Tennessee GOP congressman pocketed $25,000 donated for his stillborn son's memorial: report

Tennessee GOP congressman pocketed $25,000 donated for his stillborn son's memorial: report
Rep. Andy Ogles, Image via Twitter

Freshman Congressman Andy Ogles (R-TN) appears to have pocketed $25,000 he crowdfunded to build a memorial for his stillborn son, reportedThe New Republic on Wednesday.

"An investigation by NewsChannel5 found that Ogles set up a GoFundMe in 2014 after his son was stillborn. Ogles said he wanted to build a garden where families could bury their stillborn children and sit on benches by the gravestones. The GoFundMe raised almost $25,000, but the garden was never built," said the report. "GoFundMe confirmed that Ogles received the money. He declined to answer any of NewsChannel5’s questions about what happened to the funds."

"Ogles had told The Tennessean in 2015 that 'burials are heavily regulated,' preventing them from buying all the plots necessary to start the garden. He promised that none of the money had been spent," said the report. "The funeral director of Williamson Memorial Funeral Home was quoted in the same story saying she planned to meet with the Ogles family to help organize their plans. But eight years later, she told NewsChannel5, the family never followed up with her."

According to the report, one donor demanded a refund after Ogles refused to clarify what the money was being used for, and was given a refund — but many other donors were never refunded.

This comes after a series of investigative reports into Ogles, who was elected to a Nashville-area seat previously represented by Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper before being heavily gerrymandered for Republicans. A report by The Washington Post in February found that Ogles repeatedly claimed to be an "economist," despite not having a degree in that field, and to have been a law enforcement officer who combated international sex trafficking, which was a misleading embellishment of his work. A subsequent report found he also claimed to have run a consulting firm, but there is no record of this.

Ogles' embellishments have earned him comparisons to scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos of New York, another freshman Republican who lied about his work history, ethnicity, and education and is now under investigation for campaign finance irregularities.

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