Politics

Did This Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Embellish Her Military And Legal Experience?

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

If you listen to past statements made by Christine Jones, you might come away with the impression that the Republican candidate for governor of Arizona is a former Los Angeles prosecutor. You might also think she is an Air Force veteran.

The problem: Neither of those things are 100 percent true.

Jones, a political newcomer and former general counsel of web hosting company GoDaddy.com, is facing political attacks over statements about her work experience that don’t appear to line up completely with her past.

Her campaign contests that she ever misled about her background. But spokeswoman Anna Haberlein acknowledged to The Daily Caller: “Christine isn’t a practiced politician; she hasn’t dedicated her life to parsing every word.”

Take Jones’ testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on online sales of prescription drugs in 2008. Jones, speaking in her capacity of general counsel of GoDaddy.com, said: “I can tell you when I was a prosecutor, a vast, vast majority of the cases I tried [were] drug cases.”

“I tried cases in Compton,” Jones elaborated. “You may have heard of it before. It’s an area outside of Los Angeles. Lots of drug users. You know, we always had a theory that if we didn’t get a guy the first time, that was ok. Because he was going to be back.”

Jones, however, has never been a paid employee of the Los Angeles District Attorney Office or even been admitted to the bar in California. But she was a certified law clerk that helped the D.A.’s office prosecute cases in the nineties.

A third party group that supports Jones’ Republican primary rival Doug Ducey is now running ads attacking her for her prosecutor comments, questioning her truthfulness.

But Jones’ campaign stands by her comments that she was a prosecutor in California.

“The fact is Christine Jones served as a Certified Law Clerk in the mid-90s in Los Angeles in one of the most dangerous communities in the nation,” Jones spokeswoman Haberlein told TheDC. “She prosecuted felony preliminary hearings, misdemeanor trials and even sat second chair in the Lamar Barnwell death penalty trial. The recent attack ad asserts that Christine was not an employee of the LA District Attorney’s Office when in fact she was an unpaid Certified Law Clerk and prosecuted cases.”

Jones’ legal background is not the only work claim that has been questioned. In an interview last year, Jones appeared to claim that she had served in the Air Force.

The truth is that she was never actually in the service, though she did take part in the Air Force ROTC while at the University of Oklahoma. The Department of Defense has no record of Jones ever serving in the Air Force, according to a FOIA request provided to The Daily Caller by one critic.

On the Copper Talk political podcast last year, Jones described how she went off to the University of Oklahoma with plans to join the Air Force and become an astronaut but vision problems stopped her.

“As I said, I went off to be in the Air Force. And I met a really nice guy at church who was also in the Air Force and he and I got married.”

Speaking of the Air Force, Jones explained: “I got out, he stayed in.”