Investigation finds Marie Gluesenkamp Perez’s story doesn’t add up

April 16, 2024

A new investigation raises major questions about fictions in Marie Gluesenkamp Perez’s biography.

Perez made claims about fixing cars the core of her campaign, but numerous claims by her don’t match up with documents.

“Marie Gluesenkamp Perez’s origin story appears to be a mirage. Southwest Washington voters will rightfully question everything Perez tells them given her tricky relationship with the truth.” – NRCC Spokesperson Ben Petersen

In case you missed it…

Deleted Webpage Contradicts Washington Congresswoman’s Campaign Image as Hands-On Mechanic
Washington Free Beacon
Jessica Costescu

Archived website claims Dem. congresswoman ‘worked mostly behind the scenes,’ with no mention of physically working on cars

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez slides out from underneath a car. She’s wearing a mechanic’s uniform. “I’m not your typical candidate for Congress,” she tells the camera.

That’s how the Democrat introduced herself to voters in Washington’s third district in 2022: a hands-on auto shop owner willing to get her fingernails dirty. The image remains central to her reelection campaign—after defeating Republican challenger Joe Kent two years ago, she was the subject of a Politico profile titled, “She Fixes Cars. Can She Fix Congress’ Elitism Problem?”—in which she said she had “replaced hundreds of catalytic converters.” Perez’s campaign site features on its homepage a photo of the congresswoman posing in her uniform on the shop floor, while the site’s “media center” includes stock footage of Perez inspecting parts and turning a wrench.

Years before Perez ran for Congress, however, she described her work for her husband’s auto shop, Dean’s Car Care, in a different light. A since-deleted portion of the shop’s website from 2018 said Perez worked “mostly behind the scenes managing the business side of Dean’s” and “enjoys making spreadsheets and burning the cookies for our holiday gift boxes.” The site was changed sometime before Perez’s 2022 campaign to remove the portion saying Perez worked “mostly behind the scenes,” archives show.

In addition to the website change, Perez has depicted herself as the shop’s longtime co-owner.

In a since-deleted LinkedIn profile, Perez listed herself as the co-owner of Dean’s Car Care since 2013. At Reed College—Perez’s alma mater—a 2023 profile also claimed the Democrat had co-owned the shop for 10 years.

But Perez’s husband launched the business in 2013 with no mention of Perez in the corporate filings. Three years later, during an unsuccessful run for county commissioner, Perez submitted a personal financial disclosure that said she did not have an ownership stake in the shop.

Dean’s Car Care submitted an amended filing in 2018 that listed Perez as a secretary, and a subsequent financial disclosure Perez filed that year said she owned 51 percent of the business. In 2015 and 2017, the business’s website suggested Perez was not actively working at the shop, instead mentioning her as Dean’s fiancée and wife, respectively. The site was updated to note Perez’s “behind the scenes” work for the shop in 2018.

The revelations come as Perez gears up for a contentious reelection campaign. In 2020, former president Donald Trump won Washington’s third district by 51 percent of the vote, while former Republican congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler received over 56 percent of the vote.

Through a campaign spokesman, Perez acknowledged that she did not found the auto shop with her husband. She also defended her mechanic’s image, saying she “spends her time working on many things” beyond auto repair.

“Marie is the co-owner and operator of a small family auto repair and machine shop, and like any small business owner, she spends her time working on many things beyond the core business, in this case auto repair and machining,” the spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon. “Her husband Dean started the shop as a mobile mechanic, and now they own it together and work on cars together.”

While Perez represents Washington’s Third Congressional District, the auto shop is located in Portland, Oregon.

Perez, who caucused for Bernie Sanders in 2016, said last year that she “paid more in taxes than Jeff Bezos, the second-richest person in the country.” She also said that, as a business owner, she worries about making payroll and paying her taxes. Yet, Perez failed for more than six months to pay the 2022 property taxes on Dean’s Car Care, effectively skipping out on thousands of dollars in business taxes.

Nearly four months after the 2022 taxes were due, Perez’s husband, Dean Gluesenkamp, became the sole owner of the auto-repair shop. According to the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), Dean’s Car Care does not have a blue seal, and is thus not considered a shop where a large percentage of technicians are ASE-certified professionals.

Read more here.