Pro-gun researcher John Lott called out during congressional hearing for using a fake persona to praise his own work

Sen. Martin Heinrich: “Does it show good judgement for a researcher to comment that way?”

Video file

Citation From the September 18 Joint Economic Committee Hearing on Gun Violence in America:

SEN. MARTIN HEINRICH (D-NM): Madam Chair, I would ask unanimous consent to enter an article into the record from The Washington Post called “Scholar Invents Fan To Answer His Critic.” And I’ll just read one quick quote from this article. Now this is under the name Mary Rosh, but it is speaking to various online publications and was, I believe, authored by Dr. Lott. “I had him for a Ph.D.-level empirical methods class when he taught at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania back in the early '90s, well before he gained national attention, and I have to say he was the best professor I ever had.” Does it show good judgement for a researcher to comment that way with regard to your own research under a name that is clearly not transparent? I won't use the word fraudulent, but --

JOHN LOTT JR.: First of all, I did not write that. It was a family account and there was somebody else in my family who was responding to attacks that were on me, OK? So I don’t police everybody in my family when they go and do things like that, and I had members of my family who wrote a couple reviews on my books and other things like that. I'm not going to go into --

HEINRICH: You're quoted in this article as saying, “I probably shouldn't have done it."