Congressman Walt Minnick is often touting his business experience as making him uniquely qualified to represent Idaho's 1st District. Just last week at a Meridian Chamber of Commerce forum, Minnick said that "his centrist record and 30 years of business experience put him in the best spot to help restore America’s financial health."
So with all of Walt's business experience, why does he feel the need to lie about it?
On his campaign website biography, Minnick lists his 16-year tenure as President of TJ International as an example of his "proven leadership." He also claims that under his tenure, the company "never failed to make money."
Trouble is, company documents show otherwise.
In a press release dated February 14, 1992, TJ International announced the first annual loss in the company history.
Why Minnick would say that the company never lost money under his tenure is unclear when the facts obviously say otherwise.
Minnick's tenure at Trus Joist is a story unto itself, but here is a brief history.
After leaving the Nixon White House in 1974 amid the ongoing scandal of Watergate, Minnick struggled for six months to find a job. In a letter obtained by Freedom of Information Act request dated December 17, 1974, he told Watergate Special Prosecutors,
In looking for a job last winter and spring, a number of prospective employers were hesitant to "take a chance" on me because I was one of those "out of work lawyers from the Nixon White House." The chairman of the Board of Amfac Corporation expressed a similar view when it was suggested that I might be an appropriate candidate for their Board of Directors.
This was in sharp contrast to the success of Hank Paulson, Walt's good friend and fellow Harvard Business School alum with whom he worked at the Pentagon and the Nixon White House. Hank was not only "well connected enough to get the job [as assistant to John Ehrlichman, Nixon's chief domestic advisor], but well connected enough to resign in the thick of the Watergate scandal without ever getting caught up in the fallout." He landed a job with the now infamous Goldman Sachs, rising through the ranks to become CEO, and the rest is history. And it was no doubt Hank and Walt's close friendship that would later deliver a job at Goldman for Minnick's son Adam, also a Harvard MBA.
No such prestigious landing for Minnick; he finally found a job as corporate secretary at Trus Joist Corporation. He rose to President and COO in 1979, eventually becoming CEO in 1986.
With Walt at the helm, Trus Joist launched into several diversification efforts, one "into energy management systems, which cost Trus Joist some $2.5 million over 18 months," according to the company history. The other was into the wood window industry, acquiring Norco Windows of Wisconsin and Dashwood Industries of Canada, which would eventually be merged into the Outlook Window Partnership.
It was this diversification, as the Outlook partnership continued to drag on company profits, that would ultimately lead to Minnick's resignation from Trus Joist in 1995, amid disagreements with the board over the direction of the company. Minnick wanted to continue diversification but the Board had other ideas. It cost the company $40 million to divest itself of the window partnership.
Nearly everyone would want to shine the best light on the past, but as a congressman running for reelection asking voters to trust his business experience, is a man who lies about that experience (and this isn't the first) really worthy of that trust?