Chris Lee admits to 'mistake' that led to firing frorm job in 1989
If you found out a candidate for office had been fired from his first job out of college some 20 years ago, would it impact your voting decision?
What if the candidate admitted to "making a mistake" that led to the termination? What if that mistake involved breaking into company computers?
Well, those questions are more than theoretical in the 26th Congressional District race, and they apply to Republican Chris Lee.
The Buffalo News:
Lee was a young salesman with Ingram Micro, a computer products distributor that in 1989 was known as Ingram Micro D and operated from offices on Elmwood Avenue.
Lee, according to his co-workers at the time, somehow obtained a company credit manager’s password. Then, with that password, he raised the credit limits for some of his customers and the customers of other sales people, the employees said.
That way Lee could sell the customers more of the company’s products, on credit, before the billing system would flag their accounts for payment and halt further purchases.
It might have helped with sales, but it also put the company at greater risk if those customers failed to pay.
Since Lee has not admitted to the specific allegation, just that he made a mistake, let's be careful about taking the charges at face value. That said, if Lee did hack into a company computer, that's a crime (at least it is now, I don't know what the law was in 1989), and it is certainly unethical to falsify company records. Any employee who commits those acts deserves to be fired.
But what does a 20-year-old mistake tell us about Chris Lee today? Does it mean he is and forever will be an unethical person? Or is it possible that he did, as he says, learn from his mistake? If so, he might have evolved into a much more ethical person because of that transgression.
It's really impossible for us to look that deeply into another person's soul.
My recommendation is vote for the candidate that best represents your values and aspirations and not get too caught up in the character assassination games political parties like to play.
The relevance of this particular issue is tenuous at best.