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August 08, 2008

Did Dem recruit fudge resume?

Could the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee be having some second thoughts of their endorsement of Iraq war veteran Jon Powers in a competitive Rochester-area primary?

Powers, who served as an Army captain in Iraq, is a highly-touted Democratic candidate running for the seat of retiring Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.). He won early support from the New York Democratic establishment, and received donations from most Democratic members in the state’s Congressional delegation.

But now one of the central parts of his resume appears to be embellished, which has drawn him scrutiny from his hometown paper.

From the Buffalo News:

If there is a single basis for Jon Powers’ Democratic candidacy for Congress, it’s the influence of Iraq on his young life.

His tour of duty there as an Army captain dominates his resume. So does the War Kids Relief nonprofit organization he started to shield Iraq’s youth from the influence of Islamic radicals.

Now, on the campaign trail, Powers continually touts stories in Newsweek, the New York Times, The Buffalo News and NBC News about his plan to raise as much as $7 million for Iraqi orphanages and youth centers.

But while Powers’ Web site highlights War Kids Relief as “quickly recognized for its path breaking work,” critics say it accomplished little beyond shipping a few soccer balls and backpacks to Iraq –and paying Powers about $77,000 worth of salary over 18 months.

Another editorial in the paper refers to Powers' "unseemly boasting of charitable work that amounted to far less than he has advertised."

With the support of the local leadership, Powers still is the favorite to win the nomination against self-funded businessman Jack Davis and attorney Alice Kryzan.  But these developments are raising GOP optimism of their chances of holding onto this Rochester-area seat.

The winner of the Democratic primary will be facing businessman Chris Lee.