Chuck Grassley

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Chuck Grassley
Sen Chuck Grassley official.jpg
United States Senator
from Iowa
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 1981
Serving with Tom Harkin
Preceded by John Culver
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Max Baucus
Succeeded by Max Baucus
Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging
In office
January 7, 1997 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by William Cohen
Succeeded by John B. Breaux
In office
January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001
Preceded by John B. Breaux
Succeeded by John B. Breaux
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by H.R. Gross
Succeeded by T. Cooper Evans
Member of the
Iowa House of Representatives
In office
January 12, 1959 – January 12, 1975
Personal details
Born Charles Ernest Grassley
(1933-09-17) September 17, 1933 (age 80)
New Hartford, Iowa
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Barbara Grassley
Children Lee Grassley
Wendy Grassley
Robin Grassley
Michele Grassley
Jay Grassley
Residence New Hartford, Iowa
Alma mater University of Northern Iowa (B.A., M.A.)
Occupation Politician
Religion BaptistBGC
Website www.grassley.senate.gov

Charles Ernest "Chuck" Grassley (born September 17, 1933) is the senior United States Senator from Iowa, serving since 1981. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served in the United States House of Representatives (1975–1981) and the Iowa state legislature (1959–1974). He was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from January to June 2001 and from January 2003 to December 2006. He is currently the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Before the Senate[edit]

Grassley was born in New Hartford, Iowa, the son of Ruth (née Corwin) and Louis Arthur Grassley,[1] and graduated from the town high school. At Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa), he earned a B.A. in 1955 and an M.A. in 1956. During his time as a student, Grassley joined the social-professional Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.[2] Also during the 1950s, Grassley farmed and worked in factories, first as a sheet metal shearer and then as an assembly line worker. He studied toward a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Iowa. In 1967–1968 Grassley taught at the now-defunct Charles City College.[3]

Grassley represented parts of Butler County in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959 until 1975.[3] He then served in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981.[4]

U.S. Senate[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Grassley during his time in the US House of Representatives

Tenure[edit]

As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley has spearheaded many probes into the misuse and accountability of federal money. In July 2007, a Grassley-commissioned report was released claiming that more than US$1 billion in farm subsidies were sent to deceased individuals. Grassley said: "It's unconscionable that the Department of Agriculture would think that a dead person was actively engaged in the business of farming."[5]

On June 28, 2006, Grassley proposed legislation[6][7] intended to curb sex trafficking and sex slavery in the United States by means of strict enforcement of tax laws, for example by requiring a W-2 form be filed for each prostitute managed by a pimp or other employer.

Sen. Grassley, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), and Rep. E. Clay Shaw (R-FL) (left to right) address the media after a meeting at the White House with President Bill Clinton.

Since 1976, Grassley has repeatedly introduced measures that increase the level of taxation on American citizens living abroad, including retroactive tax hikes. Grassley was eventually able to attach an amendment to a piece of legislation that went into effect in 2006, which increased taxes on Americans abroad by targeting housing and living incentives paid by foreign employers and held them accountable for federal taxes, even though they did not currently reside in the United States. Critics of the amendment felt that the move hurt Americans competing for jobs abroad by putting an unnecessary tax burden on foreign employers. Others felt that the move was only to offset the revenue deficit caused by domestic tax cuts of the Bush Administration.[8][9][10]

In March 2009, amid the scandal involving various AIG executives receiving large salary bonuses from the taxpayer-funded bailout of the corporate giant, Grassley sparked controversy by suggesting that those AIG employees receiving large bonuses should follow the so-called 'Japanese example', resign immediately or commit suicide. After some criticism, he dismissed the comments as rhetoric.[11][12][13]

In May 2009, Grassley cosponsored a resolution to amend the US Constitution to prohibit flag-burning, stating the flag is "...the symbol our men and women in uniform have fought for over 200 years. [sic]"[14]

When President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party proposed a health reform bill featuring mandated health insurance, Grassley opposed the health insurance mandate, saying that it was a deal breaker.[15] In response to an audience question at an August 12, 2009, meeting in Iowa, about the end-of-life counseling provisions in the House health care bill, H.R. 3200, Grassley said people were right to fear that the government would "pull the plug on grandma."[16][17][18][19] Grassley had previously supported covering end-of-life counseling, having voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, which stated: "The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary's need for pain and symptom management, including the individual's need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning."[20] In December 2009, Grassley voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act).

Grassley opposed the Manchin-Toomey gun control amendment, and instead proposed alternative legislation to increase prosecutions of gun violence and increase reporting of mental health data in background checks.[21]

As of December 2013, Grassley has cast 6,806 consecutive roll call votes,[22] placing him second behind the all-time consecutive vote record holder, Senator William Proxmire (D-Wis). Grassley has not missed a roll call vote since 1993, when he was touring Iowa with President Bill Clinton to survey flood damage. He has, as of July 2012, cast almost 11,000 votes and had at that time only missed 35 votes in his Senate career.[23]

Despite his long tenure, Grassley remains invested in engaging with his constituents. Since first winning taking office in 1981, Grassley has held public meetings in all of Iowa's 99 counties each year.[24]

Political positions[edit]

In 2006, Senator Grassley received a 14 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters,[25] which was downgraded to 10% on the LCV's 2009 scorecard. The League approved of his votes on the issues of renewable energy and farm conservation programs.[25] but disapproved of his votes on the energy conference report, global warming, natural gas facilities, increasing fuel economy, and various other issues.[citation needed]Windpower Engineering & Development magazine recently recognized Grassley as a 2014 Influencer for his commitment to supporting wind energy development in Iowa and his advocacy for the renewable energy production tax credit.[26]

Grassley has been described in newswires as a "bulldog supporter" of biofuels such as ethanol.[27] Grassley has opposed conservative Senators like Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) for wanting to bring an end to ethanol subsidies.[28]

Grassley was given the American Legion's distinguished public service award for his support of a "strong national defense, service members, veterans and the American flag", primarily due to his support for a flag protection amendment.[29]

Senator Grassley has 100 percent ratings from the National Right to Life Committee,[30] Eagle Forum,[31] and Family Research Council,[32] an 84 percent rating from the American Conservative Union,[33] and a 20 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign.[34]

The author of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, Grassley has campaigned to increase protection and provide support for "whistleblowers". He has supported a number of FBI whistleblowers, including Coleen Rowley, Michael German, and Jane Turner. Grassley received a lifetime achievement award on May 17, 2007 from the National Whistleblower Center. In April 2014, Grassley announced plans to create a caucus in the Senate dedicated to strengthening whistleblower protections.[35]

Investigations[edit]

Religious organizations[edit]

On November 5, 2007, Grassley announced an investigation into the tax-exempt status of six ministries under the leadership of Benny Hinn, Paula White, Eddie L. Long, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, and Kenneth Copeland by the United States Senate Committee on Finance.[36] In letters to each ministry, Grassley asked for the ministries to divulge specific financial information to the committee to determine whether or not funds collected by each organization were inappropriately utilized by ministry heads.[37] By the December 6, 2007 deadline, only three of the ministries had shown compliance with the Finance Committee's request. On March 11, 2008, Grassley and Finance Chairman Max Baucus sent follow-up letters to Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Eddie Long, explaining that the Senate reserved the right to investigate the finances of their organizations under federal tax laws.[38]

Responses from these Ministers included Constitutional arguments about Congressional power to oversee such matters. They claim that only the IRS has the authority to request such information, and should the IRS request it or pursue an investigation, the ministries involved would gladly comply.

Medical research[edit]

Grassley also began an investigation about unreported payments to physicians by pharmaceutical companies. Grassley led a 2008 Congressional Investigation which found that well-known university psychiatrists, who had promoted psychoactive drugs, had violated federal and university regulations by secretly receiving large sums of money from the pharmaceutical companies which made the drugs.[39] The New York Times reported that Dr. Joseph Biederman of Harvard University had failed to report over a million dollars of income that he had received from pharmaceutical companies.[40] Weeks later, Business Week reported that Grassley alleged that Alan Schatzberg, chair of psychiatry at Stanford University, had underreported his investments in Corcept Therapeutics, a company he founded.[41] Dr. Schatzberg had reported only $100,000 investments in Corcept, but Grassley stated that his investments actually totalled over $6 million. Dr. Schaztberg later stepped down from his grant which is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).[42] Similarly, Dr. Charles Nemeroff resigned as chair of the psychiatry department at Emory University after failing to report a third of the $2.8 million in consulting fees he received from GlaxoSmithKline. At the time he received these fees, Dr. Nemeroff had been principal investigator of a $3.9 million NIH grant evaluating five medications for depression manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.[43]

In 2008, for the first time, Grassley asked the American Psychiatric Association to disclose how much of its annual budget came from drug industry funds. The APA said that industry contributed 28% of its budget ($14 million at that time), mainly through paid advertising in APA journals and funds for continuing medical education.[44]

Political campaigns[edit]

Grassley was elected to his Senate seat in 1980, defeating the Democratic incumbent, John Culver. He was reelected in 1986, 1992, 1998, 2004, and 2010; he is the second-longest serving Senator in Iowa history. He has remained very popular in Iowa even as the state trended Democratic. In 1992, for instance, he won a third term with 69 percent of the vote even as Bill Clinton carried the state in the presidential election.

2010[edit]

Grassley sought a sixth term in the 2010 election. He was challenged by Democrat Roxanne Conlin, a former U.S. Attorney, and Libertarian John Heiderscheit, an attorney.

Grassley was unopposed in the Republican primary, although some conservatives said he has drifted "too far to the left".[45] Among those is conservative activist Bill Salier, who said "Grassley was the dominant force and had an enormous amount of loyalty. That has so eroded out from underneath him" during an interview on WHO-AM radio.[46]

Grassley was reelected with 64.5% of the vote, Roxanne Conlin getting 33.2% of the vote. He carried every county in the state except Johnson County.[47] He is only the second Iowan to serve six terms in the Senate; the other being Iowa's longest-serving Senator, William B. Allison.

Fundraising[edit]

According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, the industries that have been the largest contributors to Grassley during his political career are health professionals ($1 million in contributions), insurance industry ($997,674), lawyers/law firms ($625,543) and pharmaceuticals/health products ($538,680). His largest corporate donors have been Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, Amgen biotech company and Wells Fargo bank.[48]

Electoral history[edit]

United States Senate election in Iowa, 2010[49]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chuck Grassley (inc.) 718,215 64.35% -5.83%
Democratic Roxanne Conlin 371,686 33.30% +5.43%
Libertarian John Heiderscheit 25,290 2.27%
Write-ins 872 0.08%
Majority 346,529 31.05% -11.26%
Turnout 1,116,063
Republican hold Swing
United States Senate election in Iowa, 2004[50]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chuck Grassley (inc.) 1,038,175 70.18% +1.77%
Democratic Art Small 412,365 27.88% -2.62%
Libertarian Christy Ann Welty 15,218 1.03%
Green Daryl A. Northrop 11,121 0.75%
Socialist Workers Edwin Fruit 1,874 0.13% -0.14%
Write-ins 475 0.03%
Majority 625,810 42.31% +4.39%
Turnout 1,479,228
Republican hold Swing
United States Senate election in Iowa, 1998[51]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chuck Grassley (inc.) 648,480 68.41% -1.20%
Democratic David Osterberg 289,049 30.49% +3.29%
Natural Law Susan Marcus 7,561 0.80% -0.47%
Socialist Workers Margaret Trowe 2,542 0.27% +0.16%
Write-ins 275 0.03%
Majority 359,431 37.92% -4.50%
Turnout 947,907
Republican hold Swing
United States Senate election in Iowa, 1992[52]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chuck Grassley (inc.) 899,761 69.61% +3.58%
Democratic Jean Lloyd-Jones 351,561 27.20% -6.37%
Natural Law Stuart Zimmerman 16,403 1.27%
Independent Sue Atkinson 6,277 0.49%
Independent Mel Boring 5,508 0.43%
Independent Rosanne Freeburg 4,999 0.39%
Grassroots Carl Eric Olsen 3,404 0.26%
Independent Richard O'Dell Hughes 2,918 0.23%
Socialist Workers Cleve Andrew Pulley 1,370 0.11%
Write-ins 293 0.02%
Majority 548,200 42.41% +9.95%
Turnout 1,292,494
Republican hold Swing
United States Senate election in Iowa, 1986[53]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chuck Grassley (inc.) 588,880 66.04% +12.55%
Democratic John P. Roehrick 299,406 33.57% -11.97%
Independent John Masters 3,370 0.38%
Write-ins 106 0.01%
Majority 289,474 32.46% +24.51%
Turnout 891,762
Republican hold Swing
United States Senate election in Iowa, 1980[54]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chuck Grassley 683,014 53.49% +4.21%
Democratic John Culver (inc.) 581,545 45.54% -4.48%
Independent Garry De Young 5,858 0.46%
Libertarian Robert V. Hengerer 4,233 0.33%
Independent John Ingram Henderson 2,336 0.18%
Majority 101,469 7.95% +7.20%
Turnout 1,772,983
Republican gain from Democratic Swing

1978 Iowa 3rd District United States Congressional Election

Chuck Grassley (R) (inc.) 74.8%
John Knudson (D) 25.2%

1976 Iowa 3rd District United States Congressional Election

Chuck Grassley (R) (inc.) 56%
Stephen Rapp 44%

1974 Iowa 3rd District United States Congressional Election

Chuck Grassley (R) 50.8%
Stephen Rapp (D) 49.2%

Personal life[edit]

Grassley married Barbara Ann Speicher in September 1954; the couple have five children: Lee, Wendy, Robin, Michele, and Jay. Grassley is a member of The Family, the tax-exempt quasi-Christian political organization that organizes the National Prayer Breakfast.[55] Grassley is known for tweeting with rampant typos and misspellings and has spawned a parody account.[56]

Awards[edit]

In 2009, Grassley received the "Health Policy Hero" award from the National Research Center for Women & Families[57] for his 2004 oversight of legislative reforms and accountability of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[58] Grassley was also named the hardest working member of Congress by The Hill newspaper in June 2010, tied with Max Baucus.[59]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ancestors of Charles Ernest Grassley. rootsweb.com.
  2. ^ "Greeks in the 113th Congress". North-American Interfraternity Conference. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Charles Grassley". www.legis.iowa.gov. Retrieved May 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress - Grassley, Charles Ernest - Biographical Information". Office of Art and Archives and Office of the Historian, The United States Congress. Retrieved April 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Dead farmers got subsidies". The Seattle Times. July 24, 2007. Retrieved July 24, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Senator seeks tax on pimps, prostitutes (cnn.com)". CNN. Retrieved August 17, 2006. 
  7. ^ "Grassley Press Release on the "Pimp Tax"". Retrieved August 17, 2006. 
  8. ^ Bradsher, Keith (May 30, 2006). "Americans Living Abroad Get a Nasty Tax Surprise". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  9. ^ Bilefsky, Dan (May 12, 2006). "Americans abroad face higher U.S. tax bills". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on June 19, 2006. 
  10. ^ Senator Charles Grassley’s Letter of October 3rd 2007 in the Wall Street Journal Provokes Vivid Response.
  11. ^ "Pressure grows on AIG to return bonuses". MSNBC. Associated Press. March 18, 2009. 
  12. ^ Montanaro, Domenico (March 17, 2009). "Grassley dismisses suicide talk as rhetoric". MSNBC. 
  13. ^ Phillips, Kate (March 17, 2009). "Grassley: A.I.G. Must Take Its Medicine (Not Hemlock)". The New York Times. ]
  14. ^ Hancock, Jason (May 8, 2009). "Grassley cosponsors flag-burning amendment". IowaIndependent.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Grassleys opposition to individual insurance mandate comes under fire". Iowa Independent. October 8, 2009. 
  16. ^ Stein, Sam (September 12, 2009). "Grassley Endorses "Death Panel" Rumor: "You Have Every Right To Fear"". HuffingtonPost.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  17. ^ Hancock, Jason (August 12, 2009). "Grassley: Government shouldn’t ‘decide when to pull the plug on grandma’". IowaIndependent.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  18. ^ Hancock, Jason (August 12, 2009). "Grassley repeats euthanasia claim". IowaIndependent.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Sen. Deather". The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC. August 13, 2009. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  20. ^ Grassley was for ‘death panels’ before he was against them | Iowa Independent
  21. ^ Ed Tibbetts (April 17, 2013). "Grassley proposes alternative gun bill". Quad-City Times. 
  22. ^ "Senate Deal Sets Up Friday Christmas Exit, Pushes Yellen Confirmation to 2014 (Updated)". Roll Call. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  23. ^ O'Keefe, Ed. "Susan Collins casts her 5,000th consecutive vote". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "Sen. Chuck Grassley (R)". National Journal Almanac. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  25. ^ a b "National Environmental". League of Conservation Voters. 2009. [dead link]
  26. ^ "2014 Influencer U.S. Senator, Iowa, Chuck Grassley". WTWH Media, LLC. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Senate tax bill extends ethanol credit, tariff". Reuters. December 10, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Grassley's ethanol challenge". The Washington Post. November 24, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Grassley dedicated to protecting the flag". The American Legion. March 26, 2009. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Federal NRLC Scorecard – 110th Congress". National Right to Life Committee. Capwiz.com. 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Federal Eagle Forum Scoreboard – 110th Congress". Capwiz.com. 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Vote Scorecard: 110th Congress". FRC Action. 2008. Archived from the original on August 9, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  33. ^ "2007 Votes by State Delegation". Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. 
  34. ^ "Sen Grassley HRC Score Card". Human Rights Campaign. 
  35. ^ Hicks, Josh (10 April 2014). "Sen. Charles Grassley plans new whistleblower-protection caucus". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  36. ^ Lohr, Kathy (December 4, 2007). "Senator Probes Megachurches' Finances". NPR.org. Retrieved December 10, 2007. 
  37. ^ "Televangelists Living Like Kings?". CBS News. November 6, 2007. Retrieved September 17, 2007. 
  38. ^ "Grassley, Baucus Urge Four Ministries to Cooperate". Planned Giving Design Center. March 12, 2008. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  39. ^ Kirk, Stuart A. (2013). Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs. Transaction Publishers. p. 21. 
  40. ^ Harris, Gardiner; Carey, Benedict (June 8, 2008). "Researchers Fail to Reveal Full Drug Pay". The New York Times. 
  41. ^ Weintraub, Arlene (June 26, 2008). "Drug Makers and College Labs: Too Cozy?". Business Week. 
  42. ^ "Stanford Researcher, Accused of Conflicts, Steps Down as NIH Principal Investigator". The Chronicle of Higher Education. August 1, 2008. 
  43. ^ Gellene, Denise; Maugh II, Thomas H. (October 4, 2008). "Doctor Accused in Congress' Probe". The Los Angeles Times. 
  44. ^ Kirk, Stuart A. (2013). Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs. Transaction Publishers. p. 217. 
  45. ^ Hancock, Jason (April 10, 2009). "Salier: Grassley could be primaried". IowaIndependent.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  46. ^ Hancock, Jason (August 7, 2009). "Salier renews threat of Grassley primary". IowaIndependent.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  47. ^ "County Results - Election Center 2010 - Elections & Politics from CNN.com". CNN. 
  48. ^ "Chuck Grassley: Campaign Finance/Money – Industries". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  49. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/2010election.pdf
  50. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/2004election.pdf
  51. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/1998election.pdf
  52. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/1992election.pdf
  53. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/1986election.pdf
  54. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/1980election.pdf
  55. ^ Sharlet, Jeff (July 21, 2009). "Sex and power inside 'the C Street House'". Salon.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  56. ^ http://www.business2community.com/twitter/sen-chuck-grassley-best-worst-twitter-account-ever-0486183
  57. ^ "Previous Foremothers and Heath Policy Heroes". National Research Center for Women & Families. 2010. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  58. ^ "Grassley recognized for work to increase accountability in health care system". Press Release. grassley.senate.gov. May 8, 2009. 
  59. ^ Victoria, Lauren (June 9, 2010). "The 25 hardest working lawmakers". TheHill.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
H.R. Gross
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 3rd congressional district

1975–1981
Succeeded by
T. Cooper Evans
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Culver
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Iowa
1981–present
Served alongside: Roger Jepsen, Tom Harkin
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
William Cohen
R-Maine
Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee
1997–2001
Succeeded by
John Breaux
D-Louisiana
Preceded by
Max Baucus
D-Montana
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Max Baucus
D-Montana
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Carl Levin
D-Michigan
United States Senators by seniority
5th
Succeeded by
Tom Harkin
D-Iowa
Party political offices
Preceded by
David M. Stanley
Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Iowa
(Class 3)

1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, 2004, 2010
Succeeded by
Current