|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 12th district
January 3, 1993
|Preceded by||None (District Re-established After 1990 Census)|
|Born||Melvin Luther Watt
August 26, 1945
Steele Creek, North Carolina
|Residence||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Alma mater||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Yale Law School|
Melvin Luther "Mel" Watt (born August 26, 1945) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. He has served North Carolina's 12th congressional district since 1993. An attorney from Charlotte, North Carolina, Watt previously served one term as a state Senator and served as campaign manager for former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt. On May 1, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Watt as the next head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which among other agencies, administers or has oversight for the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
Early life, education and career 
Watt was born in Steele Creek, located in Mecklenburg County. He is the son of Evelyn Lucille (née Mauney) and Graham Edward Watt. Watt is a graduate of York Road High School in Charlotte. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967 with a BS degree in Business Administration. In 1970, he received a JD degree from Yale Law School and was a published member of the Yale Law Journal.
Law career 
Early political career 
Watt was the campaign manager of Harvey Gantt's campaigns for Mayor of Charlotte and for the United States Senate election in North Carolina, 1990. Watt served one term in the North Carolina Senate (1985–86).
U.S. House of Representatives 
Committee assignments 
- Committee on Financial Services
- Committee on the Judiciary
He previously served on the Joint Economic Committee.
Caucus memberships 
- Congressional Black Caucus
- (Watt was unanimously elected and served as the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus 2005–2006.)
- Congressional Progressive Caucus
- International Conservation Caucus
Legislative history 
Accusation by Ralph Nader of use of "racial epithet" 
In 2004, Ralph Nader attended a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, at which Nader clashed with members of the caucus over his presidential bid. After the meeting, Nader alleged that Watt twice uttered an "obscene racial epithet" towards him. It was alleged that Watt said: "You're just another arrogant white man — telling us what we can do — it's all about your ego — another [expletive] arrogant white man." Although Nader wrote a letter to the Caucus and to Watt asking for an apology, none was offered.
Opposition to Federal Reserve auditing 
In 2009, fellow congressman Ron Paul reported to Bloomberg that while Paul's bill HR 1207, which mandates an audit of the Federal Reserve, was in subcommittee, Watt had substantially altered the substance of the bill, a move which had "gutted" the bill's protections. According to Bloomberg News, on October 20, 2009, "The bill, with 308 co-sponsors, has been stripped of provisions that would remove Fed exemptions from audits of transactions with foreign central banks, monetary policy deliberations, transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and communications between the Board, the reserve banks and staff, Paul said today." Paul said there is "nothing left" in the bill after Watt's actions.
Paul responded when he and Alan Grayson of Florida passed a competing amendment hours before the bill cleared the House Financial Services Committee to restore the bill's original language and undo Watt's attempts to weaken its effects. Watt won support from Chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts and the Congressional Black Caucus, both of which backed his amendment. Eight of the ten Black Caucus members on the committee voted against the Paul-Grayson amendment. Watt and Frank voted to inhibit the bill's approval. With pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus to delay consideration of the bill by the full House of Representatives, it is unclear when HR 1207 will face a final vote.
The country's largest bank Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte in Watt's congressional district and has threatened to leave. The Sunlight Foundation reported that 45% of Watt's campaign contributions for 2009 are from corporations in the real estate, insurance and finance industries, the seventh-highest percentage of any member of Congress. Watt’s largest contributors included American Express, Wachovia, Bank of America and the American Bankers Association.
Support of SOPA 
Ethics investigation 
Congressman Watt was formally investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics over a series of fundraising events he was involved in. On December 9, 2009 Watt held a fundraiser and soon after withdrew a proposal he had introduced to subject auto dealers to more stringent regulations. The fundraiser brought donors mainly from large finance companies such as Goldman Sachs. Watt was later cleared of charges or wrongdoing.
Racial Gerrymandering 
In 1994, the existence of his district was challenged as an instance of racial gerrymandering. The accusation was found to be true, but upheld as "narrowly tailored to further the state's compelling interest in complying with the Voting Rights Act". 
Political campaigns 
In 1992, Watt was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina's newly created 12th Congressional District and became one of only two African American members elected to Congress from North Carolina in the 20th century, the other being Eva M. Clayton.
Recent election results 
|US House of Representatives 12th District General Election 2010|
|US House of Representatives 12th District General Election 2012|
See also 
- Cheyenne Hopkins & Clea Benson (May 1, 2013). "Obama Said to Choose Watt to Lead Fannie Mae Regulator". bloomberg.com.
- Jim Puzzanghera (May 1, 2013). "Obama to nominate Democratic Rep. Mel Watt to head housing agency". latimes.com.
- "Members of Congress / Melvin Watt". The U. S. Congress Votes Database (The Washington Post). Retrieved 11 January 2010.
- "Fisher challenges Watt again in 12th Congressional District". Davidson County Dispatch. 30 October 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2008.
- Smothers, Ronald (7 June 1990). "THE 1990 ELECTIONS; North Carolina Democrat Sets Strategy in Taking On Helms". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- "Congressman Mel Watt". NCDP.org. North Carolina Democratic Party. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- "Our Members". US House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- Bill H.R.3261; GovTrack.us;
- Nichols, Hans; Savodnik, Peter (14 July 2004). "Nader Angers Congressonal Black Caucus with Demand for Apology". The Hill. Reprinted at Common Dreams website: www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0714-11.htm
- Ivry, Bob (30 October 2009). "Federal Reserve Policy Audit Legislation ‘Gutted,’ Paul Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Dayen, David (19 November 2009). "Paul-Grayson "Audit The Fed" Bill Passes Financial Services Committee". Fire Dog Lake. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Blumenthal, Paul (15 October 2009). "Chamber of Commerce Deploys Former Government Officials to Lobby On Financial Regulation". Sunlight Foundation. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Blumenthal, Paul (9 October 2009). "Top Financial Services Committee Members Rely Heavily On Finance Campaign Contributions". Sunlight Foundation. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- McCullagh, Declan (16 November 2011). "SOPA bill won't make U.S. a 'repressive regime,' Democrat says". CNET.com. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Leonnig, Carol D. (16 June 2010). "8 House members investigated over fundraisers held near financial reform vote". Washington Post. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Morrill, Jim (2 September 2011). "Mel Watt cleared by ethics panel". Charlotte Observer. Reprinted at Queen City Metro website
- "Watt’s disgraceful attempt to destroy the OCE". Center for Responsible Ethics in Washington. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Siegelbaum, Debbie (21 July 2011). "Dem seeks to slash funding for ethics office set up by Pelosi". The Hill. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- "U.S. Panel in North Carolina Calls Racial Gerrymandering Legal". The New York Times. 2 August 1994.
- "NC 12th District General Election Results 2010". NC State Board of Elections. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- "NC 12th District General Election Results 2012". NC State Board of Elections. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
- Congressman Mel Watt official U.S. House site
- Mel Watt for Congress official campaign site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Profile at Ballotpedia
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance (federal office) at LegiStorm.com
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Watt, February 20, 2005
- "Congressman Watt Elected to be Chair of the CBC". Americans for a Fair Chance website. civilrights.org network. 13 December 2004. Archived from the original on 17 December 2004. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
|United States House of Representatives|
|New district||Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 12th congressional district
|Chairman of Congressional Black Caucus
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
|United States order of precedence|
|United States Representatives by seniority