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Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell

Overview
Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. (born February 20, 1942) is the senior United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 and the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Minority Leader
Party leaders of the United States Senate
The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders are two United States Senators who are elected by the party conferences that hold the majority and the minority respectively. These leaders serve as the chief Senate spokespeople for their parties and manage and schedule the legislative and executive...

.

McConnell was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama
Tuscumbia, Alabama
Tuscumbia is a city in and the county seat of Colbert County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,423 and is included in The Shoals MSA....

 to Julia (née Shockley) and Addison Mitchell McConnell.

McConnell was raised in southern Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, where he attended the duPont Manual High School, and in 1964 he graduated with honors from the University of Louisville
University of Louisville
The University of Louisville is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky. When founded in 1798, it was the first city-owned public university in the United States and one of the first universities chartered west of the Allegheny Mountains. The university is mandated by the Kentucky General...

 with a B.A.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. He was student body president and a member of the Phi Kappa Tau
Phi Kappa Tau
Phi Kappa Tau is a U.S. national collegiate fraternity.-History:Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity was founded in the Union Literary Society Hall of Miami University's Old Main Building in Oxford, Ohio on March 17, 1906...

 fraternity.
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Encyclopedia
Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. (born February 20, 1942) is the senior United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 and the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Minority Leader
Party leaders of the United States Senate
The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders are two United States Senators who are elected by the party conferences that hold the majority and the minority respectively. These leaders serve as the chief Senate spokespeople for their parties and manage and schedule the legislative and executive...

.

Early life, education, and military service


McConnell was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama
Tuscumbia, Alabama
Tuscumbia is a city in and the county seat of Colbert County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,423 and is included in The Shoals MSA....

 to Julia (née Shockley) and Addison Mitchell McConnell.

McConnell was raised in southern Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, where he attended the duPont Manual High School, and in 1964 he graduated with honors from the University of Louisville
University of Louisville
The University of Louisville is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky. When founded in 1798, it was the first city-owned public university in the United States and one of the first universities chartered west of the Allegheny Mountains. The university is mandated by the Kentucky General...

 with a B.A.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. He was student body president and a member of the Phi Kappa Tau
Phi Kappa Tau
Phi Kappa Tau is a U.S. national collegiate fraternity.-History:Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity was founded in the Union Literary Society Hall of Miami University's Old Main Building in Oxford, Ohio on March 17, 1906...

 fraternity. McConnell has maintained strong ties to his alma mater, and "remains a rabid fan of its sports teams." He graduated in 1967 from the University of Kentucky College of Law
University of Kentucky College of Law
The College of Law is a college of the University of Kentucky. Founded initially from a law program at Transylvania University in 1799, the law program at UK began operations in 1908; it was one of the nation's first public law schools...

, where he was elected president of the Student Bar Association.

McConnell became a member of the 100th Division (Training), U.S. Army Reserve, in Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, during his final semester of law school; and he reported for his six months of active service, primarily for training, in July 1967. After induction at Fort Knox
Fort Knox
Fort Knox is a United States Army post in Kentucky south of Louisville and north of Elizabethtown. The base covers parts of Bullitt, Hardin, and Meade counties. It currently holds the Army Human Resources Center of Excellence to include the Army Human Resources Command, United States Army Cadet...

, Kentucky, McConnell was released early from his active-duty military service in August 1967. McConnell received a medical discharge for optic neuritis
Optic neuritis
Optic neuritis is the inflammation of the optic nerve that may cause a complete or partial loss of vision.-Causes:The optic nerve comprises axons that emerge from the retina of the eye and carry visual information to the primary visual nuclei, most of which is relayed to the occipital cortex of the...

, which is a common manifestation of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and scarring as well as a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms...

.

Early political career


In 1967, to gain experience on Capitol Hill, during his final semester of law school, McConnell was an intern
Intern
Internship is a system of onthejob training for white-collar jobs, similar to an apprenticeship. Interns are usually college or university students, but they can also be high school students or post graduate adults seeking skills for a new career. They may also be as young as middle school or in...

 for Senator John Sherman Cooper (R-KY). Later, he was an assistant to Senator Marlow Cook
Marlow Cook
Marlow Webster Cook is a former Republican United States Senator from Kentucky.-Early life:Cook moved to Louisville when he was 17. He joined the United States Navy and served on submarines in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans during World War II...

 (R-KY) and was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General
United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

 under President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Gerald R. Ford. From 1978 until his election to the Senate, he was the Jefferson County Judge/Executive
Jefferson County Judge/Executive
The Jefferson County Judge/Executive, under state law, is the chief executive of Jefferson County, Kentucky. KRS 67.700 established the position of "County Judge/Executive" for all counties in Kentucky...

, the former top political office in Jefferson County, Kentucky
Jefferson County, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 693,604 people, 287,012 households, and 183,113 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 305,835 housing units at an average density of...

, which includes Louisville.

Elections


In 1984, McConnell ran for the U.S. Senate against two-term Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 incumbent Walter "Dee" Huddleston
Walter Huddleston
Walter Darlington "Dee" Huddleston is a retired American politician. He is a Democrat from the state of Kentucky. He represented Kentucky in the United States Senate from 1973 until 1985....

. The election race wasn't decided until the last returns came in, and McConnell won by a thin margin—only 5,200 votes out of more than 1.8 million votes cast, just over 0.4%. McConnell was the only Republican Senate challenger to win that year, despite Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's landslide victory in the presidential election. Part of McConnell's success came from a series of television campaign spots called "Where's Dee", which featured a group of bloodhound
Bloodhound
The Bloodhound is a large breed of dog which, while originally bred to hunt deer and wild boar, was later bred specifically to track human beings. It is a scenthound, tracking by smell, as opposed to a sighthound, which tracks using vision. It is famed for its ability to discern human odors even...

s trying to find Huddleston, implying that Huddleston's attendance record in the Senate was less than stellar. It is likely that he was helped by Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's 21-point win in Kentucky that year. His campaign bumper stickers and television ads asked voters to "Switch to Mitch".

In 1990, McConnell faced a tough re-election contest against former Louisville Mayor Harvey I. Sloane
Harvey I. Sloane
Harvey I. Sloane , a physician and Democrat, served two terms as Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky and also a term as county judge-executive of Jefferson County, Kentucky...

, winning by 4.5 points. In 1996, he soundly defeated Steve Beshear
Steve Beshear
Steven Lynn "Steve" Beshear is an American politician who is the 61st Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A Democrat, Beshear previously served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1974 to 1979, was the state's Attorney General from 1980 to 1983, and was Lieutenant Governor from...

, even as Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 narrowly carried the state. In keeping with a tradition of humorous and effective television ads in his campaigns, McConnell's campaign ran television ads that warned voters to not "Get Besheared" and included images of sheep being sheared. In 2002, he was re-elected with the largest majority by a Republican candidate in Kentucky history. In 2008, McConnell defeated Democratic opponent Bruce Lunsford
Bruce Lunsford
William Bruce Lunsford is an American Democratic politician from Kentucky. He has served various roles in the Kentucky Democratic Party including, Party treasurer, Deputy Development Secretary, and Head of Commerce...

 in general election.

Leadership


During the 1998 and 2000 election cycles, McConnell was chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
National Republican Senatorial Committee
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is the Republican Hill committee for the United States Senate, working to elect Republicans to that body. The NRSC was founded in 1916 as the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee...

. Republicans maintained control of the Senate in both. He was first elected as Majority Whip in the 108th Congress and unanimously re-elected on November 17, 2004. Senator Bill Frist
Bill Frist
William Harrison "Bill" Frist, Sr. is an American physician, businessman, and politician. He began his career as an heir and major stockholder to the for-profit hospital chain of Hospital Corporation of America. Frist later served two terms as a Republican United States Senator representing...

, the Majority Leader, did not seek re-election in the 2006 elections
United States Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the United States Senate were held on November 7, 2006, with 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate being contested. Senators are elected for six-year terms, with one third of the Senate seats up for a vote every two years. The term of office for those elected in 2006 runs...

. In November 2006, after Republicans lost control of the Senate, they elected McConnell to replace Frist as Minority Leader.

Tenure


He is widely considered a kingmaker
Kingmaker
Kingmaker is a term originally applied to the activities of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick — "Warwick the Kingmaker" — during the Wars of the Roses in England. The term has come to be applied more generally to a person or group that has great influence in a royal or political succession,...

 in Kentucky Republican politics. Although he is considered by many as an ardent conservative, he has distanced himself from the majority in his party by supporting earmarks and opposing the Flag Desecration Amendment
Flag Desecration Amendment
The Flag Desecration Amendment, often referred to as the flag burning amendment, is a controversial proposed constitutional amendment to the United States Constitution that would allow the United States Congress to statutorily prohibit expression of political views through the physical desecration...

.

McConnell has supported several gun control
Gun control
Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens...

 measures put forth by Democrats, including the 1991 Crime Bill S.1241 (see U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote here) sponsored by then senator Joseph Biden, that instituted a national waiting period for handgun purchases as well as a federal ban on semi-automatic firearms. In 1998, McConnell voted for Barbara Boxer
Barbara Boxer
Barbara Levy Boxer is the junior United States Senator from California . A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives ....

's Trigger Lock Amendment 3230 (see U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote here), which required the purchase of a trigger lock with the sale of each handgun.

In addition to regulation of fire arms, McConnell has also supported nuclear arms control initiatives such as the START I treaty, which he voted for in 1992, describing it as "an outstanding agreement".

McConnell is also well known for his opposition to campaign finance regulation on First Amendment grounds. He argues that regulations reduce participation in political campaigns and protect incumbents from competition. He spearheaded the movement against the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 is a United States federal law that amended the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which regulates the financing of political campaigns. Its chief sponsors were Senators Russell Feingold and John McCain...

 (known since 1995 as the "McCain–Feingold bill" and from 1989–1994 as the "Boren–Mitchell bill"), calling it "neither fair, nor balanced, nor constitutional." His opposition to the bill culminated in the 2003 Supreme Court case McConnell v. Federal Election Commission
McConnell v. Federal Election Commission
McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 , is a case in which the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 , often referred to as the McCain–Feingold Act....

and the 2009 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, , was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that the First Amendment prohibits government from censoring political broadcasts in candidate elections when those broadcasts are funded by corporations or unions...

.

In August 2007 McConnell introduced the Protect America Act of 2007
Protect America Act of 2007
The Protect America Act of 2007 , , is a controversial amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that was signed into law on August 5, 2007. It removed the warrant requirement for government surveillance of foreign intelligence targets "reasonably believed" to be outside of the...

, which allowed the National Security Agency
National Security Agency
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S...

 to monitor telephone and electronic communications of suspected terrorists inside and outside the United States without obtaining a warrant
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

.

In 1996, McConnell demanded that President Clinton allow White House aides to testify under oath. On April 1, 2007, Chris Wallace
Chris Wallace (journalist)
Christopher "Chris" Wallace is an American journalist, currently the host of the Fox Network program, Fox News Sunday. Wallace has won three Emmy Awards, the Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton Award, and a Peabody Award. Wallace has been with Fox News since 2003...

 suggested that McConnell's stance on Karl Rove
Karl Rove
Karl Christian Rove was Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush until Rove's resignation on August 31, 2007. He has headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives...

 and Harriet Miers
Harriet Miers
Harriet Ellan Miers is an American lawyer and former White House Counsel. In 2005, she was nominated by President George W. Bush to be an Associate Justice of the U.S...

 testifying under oath in relation to the Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
The dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy was initiated by the unprecedented midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys on December 7, 2006 by the George W. Bush administration's Department of Justice. Congressional investigations focused on whether the Department of Justice and the White...

 was contradictory. Wallace asked, "In 1996, you were saying those White House aides should testify in open hearing. These were White House aides of Bill Clinton, in open hearing under oath. Why shouldn't the same rules apply for the [George W.] Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 White House and people like Karl Rove?" McConnell replied, "And what I’m telling you is the president's going to make that decision."

McConnell was the writer of the Gas Price Reduction Act. The GPRA calls for more offshore and domestic oil exploration, to try to curb rising gas prices.
On April 21, 2009, McConnell delivered a speech to the Senate criticizing United States President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

's plans to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

.
During the speech, he suggested that Obama's closure plans might result in the release of "murderers" into the U.S.
He also asserted that the Department of Defense had identified 18 former Guantanamo prisoners who allegedly returned to battle, whom he called "recidivists", and he predicted that the closure of the camp would result in additional former captives returning to the battlefield.

McConnell opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The law is the principal health care reform legislation of the 111th United States Congress...

 in December 2009, and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 is a law that was enacted by the 111th United States Congress, by means of the reconciliation process, in order to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act...

.

War in Iraq
McConnell voted for the initial War in Iraq, has supported the "troop surge", and opposed a timetable for withdrawal from the country. McConnell remains one of the strongest supporters of the Iraq War, which he considers a central part of the War on Terrorism
War on Terrorism
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. He holds the view that the violence in Iraq is perpetrated primarily by al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 and other international jihadists who would otherwise be engaged in terrorist actions within the United States. In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper
Anderson Hays Cooper is an American journalist, author, and television personality. He is the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is normally broadcast live from a New York City studio; however, Cooper often broadcasts live on location for breaking news stories...

 on January 10, 2007 (after President Bush's announcement of an escalation in troop levels in Iraq), McConnell claimed that the war in Iraq was a success because it had prevented terrorist attacks in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks. He warned that if the United States withdrew from Iraq, "the terrorists would come after us where we live."

In 2006, McConnell publicly criticized Senate Democrats for urging that troops be brought back from Iraq. According to Bush’s Decision Points
Decision Points
Decision Points is a memoir by former U.S. President George W. Bush. It was released on November 9, 2010, and the release was accompanied by national television appearances and a national tour. The book surpassed sales of two million copies less than two months after its release.-Content:Bush's...

memoir, however, McConnell was privately urging the then President to “bring some troops home from Iraq” to lessen the political risks. McConnell’s hometown paper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, in an editorial titled "McConnell’s True Colors", criticized McConnell for the hypocrisy of his actions and asked him to “explain why the fortunes of the Republican Party are of greater importance than the safety of the United States.”

Regarding the failure of the Iraqi government to make reforms, McConnell said the following on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer
Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer
Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer was a Sunday talk show hosted by Wolf Blitzer on CNN and broadcast around the world by CNN International. The show's slogan was The last word in Sunday talk and comments made on the show were often featured in the following Monday's news headlines.The show, launched...

: "The Iraqi government is a huge disappointment. Republicans overwhelmingly feel disappointed about the Iraqi government. I read just this week that a significant number of the Iraqi parliament want to vote to ask us to leave. I want to assure you, Wolf, if they vote to ask us to leave, we'll be glad to comply with their request."

On the June 17, 2007, edition of CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

' Face the Nation
Face the Nation
Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer is an American Sunday-morning political interview show which premiered on the CBS television network on November 7, 1954. It is one of the longest-running news programs in the history of television...

,
McConnell said, "Most members of my conference in the Senate believe [that September will be] the critical point to evaluate where we are ... I think everybody anticipates that there's going to be a new strategy in the fall. I find growing support in the Senate among Republicans, and for that matter, some Democrats as well, for the recommendations of the [Baker-Hamilton] Iraq Study Group
Iraq Study Group
The Iraq Study group , was a ten-person bipartisan panel appointed on March 15, 2006, by the United States Congress, that was charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and the US-led Iraq War and making policy recommendations...

".

On July 9, 2007, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Hopkinsville is a city in Christian County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 31,577 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Christian County.- History :...

 at Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell is a United States Army installation located astraddle the Kentucky-Tennessee border between Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Clarksville, Tennessee...

, speaking to a contingent of troops about to ship out for a 15-month deployment to Iraq, McConnell said, "The majority of the public has decided the Iraq effort is not worth it," he said. "That puts a lot of pressure on Congress to act because public opinion in a democracy is not irrelevant."

In its 2009 report, liberal government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is a nonprofit 501 organization that describes itself as "dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials – regardless of party affiliation – who sacrifice the common good to...

 named McConnell one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress, stating that "Sen. McConnell's ethics issues stem primarily from (1) earmarks he inserted into legislation for clients of his former chief of staff in exchange for campaign contributions and (2) the misuse of his nonprofit McConnell Center
McConnell Center
The McConnell Center is an endowed institution created in 1991 by U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, and the University of Louisville.The McConnell Center's mission includes four major components:* The McConnell Scholars Program*Public Lecture Series...

 for Political Leadership at the University of Louisville." McConnell was also included in the group's report in 2007 and 2008.

In 2004, during the debate over the FY2005 Defense Authorization Act, McConnell offered an alternative amendment (S.AMDT.3472) to that proposed by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). McConnell's amendment required the president to submit a public report to Congress on the strategy of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq regarding stabilization and rebuilding no later than 120 days after the bill passed. Opponents, mostly Democrats, argued the measure was not strong enough, for unlike that proposed by Kennedy, it did not require President Bush to provide an estimate regarding future troop levels in Iraq. The amendment passed, unlike Kennedy's, in a 71-27 vote.
Main article: Congressional actions on the Iraq War following the 2003 U.S. invasion
President Bush's troop "surge" in Iraq

In late January 2007, Senate Minority Leader McConnell said that Republicans would not attempt to filibuster a non-binding resolution opposing the "surge."

On February 5, 2007, the Senate planned to address several of the nonbinding resolutions concerning the troop "surge." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader McConnell were unable, however, to agree on which resolutions would be debated and the manner in which they would be considered. Before the debate began, Reid offered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a choice. Either all three proposed resolutions could come to a vote, with a simple majority needed for passing any of them, or a debate and vote would be held only on the resolutions introduced by Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), with each requiring sixty votes to pass. McConnell, however, wanted all three resolutions to face a sixty-vote requirement, likely because it was believed only the Gregg measure could reach this threshold. In the end, the two sides could not reach an agreement, and Republicans blocked debate on the bill. Following an attempted cloture vote on one of the measures, which Republicans successfully filibustered, McConnell downplayed the vote as a mere procedural hurdle, calling it a “bump in the road” and added, “We are ready and anxious to have this debate this week.”

On February 17, another cloture vote was attempted on a troop "surge" resolution, but it also failed. Again, the filibuster was caused by a disagreement between Senate leaders. McConnell refused to support a vote on the resolution unless Majority Leader Reid also allowed a vote on a resolution promising that the Senate would continue to fund the war.

On March 26, 2007, McConnell asserted that although he would attempt to block a Democratic effort to force troop withdrawal contained in the Iraq spending bill, he would most likely not push to filibuster the measure, as he was sure that President Bush will veto the package.
"Our goal is to pass it quickly... Our troops need the money."
Unable to override Bush's veto, Democrats would have to redraft the bill without a "surrender deadline," he said. The legislation would require that Bush begin pulling out some troops right away with the goal of ending combat missions by March 31, 2008.
Despite the Democrat's first attempt at including a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq, McConnell expressed confidence following the vote that Bush’s request for a “clean spending bill” (one without any calls for withdrawal) would ultimately pass. He stated, “It may take two tries to get there, but I think that’s very likely going to be the final outcome.”

When the first bill passed both chambers and then was vetoed by the President, Democrats attempted a second spending bill without a timetable, which only provided short term funding for the war. McConnell still voiced strong opposition to this provision.
Main article: U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (H.R.2206)
Following a failed cloture vote on Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-Wis.) amendment (S.AMDT.1098) to end funding for the Iraq War in 2008, another attempt to use a spending bill to withdrawal U.S. forces, Minority Leader McConnell stated that "once again, an overwhelming bipartisan majority rejected giving our enemy a timeline for withdrawal...The U.S. Senate has continued to show that an arbitrary surrender date is a non-starter. We need to move forward with the business of ensuring our troops have the funding, training and equipment they need to complete their mission."

Fundraising
From 2003 to 2008, among McConnell's top 20 donors have been 5 financial/investment firms: UBS, FMR Corporation (Fidelity Investments), Citigroup
Citigroup
Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Citigroup was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate...

, Bank of New York
Bank of New York
The Bank of New York was a global financial services company established in 1784 by the American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It existed until its merger with the Mellon Financial Corporation on July 2, 2007...

 and Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch is the wealth management division of Bank of America. With over 15,000 financial advisors and $2.2 trillion in client assets it is the world's largest brokerage. Formerly known as Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., prior to 2009 the firm was publicly owned and traded on the New York...

. During his entire political career, the top three industries donating to McConnell have been: Lawyers ($1.5 million), Securities and Investments ($1.5 million), and Health Professionals ($1.4 million).

In April 2010, while Congress was considering financial reform legislation, a reporter asked McConnell if he was "doing the bidding of the large banks." McConnell has received more money in donations from the "Finance, Insurance and Real Estate" sector than any other sector according to the Center for Responsive Politics. McConnell responded "I'd say that that's inaccurate. You could talk to the community bankers in Kentucky." The Democrats’ plan for financial reform is actually a way to institute "endless taxpayer funded bailouts for big Wall Street banks," says McConnell. McConnell is concerned that the proposed $50 billion, bank-funded fund that would be used to liquidate financial firms that could collapse "would of course immediately signal to everyone that the government is ready to bail out large banks." In McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, the Lexington Herald Leader newspaper ran an opinion page story saying “We have read that the Republicans have a plan for financial reform, but McConnell isn't talking up any solutions, just trashing the other side's ideas with no respect for the truth.

Obama 2012 comment
Speaking with National Journal magazine about Republican Party priorities for the 2008-2010 Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explained that "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Oil
Mitch McConnell has voted in favor of big oil companies on 100% of important oil-related bills from 2005–2007, according to Oil Change International. These bills include Iraq war funding, climate change studies, clean energy, and emissions.

Campaign spending regulations
In April 2007, after a Republican Senator placed an anonymous hold on the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act of 2007, which would require Senators to file their campaign finance reports electronically to the Federal Election Commission, the Sunlight Foundation led a campaign to try and discover the identity of the anonymous senator. They eventually sought to procure the name from Minority Leader McConnell. Since all objections to legislation must be lodged with the party leader, McConnell was sure to know who was behind the objection. McConnell refused to release the name of the senator behind the hold. He stated that the failure of the bill's passage lied at the feet of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for refusing to bring the bill up for a floor vote. When Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.} argued that the bill must pass by unanimous consent to avoid unnecessary amendments, McConnell admitted that the objecting Senator wished to add amendments to the bill.

On May 7, 2007, Sen. Feinstein sent a letter to McConnell asking for his help in passing the bill. Sen. Feinstein wrote, "I am ready to meet with [the objecting] Senators to discuss their amendments and try to address their concerns." As of yet, McConnell has not publicly responded.

On June 26, McConnell argued that he would not allow S.1, an important lobbying reform bill (which had passed), to go into conference unless Senate Republicans were allowed to add an amendment to the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act (a so-called "poison pill" amendment). The amendment would allow party committees, like the RNC or the DSCC, to coordinate campaign activities with candidate committees. The amendment was widely opposed to by a majority of Democrats and would not only make the bill's passage impossible in conference or in the House, but also endanger the entire lobbying and ethics reform package. This maneuver was blocked by Majority Leader Reid, but resulted in stalling the appointment of Senate conferees on S. 1.

Transparency
On June 28, 2007, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) blocked a deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader McConnell that would have started up long-stalled conference proceedings on the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007. DeMint made an objection to the agreement by phone to the Senate floor, minutes after McConnell had said Republicans would drop their objections to naming conferees. DeMint argued that he would not let the bill proceed until certain earmark reforms were accepted. He stated, "We will not have earmark reform during this year’s appropriations process. That is why this is being done," DeMint charged on the floor, adding later that "the only reason to go to conference with [the rules] in is to take them out." Democrats responded, Harry Reid commenting, "Here we are, seconds from going to conference and a call comes in to the Republican cloak room. I understand the Minority Leader has a responsibility to take that ... but the eyes of the nation are on us... to not let us go to conference on some petty issue that my friend has raised is really bad.”

Jack Abramoff connection
McConnell "said through his spokesman that the money given to him and his political committee by three [American Indian] tribes will be donated to the Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville, which helps the poor and homeless. While federal records show McConnell received $18,500, his office's accounting showed $19,500, and that is what will be given to Wayside," James R. Carroll reported in the January 5, 2006, Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal.

Clash Over 9/11 bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and McConnell are disputing a provision to a 9/11 Bill. The current legislation gives collective bargaining rights to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners. Republicans have blasted Democrats, arguing that the bill is a giveaway to the labor interests that have given crucial political support to the new majority. Meanwhile, the Democrats say the provision is a necessary clause for this homeland security bill.

9/11 Commission recommendations
On June 26, 2007, Congress Democrats expressed the plan to push for the passage of a bill implementing terrorism-prevention measures suggested by the 9/11 commission. The goal would to pass the bill before the July 4 recess, though it was expected that Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader McConnell, would probably object to the quick consideration necessary the bill to be sent to the president before the recess. One Democratic House aide commented, "If Sen. McConnell and the Republican leadership in the Senate chose obstruction on this legislation, it serves no one’s interests but the special interests."

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
    United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
    The Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of all matters relating to the nation's agriculture industry, farming programs, forestry and logging, and legislation relating to nutrition and...

    • Subcommittee on Rural Revitalization, Conservation, Forestry, and Credit
    • Subcommittee on Domestic and Foreign Marketing, Inspection, and Plant and Animal Health
    • Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition and Family Farms
      United States Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition and Family Farms
      TheU.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research is one of five subcommittees of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.-Jurisdiction:...

  • Committee on Appropriations
    United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
    The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in the Senate....

    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Defense
      United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
      The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense is one of twelve subcommittees of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Military defense spending is the largest individual component of federal discretionary spending, making the Defense Subcommittee one of the more powerful...

    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
      United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
      The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development is one of twelve subcommittees of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.-Jurisdiction:...

    • Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans' Affairs, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
      United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
      United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs is one of twelve subcommittees of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations.-Jurisdiction:...

  • Committee on Rules and Administration
    United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
    The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration is responsible for the rules of the United States Senate, with administration of congressional buildings, and with credentials and qualifications of members of the Senate, including responsibility for dealing with contested elections.The committee...

  • Select Committee on Intelligence
    United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
    The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is dedicated to overseeing the United States Intelligence Community—the agencies and bureaus of the federal government of the United States who provide information and analysis for leaders of the executive and legislative branches. The...

    (Ex officio)

Electoral history


Elections are shown with a map depicting county-by-county information. McConnell is shown in red and Democratic opponents shown in blue.
Year % McConnell Opponent Party affiliation % of vote County-by-county map
1984
United States Senate election in Kentucky, 1984
The 1984 United States Senate election in Kentucky was held on November 5, 1984. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Walter Huddleston lost re-election to Mitch McConnell.-Results:Huddleston was unopposed in the Democratic Party's primary.-Candidates:...

49.9% Walter Huddleston
Walter Huddleston
Walter Darlington "Dee" Huddleston is a retired American politician. He is a Democrat from the state of Kentucky. He represented Kentucky in the United States Senate from 1973 until 1985....

 (incumbent)
Democratic 49.5%
1990
United States Senate election in Kentucky, 1990
The 1990 United States Senate election in Kentucky was held on November 5, 1990. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell won re-election to a second term.-Candidates:*Harvey Sloane, former Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky...

52.2% Harvey I. Sloane
Harvey I. Sloane
Harvey I. Sloane , a physician and Democrat, served two terms as Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky and also a term as county judge-executive of Jefferson County, Kentucky...

Democratic 47.8%
1996
United States Senate election in Kentucky, 1996
The 1996 United States Senate election in Kentucky was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell won re-election to a third term.-Candidates:...

55.5% Steve Beshear
Steve Beshear
Steven Lynn "Steve" Beshear is an American politician who is the 61st Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A Democrat, Beshear previously served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1974 to 1979, was the state's Attorney General from 1980 to 1983, and was Lieutenant Governor from...

Democratic 42.8%
2002
United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2002
The 2002 United States Senate election in Kentucky was held on November 5, 2002. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell won re-election to a fourth term.-Candidates:...

64.7% Lois Combs Weinberg Democratic 35.3%
2008
United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2008
The 2008 United States Senate election in Kentucky was held on November 4, 2008. Minority Leader and incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell won re-election to a fifth term.-Background:...

52.9% Bruce Lunsford
Bruce Lunsford
William Bruce Lunsford is an American Democratic politician from Kentucky. He has served various roles in the Kentucky Democratic Party including, Party treasurer, Deputy Development Secretary, and Head of Commerce...

Democratic 47.1%

Personal life


McConnell is a member of the Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 Church. His first wife was Sherrill Redmon, later divorced, they have three daughters, Elly, Claire, and Porter. His second wife, whom he married in 1993, is Elaine Chao
Elaine Chao
Elaine Lan Chao served as the 24th United States Secretary of Labor in the Cabinet of President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. She was the first Asian Pacific American woman and first Chinese American to be appointed to a President's cabinet in American history. Chao was the only cabinet...

, the former Secretary of Labor
United States Secretary of Labor
The United States Secretary of Labor is the head of the Department of Labor who exercises control over the department and enforces and suggests laws involving unions, the workplace, and all other issues involving any form of business-person controversies....

 under George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 (the first Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

 woman to serve in the Cabinet).

Senator McConnell's personal fortune is estimated at $32,756,000 in 2009, having increased by $800,002 since the previous year, and ranking as the 12th wealthiest member of the U.S. Senate.

Memberships and associations


McConnell also serves as a speaker for the Leadership Institute
Leadership Institute
The Leadership Institute is a 501 non-profit organization located in Arlington, Virginia that teaches "political technology.".The Institute was founded in 1979 by conservative activist Morton C. Blackwell...

 in Arlington, Virginia, an organization that teaches conservative Americans how to influence public policy through activism and leadership, and is a lifelong member of the Phi Kappa Tau
Phi Kappa Tau
Phi Kappa Tau is a U.S. national collegiate fraternity.-History:Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity was founded in the Union Literary Society Hall of Miami University's Old Main Building in Oxford, Ohio on March 17, 1906...

 Fraternity. In 1997, he founded the James Madison Center for Free Speech
James Madison Center for Free Speech
The James Madison Center for Free Speech is a legal defense organization in Washington, D.C., USA.-Overview:The James Madison Center was founded by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in 1997. Its general counsel is James Bopp....

, a Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

-based legal defense organization.

External links