Cifuentes is not the only PP politician whose resume has come under scrutiny. Pablo Casado, a congressman and deputy secretary of communication for the conservative group, also studied at the URJC Public Law Institute, where he obtained a similar degree to Cifuentes’ a few years earlier. Following an EL PAÍS investigation, Casado has admitted that he did not go to class or take exams with other students, either. He said there was no need for a thesis defence as the system was different back then.
The 37-year-old’s resume boasts two bachelor’s degrees, one masters’ degree from URJC, courses at top Spanish business schools, and postgraduate or teaching activities at three of the most prestigious universities in the US, including Harvard.
While he has often talked about his “postgraduate programs at Georgetown and Harvard,” the latter was, in fact, the Driving Government Performance Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government – a one-week course costing €8,800 and with no academic requirements.
“I can’t quite remember its duration, but yes it was short an executive course,” said Casado on Tuesday in response to queries from this newspaper. He added that he paid for the course out of pocket, including the airfare.
However, Spanish online daily eldiario.es revealed on Thursday that the Harvard course was actually taken by Casado not in the US but in the Madrid suburb of Aravaca, and lasted just four days. Casado has confirmed that this is true.
As for his Georgetown experience, Casado’s resume includes a “CLS from the Government Affairs Institute.” The only matching degree is the Certificate in Legislative Studies, an 18-month program that requires class attendance. Casado claims he took the course in the summer of 2008 when he was already holding several public positions in Spain that would have made it hard to take an extended leave.
Casado’s resume also says he was a “visiting professor at the Georgetown Global Leadership and Competitiveness Program” in 2009 and 2010. Program director Ricardo Ernst confirmed via email that Casado gave lectures there “very successfully.” Experts consulted by this newspaper said a better description would be “guest speaker” or “visiting lecturer.”