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."
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.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.