Rand Paul Under Fire for Misleading Board-Certified Claim
June 15, 2010
(ChattahBox)— Wacky Republican candidate for Senate, Kentuckian Rand Paul is taking some heat for his misleading claim that he is a “board-certified” ophthalmologist, when in fact, Paul allowed his certification with the American Board of Medical Specialties to lapse in 2005. Why? Because he disagreed with the Board’s change from lifetime to 10-year certifications, at which time older lifetime members were grandfathered in. So, the libertarian tea party member, who questioned the Civil Rights Act, decided to just form his own eye surgeon certification board, presided over by himself and staffed with family members, including his wife. Hey, yah know, this is the United States of America people, an ophthalmologist patriot has the freedom to operate on human eyeballs, without kowtowing to a “hypocritical” medical board that he says discriminates against young doctors. So what’s the big deal? Well, for one, Paul told reporters that he was certified by both the nationally recognized American Board of Medical Specialties and his own board that no one recognizes, which doesn’t happen to be true.
The discrepancy in his “board-certified” claims was first reported by the Courier-Journal:
“Rand Paul, who practices in Bowling Green, says he is certified by the National Board of Ophthalmology, a group that he incorporated in 1999 and that he heads. But that entity is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, which works with the American Medical Association to approve such specialty boards.” [...]
“The American Academy of Ophthalmology recognizes board certification only by the American Board of Ophthalmology.”
What standards does Paul’s own board require for certification? No-one seems to know. Paul’s self-run group, the National Board of Ophthalmology doesn’t have a website and its mailing address is a “UPS Store in Bowling Green.”
Last month, Paul told the paper he was certified by both boards. But when it was pointed out to Paul that the Courier-Journal discovered his certification with the American Board of Ophthalmology, expired in 2005, Paul’s spokesperson says he misspoke. And when a reporter with the paper sought to question Paul on the discrepancy, he dismissed the controversy as irrelevant. Paul, said “What does this have to do with our election?” When asked when he would be willing to address the board-certification issue, Paul responded, “Uh, you know, never…”
Later, Paul’s campaign manager, said the senatorial candidate would only respond to written questions.
After the Courier-Journal story gained traction, Paul whined to the Associated Press about the criticism regarding his lack of an accepted and nationally recognized board-certification, which he held himself out to have. “It’s a personal assault on my ability to make a living,” said Paul.
Paul’s Democratic rival, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, was quick to jump on the controversy, as a serious credibility issue for Paul. “It is clear that Rand Paul does not think the rules apply to him,” Conway campaign manager Jonathan Drobis said in a statement Monday.
Paul has since responded to the flap, by issuing a long statement, explaining the reasons why he formed his own certification board, but he didn’t address the issue of misrepresenting himself as board-certified:
“Is it fair that the ophthalmologist down the street can claim board certification, without renewing it, but that a younger ophthalmologist, who passed the same boards, is disallowed? This is the kind of hypocritical power play that I despise and have always fought against. It reminds me of congress passing health care legislation but exempting themselves from their own laws,” read Paul’s statement in part.
Meanwhile, Paul continues to avoid interviews with national media and instead, only appears on friendly conservative outlets, such as Fox News and right-wing talk radio.
Photo Source: Official campaign photo