Unethical behavior remains a persistent problem for one small nonprofit’s founder.

Starting in 2011 there has been an escalating supply of moral meltdowns in one nonprofit. What happens when the founder of a small nonprofit misrepresents credentials, and lies about working on legislation concerning Wisconsin wolves? Melissa Smith doesn’t even have a college degree, let alone a PhD. Smith never worked with Wisconsin Senator Fred Risser on SB 93, a bill that would remove the use of dogs in the wolf hunt. But smith lied to the public claiming all of the above.

As Wisconsin wolves were being delisted in 2011 Smith arrived on the scene, lacking any experience or scientific degrees. Smith created Stop the Wisconsin Wolf Hunts, now Called Friends of the Wolf & Wildlife and began soliciting for donations. Wolf advocates began to blindly follow Smith. They believed her, because she could talk a good talk. No one checked Smith’s credentials. Take a look at a Senior Trump administration official Mina Chang who did the same things Smith did.

According to an article in Market Watch on November 2019; The State Department worker resigned Monday, after being accused of embellishing her educational achievements and even faking a Time magazine cover. Senior Trump administration official Mina Chang resigned from her post on Monday, a week after an NBC News investigation accused her of not only embellishing her work history and educational achievements, but also reportedly creating a fake Time magazine cover with her face on it.”

“Resigning is the only acceptable moral and ethical option for me at this time,” wrote Chang, 35, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, in a resignation letter obtained by Politico. Her resignation is effective immediately.

Melissa Smith told everyone she’s a sociologist and holds PhD a claim that turned out to be totally false.

Melissa Smith made the false claim of holding a PhD.

Smith not only lied about her credentials she mislead the public with a lie that claimed she co wrote a bill to remove the dogs from the wolf hunts in 2013.

Mina Chang is not the only one to embellish her educational achievements. In Wisconsin Melissa Smith President of a small non profit Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife has embellished her educational accomplishments claiming to hold a PhD and being a sociologist. Smith published a flyer about a conference with the claim on it. Smith does not hold a college degree. Did Smith do the right thing and resign her position as head of the small non profit like Chang did? Absolutely not, and she is still head of the non profit. She’s at the helm and running a small non profit soliciting donations.

Smith began telling advocates she was a co writer on Senator Fred Risser’s SB 93. The Senator’s office sent Smith a letter asking her to stop misrepresenting her association with them.

There’s more back in 2013 during the wolf hunts, Wisconsin was the only state that allowed hunters to run dogs on wolves, as a result, a Wisconsin Senator wrote a bill to stop it. Smith claimed to co write that bill, Senate Bill 93, with Senator Fred Risser of Wisconsin. The Senator’s office caught wind of Smith’s claim and sent her a letter asking to stop misrepresenting her association with them.

The following is an email from Senator’s office confirming they sent a letter to Smith:

Dated Thursday, April 11, 2013 sent from Cassie Jurenci, Office of Senator Fred Risser, Wisconsin State Senate to Ms. Smith in an email telling her that we have received numerous contacts asking about her involvement with our office concerning SB 93 and that we have been telling those who ask that she has not been working with us and there is some misrepresentation occurring.

Prior to the Senator’s letter…January 17, 2013. Smith was sentenced to 90 days to be served at home, for a third DUI.

Smith made these things claims during a time when Wisconsin’s wolves were being brutally hunted. Wolves were taken off the Endangered Species List in 2011 and states like Wisconsin held trophy wolf hunts.

Let’s go back to Mina Chang’s claims. Chang also claims to have “addressed” both the Democratic and Republican national conventions in 2016, when she actually spoke at separate events held in Philadelphia and Cleveland at the same time. And in a 2017 video interview discussing her nonprofit work, she held up a Time magazine cover with her face on it, which the publication told NBC is “not authentic.” Chang also runs a non profit. Non profits solicit the public for donations, as does Smith.

Smith asks for donations to help wolves and wildlife. But aside from hosting a couple events, Smith hasn’t effectively helped Wisconsin residents, especially those living in wolf range, coexist with wolves. Smith doesn’t hold a college degree, no credentials, no credibility but talks a good talk.

Smith recently told the press she is a former wolf tracker a claim that is totally false…

Melissa Smith runs a small non profit that recently asked for donations to use as a reward for information about an illegal wolf kill in Wisconsin. Who’s monitoring how said donations are used? Can Smith be trusted to handle donations if she’s hiding the truth about her credentials?

In 2019, Smith made a claim to the press in an article stating she’s a former wolf tracker. I contacted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and they stated Smith took a workshop about the history of Wisconsin wolves, but never took the required workshops to become an official Wisconsin DNR Volunteer Winter Wolf/Carnavore Tracker. Thus, there’s no evidence of Smith being an official former wolf tracker as she stated to the press. So why did Smith claim to be a former wolf tracker? Did she want to appear knowledgeable about wolf behavior? In the news article on August 16, 2019, Smith comes off as an experienced wolf expert stating all sorts of opinions that cannot be backed up because she has no background in ecology or wolf biology. Smith simply talks a good talk.

What could be behind Smith’s embellishments of credentials? Let’s take a look at public record. According to Wisconsin Circuit Court Records Melissa L Smith was arrested for a third Driving Under the Influence (DUI) on January 17, 2013. Smith was sentenced to 90 days to be served at home, had to wear an ankle monitor, and lost her drivers license for 27 months (two years and three months). And now there’s a 4th OWI arrest from 2018 which in the state of Wisconsin is a felony. Smith’s case is now awaiting a jury trial in March of 2020 (more than likely will be postponed due to coronavirus epidemic).

Charges from Melissa Smith’s court records: Count 1: 346.63(1)(a). OWI (4th) Felony H, count 2: 346.63(1)(b) Operating w/ PAC (4th) Felony H and Count 3: 343.44(1)(b) Operating While Revoked (Rev due to alc/contr subst/refusal) Misd. U source https://wcca.wicourts.gov/caseDetail.html?caseNo=2018CF002456&countyNo=13&index=0&mode=details

All the meanwhile, Smith was running a non profit and soliciting donations: telling advocates untruths, that she is a sociologist, holds a PhD and was a co writer on Senator Fred Risser’s SB 93. The kicker here is that no one ever checked her credentials. Advocates took her word for it. I’m all for offenders to be given a chance to turn it around and make good. As long as they sincerely work to make restitution. Which Smith has not, and she continues to deceive the public trust, as recently as in August 2019 article that claimed experience as a former wolf tracker.

Why lie about their education? Unfortunately, people like Smith and Chang often think that exaggerating about their education is worth the risk, if it means getting them through the door of a great job or getting them more donations for their non profits.

Fifty-eight Percent of Employers Have Caught a Lie on a Resume, According to a New Career Builder survey.

Smith has even plagiarized posts of a biologist who is well-known in wolf recovery policy advocacy. Then, posted their words on her Facebook profile as her thoughts, as her words. Does she do this to make herself seem more credible?

Is it against the law to embellish your educational credentials? It’s not against the law, but it’s unethical.

“Resigning is the only acceptable moral and ethical option for me at this time,” wrote Chang, 35, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, in a resignation letter obtained by Politico. Her resignation is effective immediately.

Chang did the right thing by resigning her position, unfortunately Smith has not resigned as head of her small Wisconsin non profit and continues to solicit for donations. Unethical behavior remains a persistent problem for Smith. It’s up to the consumers to verify a non profits status and ask for financial statements. This is not to accuse those that are a part of Smith’s small non profit of any wrong doing. That is except, for wondering why they have not checked Smith’s credentials or run background checks on her.

Starting in 2011 there has been an escalating supply of moral meltdowns concerning Melissa Smith. No one really knows if Smith actually has a job or not. According to the public records Smith has not paid restitution for her fines and court costs as of 2017. She runs a small non profit, solicits for donations but it’s unclear what the donations are used for and or an accounting of where those donations go. But we do know Smith has a 4th OWI arrest from 2018 which in the state of Wisconsin is a felony. Smith’s case is now awaiting a jury trial some for March 2020 (more than likely will be postponed due to coronavirus epidemic). Unethical behavior remains a persistent problem for Smith who continues to run a small nonprofit.


The new freedom of expression brought by the Internet goes far beyond politics. People relate to each other in new ways, posing questions about how we should respond to people when all that we know about them is what we have learned through a medium that permits all kinds of anonymity and deception. ~Peter Singer

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