Dallas (and Observer)-Tied Trump Official Busted for Lying on Résumé

Mina Chang, as she appeared in the Observer's 2014 people issue
Mina Chang, as she appeared in the Observer's 2014 people issue Can Turkyilmaz
U.S. State Department official and former Dallas media darling Mina Chang had a bad day Monday. Just before lunch, NBC News posted a triple-bylined investigative piece outlining how Chang worked her way into a job as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Trump administration, thanks to a puffed-up résumé and fake Time magazine cover.

According to the story, Chang, who did not return a request for comment from NBC and deleted her Twitter account Monday, didn't have a degree from Harvard Business School, despite claiming to be an "alumna" in her official State Department biography. She also never spoke at the 2016 Democratic or Republican national conventions despite claiming to have done so, nor did she appear on the cover of Time, despite answering questions about having made such an appearance during a 2017 interview. According to the NBC report, Chang also inflated her experience as the CEO of a nonprofit called Linking the World:

"For Chang's current job, her most relevant experience would appear to be her time as CEO of a nonprofit called Linking the World. Chang has touted her small nonprofit online and in speeches as operating in dozens of countries, building schools and "impacting" thousands of people. But tax filings for her organization offer no concrete information about overseas projects and show a budget of less than $300,000 with a handful of staff," the report from Dan De Luce, Laura Strickler and Ari Sen says.

In 2014, the Observer interviewed Chang for its People Issue. Chang described giving up her career as a pop singer shortly after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

"I called Linking the World and said, 'I can be there tomorrow,'" Chang said. "I took a huge chance stepping away from something I thought was safe and such a huge opportunity but I knew this is where my heart is."

Chang released a Christmas album in 2009 on Fischer Records. Chang's K-pop album from the same year appears to have been self-released.

While it appears that Chang may have been in Haiti at some point after the earthquake, a separate claim, made by Chang in 2014, about building schools in Haiti, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Kenya has no evidence to back it up, according to NBC.

In 2015, her charity received tax exempt status from the IRS, according to public records.

A review of her nonprofit's IRS returns from 2014 and 2015 shows no information about operating or building schools, and offers no details about staff devoted to managing aid projects on the ground in those countries.

In public remarks in 2015 she said her group worked in 40 countries: "We have in-house K9 search and rescue teams, we have testified in front of hearing committees on Capitol Hill, we've done things like lectured at West Point, brief chiefs of staff at the Pentagon."

NBC News was unable to find any record of her or her organization ever testifying before Congress.
The Observer isn't the only local media organization with ties to Chang. Just two years ago, she was a featured speaker at D CEO's 2017 Women’s Leadership Symposium.

The magazine, editor Tim Rogers said in a blog post Monday, won't be having Chang back.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young