2008 which means that she has verified the information and updated it," he said. "Anyone can go in and claim a profile and update the information... She claimed it in 2008 and then, as I mentioned, we are going out there and looking for stories about her that we probably pulled in. But the education material would have probably been pulled from her own update back in 2008."
Lloyd's explanation for how the ZoomInfo profile came to be contradicts the explanation O'Donnell has offered with respect to the LinkedIn page. The Delaware Republican has insisted that the latter profile was done without her knowledge or authorization and she has called for the information to be removed from the page.
"I have always been clear about my educational background," she said in a statement released this week. "I completed undergraduate work at Fairleigh Dickenson 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, CA. We would encourage LinkedIn to remove this profile."
O'Donnell's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment. And the possibility does exist that the same person who, without authorization, posted the resume on one webpage theoretically could have done the same on the other. But as Hari Sevugan, the DNC Press Secretary who first posted about the ZoomInfo website, asked: "If a profile is "user verified" & has unique info, it's user created (not grabbed from the net), right?"