On the Friday before the following Tuesday primary election, I called Democratic state Rep. Kevin Murphy about a problem. The Scranton lawmaker from the 113th Legislative District said he’d check out the matter immediately. Murphy reassured me that the issue must be a simple misunderstanding.
Murphy’s political career then began its immediate slide into oblivion.
The cocky incumbent lost his bid for re-election to a former professional boxer and mixed martial arts cage fighter with no political experience other than a choke-hold.
Murphy didn’t tap out, he blacked out.
With no Republican opponent and without a write-in miracle, Murphy will not return to Harrisburg.
And Murphy has nobody to blame but himself.
The Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from the University of Scranton that Murphy claimed to possess for decades does not exist.
The desperate spinning he tried during those long few days leading up to his loss failed to convince countless voters that he is anything other than another dishonest politician.
Even in defeat, almost a month after the election, paid public servant Murphy remains dishonest.
As of this morning, Murphy still lists his degree from the University of Scranton on his official Commonwealth House of Representatives biography. Under a color photo of a smiling Murphy posing beside the stars and stripes of the American flag, the lie continues.
“University of Scranton, B.S., Criminal Justice, 1989,” is, indeed, BS, but not the kind that signals the accomplishment and discipline required to graduate with a four-year college degree.
Even dummies who graduate can wave their diplomas above their heads and then go back to drinking beer, passing a beach ball or fellow student above the crowd and move back home before the horrible reality of life hits them right between their blurred eyes.
But Murphy’s horrible reality has festered for decades.
The difference is that he lived the lie. Now it’s time to face the facts. And the facts remain delusional in Murphy’s mind. Murphy is not a college graduate. Never was and might never be. That is up to him and university officials.
But he just can’t seem to bring himself to simply tell the truth.
Before the April 24 election, Murphy told several conflicting stories about why he did not possess the degree he claimed, even going so far as to argue that he always believed he had the degree until I told him he didn’t.
Murphy said he owed money, paid money, never asked for the degree and never accepted the degree. Murphy said he needed to complete a requirement, completed the requirement and even had the audacity to invite taxpayers to his office to see the sacred diploma hanging on the wall once he got his mitts on it. Murphy boldly promised to walk across the stage with the other graduates.
But, the last time I checked with university officials before going on vacation last week, Murphy had not yet received the diploma.
Unless compassionate Jesuits held a private ceremony for Murphy and humility prevented him from issuing a press release about his grand success, Murphy has still not graduated. If he has, I’ll be pleased to announce the feat on the air. I’ll even invite the Jesuits.
But until and unless that happens, Murphy needs to remove his big lie from the official government website paid for by taxpayers.
God knows that state lawmakers have enough trouble with former office-holders either in prison or heading to prison. A little honesty goes a long way on the dirty road to the hopeful restoration of the public trust.
So if Murphy refuses to publicly tell the truth and remove the lie from the website, I’ll tell the truth for him every chance I get. I’ll also ask for help from state Democratic leaders because, if Murphy refuses to truthfully update his biography, party leaders must update it for him.
While we’re at it, what about the official state job application Murphy filled out before getting elected, back when he worked as an auditor for the Commonwealth? Does the application include the lie about his degree? Did Murphy pass himself off as a college graduate to obtain a job that required a degree? Are criminal charges an option? How about an ethics complaint?
Murphy’s official biography includes the fact that he was “raised with Irish Catholic ideals.”
Sure and begorrah, if that’s true, it’s long overdue for Murphy to make a full confession and a mighty good Act of Contrition.