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Examining The Thomas Massie Campaign Narrative

April 26th, 2012 · 7 Comments

Thomas Massie’s campaign to be the Republican nominee in the Fourth District Congressional race is an interesting one. He’s billed as an inventor and jobs creator. Those around him have touted him as progressive and modern. His narrative is one that reads as an American success story.

We would have been content with never considering his background. Never digging into anything. But his folks harped non-stop on a few points and his campaign has mentioned them dozens of times. So we figured it was time to poke around a bit.

Especially after his latest campaign mail piece:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

Within the letter, there’s this passage:


That’s what really prompted the research.

The letter goes on to reiterate:

  • While at MIT, Massie invented a touch-based computer technology
  • He and his wife started their own company
  • He raised $32 million in venture capital
  • He created 70 jobs
  • He obtained 24 patents
  • He is a successful businessman

While he’s seen success as a businessman and deserves credit, some of those claims are a bit of a stretch.

In a masters thesis at MIT titled When Machines Touch Back: Simulating–and stimulating–the most intimate of senses – filed June 1, 2005 – you can learn quite a bit. The author, Kevin Bullis, revealed:

  • While in college, he became a lab assistant to a professor who’d spent years working in robotics. Massie’s ideas as a college student were incorporated into that professor’s work. Because the idea was developed in the lab at MIT, the school holds the patent.
  • Massie is listed as the “co-inventor” of the first device. His professor is the other. He’s the “co-inventor” with as many as six people on other devices.
  • Massie holds no patents in his own name.
  • Massie and his wife started a business which only generated $220,000. He then sought out people with business experience. They invested in and took over the company. Massie was designated “Chief Technology Officer”, not president or CEO.
  • Massie traveled to China to find an off-shore manufacturer for his device. (Sending jobs overseas?)
  • When Massie’s business ideas were rejected by management, a huge cat fight broke out. He sold all of his stock and owned none of the business after 2002.

It would seem that he didn’t raise all of that $32 million. He didn’t solely create 70 jobs. He doesn’t hold 24 patents and was merely one part of many involved in obtaining them.

While he’s no career politician, he certainly reminds us of a guy named Greg Fischer. Particularly on the patent and business front. Because none of those specifics from the thesis – which was defended and researched – are ever part of Massie’s campaign rhetoric.

Greg Fischer-Light? New inventor of the ice machine fairy tale? Or standard political operating procedure? The story is really nice until you examine the specifics. And then you’re left with that weird Fischer taste in your mouth.

Tags: Congress · Investigation · KY-4

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 E // Apr 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Why do politicians try so hard to get as far away as possible from being an ‘every-man’ ?

  • 2 GEEZZZ // Apr 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Someone needs to look at this guy more closely. He’s like a kid that got diaper rash, ran home, built his pillow fort, played by himself for 10yrs and then found a curly headed, liberty loving, friend to play with him in the sand box. Please tell me the people of the 4th are not this stupid to elect this bozo.

  • 3 fourth district voter // Apr 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    OH MY goodness, so he is just full of fluff ! I can’t believe he has tried to sell this bill of goods around the 4th District and people are buying it , I hope they all see this!!! What a disgrace he is to Republicans in Kentucky and the party. Where I come found that is not a stretch of the truth but a blatant lie! Shame on you Thomas Massie you’re momma should wash your mouth out with soap.

  • 4 Noah Meeks // Apr 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    You’ll be hard pressed to find a university generated patent with only 1 inventor from the last few decades. All this stuff is completely normal and how the technology based startups typically work. Much ado about nothing.

  • 5 jake // Apr 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    It’d be nothing if Massie’s narrative wasn’t making it a big deal. And if he hadn’t claimed those patents for himself – just like Greg Fischer.

    Semantics matter in a campaign of this proportion.

  • 6 grandma Pat // Apr 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Mr. Massie should have all of his facts straight before he sends out his campaign literature….. He enclosed a pledge form to be returned to him with a donation and a pledge to vote for him in the election on May 8. The man seems to be confused about a lot of things. As for me-I plan to vote for Marc Carey on May 22.

  • 7 fourth district voter // May 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    @ Noah Meeks so you’re OK with lies ? You want someone in Washington that represents us all here in the 4th district that is willing to LIE about who he is ? The character of a person isn’t important to you ? I am certainly not going to vote for someone that looks like he just put on his long pants tells lies .. I am voting for Marc Carey May 22 .