Richard Blumenthal

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Richard Blumenthal
Richard Blumenthal Official Portrait.jpg
United States Senator
from Connecticut
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 5, 2011[1]
Serving with Chris Murphy
Preceded by Chris Dodd
23rd Connecticut Attorney General
In office
January 9, 1991 – January 5, 2011
Preceded by Clarine Nardi Riddle
Succeeded by George Jepsen
Member of the Connecticut Senate
from the 27th district
In office
1987–1991
Preceded by Anthony D. Truglia[2]
Succeeded by George Jepsen
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from the 145th district[3]
In office
1984–1987
Preceded by Anthony D. Truglia
Succeeded by Nicholas Pavia
United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut
In office
1977–1981
Nominated by Jimmy Carter
Personal details
Born (1946-02-13) February 13, 1946 (age 68)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Cynthia Allison Malkin[4]
Residence Greenwich, Connecticut[5]
Alma mater Harvard College (A.B.)
Trinity College, Cambridge
Yale Law School (J.D.)
Religion Jewish[6][7][8]
Signature
Website blumenthal.senate.gov
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1970–1976[9]
Rank USMC-E5.svg Sergeant
Unit Marine Forces Reserve insignia (transparent background).png U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Richard Blumenthal (born February 13, 1946) is the senior United States Senator from Connecticut and a member of the Democratic Party. Previously, he served as Attorney General of Connecticut.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Blumenthal is a graduate of Harvard College, where he was editorial chairman of The Harvard Crimson. He studied for a year at Trinity College, Cambridge in England before attending Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. While at Yale, he was a classmate of future President Bill Clinton and future Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. From 1970 to 1976 Blumenthal served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, where he earned the rank of sergeant.

After college Blumenthal served as administrative assistant and law clerk for several Washington figures. From 1977 to 1981 he was United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. In the early 1980s he worked in private law practice, including serving as volunteer counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1984 to 1987, when he was elected to the Connecticut Senate. He was elected state Attorney General in 1990, and served for twenty years. During this period he was frequently speculated as a contender for Governor of Connecticut, but he never pursued the office.

Blumenthal announced his 2010 run for U.S. Senate after Democratic incumbent Chris Dodd announced his retirement. He faced professional wrestling magnate Linda McMahon in the general election, winning by a 12-point margin with 55 percent of the vote. On January 5, 2011 he was sworn in and took seats on the Senate Armed Services; Judiciary; Aging; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees.

Early life and education[edit]

Blumenthal was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Jane M. (née Rosenstock) and Martin A. Blumenthal, who was the president of a commodities trading firm.[4][10][11] His mother was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to a Jewish family that originated in Prussia and Baden, and his father was a Jewish immigrant from Frankfurt, Germany.[12] Blumenthal graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, he was editorial chairman of The Harvard Crimson.[13] Blumenthal was a summer intern reporter for The Washington Post in the London Bureau.[14] Blumenthal was also selected for a Fiske Fellowship that allowed him to study at the University of Cambridge in England for one year after graduation from Harvard College.

He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal.[15] While at Yale, he was classmates with future President Bill Clinton and future Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.[16] One of his co-editors on the Yale Law Journal was future United States Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. His brother, David Blumenthal, is a recognized health policy expert and is Chairman of the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System.[17]

Military service[edit]

Blumenthal received several draft deferments during the Vietnam War before enlisting.[18] He served in United States Marine Corps Reserve units in Washington, D.C. and Connecticut from 1970 to 1976.[19] He attained the rank of sergeant and received an honorable discharge at the end of his enlistment.[20]

Early political career[edit]

Blumenthal served as administrative assistant to United States Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff, as aide to Daniel P. Moynihan when Moynihan was Assistant to President Richard Nixon, and as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. At age 31, he became United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, serving from 1977 to 1981, and as the chief federal prosecutor of that state successfully prosecuted many major cases involving drug traffickers, organized crime, white collar criminals, civil rights violators, consumer fraud, and environmental pollution.[14]

Before he became Attorney General, Blumenthal was a partner in the law firm of Cummings & Lockwood, and subsequently in the law firm of Silver, Golub & Sandak.[21] In December 1982, while still at Cummings & Lockwood, he created and chaired the Citizens Crime Commission of Connecticut, a private, non-profit organization.[22] From 1981 to 1986, he was a volunteer counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.[14] In 1984, when he was 38, Blumenthal was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives, representing the 145th district. In 1987, he won a special election to fill a vacancy in the 27th District of the Connecticut Senate, at the age of 41.[22] Blumenthal resided in Stamford, Connecticut.

In the 1980s, Blumenthal testified in the State Legislature in favor of abolishing Connecticut’s death penalty statute. He did so after representing Florida death row inmate Joseph Green Brown, who had been wrongly convicted. Blumenthal succeeded in staving off the Brown’s execution just 15 hours before it was scheduled to take place.[23]

Attorney General career[edit]

Blumenthal was first elected as the 23rd Attorney General in 1990 and was re-elected in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006. On October 10, 2002 he was awarded the Raymond E. Baldwin Award for Public Service by the Quinnipiac University School of Law.[24]

Pequot land annexation bid[edit]

In May 1995, Blumenthal and the state of Connecticut filed lawsuits challenging a decision by the Department of the Interior to approve a bid by the Mashantucket Pequots for the annexation of 165 acres of land in the towns of Ledyard, North Stonington and Preston.[25] The Pequots' bid sought to have the land placed in a Federal trust, a legal designation that would have given the tribe sovereign control. Blumenthal argued that The Department of the Interior's decision was “fatally, legally flawed, and unfair," and that "it would unfairly remove land from the tax rolls of the surrounding towns and bar local control over how the land is used, while imposing tremendous burden.” The tribe announced the withdrawal of the land annexation petition in February 2002.[26]

Interstate air pollution[edit]

In 1997, both Blumenthal and Governor John G. Rowland petitioned the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address interstate air pollution problems created from Midwest and southeastern sources.[27] The petition was filed in accordance with Section 126 of the Clean Air Act, which allows a United States state to request pollution reductions from out-of-state sources that contribute significantly to its air quality problems.

In 2003, Blumenthal and the Attorneys General of 8 other states (New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont) filed a federal lawsuit against the Bush Administration for "endangering air quality by gutting a critical component of the federal Clean Air Act".[28] The suit alleged that changes in the Act would have exempted thousands of industrial air pollution sources from the Act’s New Source Review provision and that the new rules and regulations would lead to an increase in air pollution.

Big Tobacco[edit]

While Attorney General, Blumenthal was one of the leaders of a 46-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry, which alleged that the companies involved had deceived the public about the dangers of smoking.[29] Blumenthal argued that the state of Connecticut should be reimbursed for Medicaid expenses related to smoking. In 1998, the tobacco companies reached a $246 billion national settlement, giving the 46 states involved 25 years of reimbursement payments. Connecticut's share of the settlement was estimated at about $3.6 billion.

In December 2007, Blumenthal filed suit against RJ Reynolds alleging that a 2007 Camel advertising spread in Rolling Stone magazine used cartoons in violation of the master tobacco settlement, which prohibited the use of cartoons in cigarette advertising because they entice children and teenagers to smoke.[30] The company paid the state of Connecticut $150,000 to settle the lawsuit and agreed to end the advertising campaign in question.

In April 2011, Blumenthal expressed support for the Food and Drug Administration’s pledge to follow up on a report from the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, which recommended that menthol cigarettes be removed from the marketplace to protect public health. Blumenthal stated that tobacco companies were using menthol cigarettes to target children and teen consumers and encourage them to smoke.[31]

Microsoft lawsuit[edit]

In May 1998, Blumenthal, along with attorneys general from 19 other states and the District of Columbia, filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft accusing the company of abusing its monopoly power to stifle competition.[32] The suit, which centered on Microsoft's Windows 98 operating system and the company's contractual restrictions imposed on personal computer manufacturers to tie the operating system to its Internet Explorer browser, was eventually merged with a federal case brought by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) under Attorney General Janet Reno.[33] A 2000 landmark federal court decision ruled that Microsoft had violated antitrust laws, and the court ordered that the company be broken up. In 2001, the federal appeals court agreed, but rather than breakup the company, sent the case to a new judge to hold hearings and determine appropriate remedies.[34][35] Remedies were later proposed by Blumenthal and eight other attorneys general; these included requiring that Microsoft license an unbundled version of Windows in which middleware and operating system code were not commingled.[36] In 2001, the Bush Administration's DOJ settled with Microsoft in an agreement criticized by many states and other industry experts as insufficient.[34] In November 2002, a federal court ruling imposed those same remedies. In August 2007, Blumenthal, along with five other states and the District of Columbia, filed a report alleging that the federal settlement with Microsoft, and court-imposed Microsoft remedies, had failed to adequately reduce Microsoft's monopoly.[34]

Stanley Works[edit]

On May 10, 2002 then Attorney General Blumenthal and Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier helped to stop the hostile takeover of New Britain-based Stanley Works, a major Connecticut employer, by filing a lawsuit alleging that the move to reincorporate in Bermuda based on a shareholder's vote of May 9[37] was "rife with voting irregularities." The agreement to temporarily halt the move was signed by New Britain Superior Court Judge Marshall Berger.[38] On June 3 Blumenthal referred the matter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for further investigation[39] and on June 25 he testified before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means that "Long-time American corporations with operations in other countries can dodge tens of millions of dollars in federal taxes by the device of reincorporating in another country" by "simply [filing] incorporation papers in a country with friendly tax laws, open a post-office box and hold an annual meeting there" and that Stanley Works, along with "Cooper Industries, Seagate Technologies, Ingersoll-Rand and PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, to name but a few, have also become pseudo-foreign corporations for the sole purpose of saving tax dollars." Blumenthal stated that "Corporations proposing to reincorporate to Bermuda, such as Stanley, often tell shareholders that there is no material difference in the law" but said that this was not the case and was misleading to their shareholders.[40] In order to rectify this situation he championed the Corporate Patriot Enforcement Act to close tax loopholes.[41]

Charter schools lawsuit[edit]

In September 1999, Blumenthal announced a lawsuit against Robin Barnes, the president and treasurer of New Haven-based charter school the Village Academy, for serious financial mismanagement of the state-subsidized charitable organization.[42] Citing common law, Blumenthal’s suit sought to recover money misspent and serious damages resulting from Barnes’s alleged breach of duty.[citation needed]

In a Connecticut Supreme Court decision, Blumenthal v. Barnes (2002), a unanimous court determined that the state’s Attorney General could act using only the powers specifically authorized by the state legislature, and that since the Attorney General’s jurisdiction is defined by statute rather than common law, Blumenthal lacked the authority to cite common law as the basis for filing suit against Barnes.[43][44][45][46] Despite this ruling, Blumenthal announced that he intended to pursue a separate 2000 lawsuit against the school's trustees filed on behalf of the State Department of Education.[47]

Regional transmission organization[edit]

In 2003 Blumenthal, along with former Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, and consumer advocates from Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire, opposed "the formation of a regional transmission organization (RTO) that would merge three Northeast and mid-Atlantic power operators, called Independent Service Operators (ISOs), into a single super-regional RTO."[48] In a press release he is quoted as saying "This fatally flawed RTO proposal will raise rates, reduce accountability and reward market manipulation. It will increase the power and profits of transmission operators with an immediate $40 million price tag for consumers."[49] The opposition was due to a report authored by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., a Cambridge-based energy consulting firm, which alleged that consumers would be worse off under the merger.[50]

Gina Kolb lawsuit[edit]

In 2004, Blumenthal sued Computer Plus Center of East Hartford and its owner, Gina Kolb, on behalf of the state. It was alleged that CPC overcharged $50 per computer, $500,000 in total, on a three-year, $17.2 million contract to supply computers to the state. Blumenthal sued for $1.75 million. Kolb was arrested in 2004 and charged with first degree larceny. Under a plea deal, she was admitted to a rehabilitation program. Kolb later countersued, claiming the state had grossly abused its power. Kolb was initially awarded $18.3 million in damages; however, the Attorney General appealed the decision and the damages initially awarded were slashed by 90 percent to $1.83 million.[51] In ruling, Superior Court judge Barry Stevens described the jury's initial award of $18.3 million as a "shocking injustice" and said it was "influenced by partiality or mistake."

Big East and ACC[edit]

Attorney General Blumenthal played a pivotal role in one of the biggest college athletics stories of the decade; expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the departures of Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech from the Big East. He led efforts by the Big East football schools (Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia) in legal proceedings against the Atlantic Coast Conference, the University of Miami and Boston College, accusing them of improper disclosure of confidential information and of conspiring to dismantle the Big East. According to Blumenthal, the case was pursued because "the future of the Big East Conference was at risk -- the stakes huge for both state taxpayers and the university's good name."[52] The suits cost the schools involved $2.2 million in the first four months of litigation.[53] The lawsuit against the ACC was initially dismissed on jurisdictional grounds but was subsequently refiled.[54] A declaratory judgment by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts exonerated Boston College in the matter. Virginia Tech accepted an invitation from the ACC and withdrew from the suit to remove themselves from the awkward position of suing their new conference. An out-of-court settlement in the amount of $5 million was eventually reached, which included a $1 million exit fee that Boston College was required to pay the Big East under the league's constitution.[52]

Many have speculated that the lawsuit was one of the biggest reasons that the University of Connecticut was not sought after by the ACC during their 2011 additions of then-Big East members Syracuse and Pittsburgh. UConn is currently a member of the less lucrative American Athletic Conference.

Interstate 84[edit]

In October 2, 2006, Blumenthal launched an investigation concerning a botched reconstruction project of the Interstate 84 in Waterbury and Cheshire. The original contractor for the job, L.G. DeFelice, went out of business and it was later revealed that hundreds of storm drains has been improperly installed.[55][56] Blumenthal subsequently announced lawsuits against L.G. DeFelice and the Maguire Group, the engineering firm that inspected the project. United States Fidelity & Guaranty, the insurer behind the performance bond for the Interstate-84 construction, agreed to pay $17.5 million to settle the claims. Under the terms of the agreement, the state of Connecticut retained the right to sue L.G. DeFelice for additional funds.[57] In 2009, the bonding company agreed to pay an additional $4.6 million settlement, bringing the total award to $22.1 million ($30,000 more than the repair costs).[58][59]

Lyme disease guidelines investigation[edit]

In November 2006, Blumenthal launched an antitrust investigation into the Infectious Diseases Society of America's (IDSA's) 2006 guidelines regarding the treatment of Lyme disease.[60] Responding to concerns from chronic Lyme disease advocacy groups, Blumenthal claimed the IDSA guidelines would "severely constrict choices and legitimate diagnosis and treatment options for patients."[61] In 2008, Blumenthal ended the investigation after the IDSA agreed to conduct a review of the guidelines.[62] In 2010, an eight-member independent review panel unanimously agreed that the original 2006 guideline recommendations were "medically and scientifically justified" in the light of the evidence. The committee did not change any of the earlier recommendations but did alter some of the language in an executive summary of the findings.[63] Blumenthal said he would review the final report.[64]

Internet pornography, prostitution, and sexual predators[edit]

MySpace/Facebook[edit]

In March 2006, Blumenthal noted that more than seven incidents of sexual assault in Connecticut had been linked directly to MySpace contacts.[65] Earlier that year, Blumenthal and attorneys general in at least five other states were involved in discussions with MySpace that resulted in the implementation of technological changes aimed at protecting children from pornography and child predators on the company’s website.[65] At Blumenthal's urging, MySpace installed a link to free blocking software (“K9 Web Protection”); however, in May 2006, Blumenthal announced that the site had failed to make the program easy to find and that it was not clearly labeled.[66] Blumenthal also urged MySpace to take further steps to safeguard children, including purging deep links to pornography and inappropriate material, tougher age verification, and banning users under 16.[66]

Blumenthal was co-chair, along with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, of the State Attorney General Task Force on Social Networking. In 2008, the attorneys general commissioned the Internet Safety Technical Task Force report, which researched "ways to help squash the onslaught of sexual predators targeting younger social-networking clients".[67]

Blumenthal's office subpoenaed MySpace for information about the number of registered sex offenders on its site. In 2009, MySpace revealed that over a 2-year span it had roughly 90,000 members who were registered sex offenders (nearly double what MySpace officials had originally estimated one year prior).[67][68][69] Blumenthal accused MySpace of having "monstrously inadequate counter-measures" to prevent sex offenders from creating MySpace profiles.

Blumenthal and Cooper secured agreements from MySpace and Facebook to push toward making their companies’ sites safer. Both sites implemented dozens of safeguards, including finding better ways to verify users' ages, banning convicted sex offenders from using the sites, and limiting the ability of older users to search members under 18.[70]

Craigslist[edit]

In March 2008, Blumenthal issued a letter to Craigslist attorneys demanding that the website cease allowing postings for erotic services, which he claimed promoted prostitution, and he accused the site of "turning a blind eye" to the problem.[71] Blumenthal worked with Craigslist and a group of 40 attorneys general to create new measures on the site designed to thwart ads for prostitution and other illegal sexual activities. In April 2009, Craigslist came under the scrutiny of law enforcement agencies following the arrest of Philip H. Markoff (aka the "Craigslist Killer"), suspected of killing a 25-year-old masseuse he met through Craigslist at a Boston hotel.[72][73] Blumenthal subsequently called for a series of specific measures to fight prostitution and pornography on Craigslist—including steep financial penalties for rule breaking, and incentives for reporting wrongdoing.[74] Blumenthal claimed that "Craigslist has the means -- and moral obligation -- to stop the pimping and prostituting in plain sight."

Blumenthal, leading a coalition of 39 states, subpoenaed Craigslist in May 2010 as part of an investigation into whether the site was taking sufficient action to curb prostitution ads and whether it was profiting from them.[72] Blumenthal stated that prostitution ads had remained on the site despite previous assurances that they would be removed.[72][75] The subpoena sought documents related to the company's processes for reviewing potentially objectionable ads, as well as documents detailing the revenue gained from ads sold to the company's erotic services and adult services categories.[76] In August 2010, Blumenthal called on the website to shut down the section permanently and take steps to eradicate prostitution ads from other parts of the site. Blumenthal also called on Congress to alter a landmark communications law (Communications Decency Act) that Craigslist has cited in defense of the ads.[76]

Following continued pressure, Craigslist removed the adult services sections from its U.S. sites in September 2010[77][78] and from its international sites in December 2010.[79] Blumenthal called the company's decision a victory against sexual exploitation of women and children, and against human trafficking connected to prostitution.[79]

Blumenthal and other state attorneys general reached a settlement with Craigslist on the issue; the settlement called for the company to charge people via credit card for any ads that were suggestive in nature so the person could be tracked down if they were determined to in fact be offering prostitution. However, Blumenthal remarked that subsequent to the settlement, the ads had continued to flourish using veiled code words.[75]

Terrorist surveillance program[edit]

In October 2007, Blumenthal and the attorneys general of 4 other states lobbied Congress for the rejection of proposals to provide immunity from litigation to telecommunications firms that cooperated with the federal government's terrorist surveillance program following the September 11 attacks in 2001.[80] In 2008 the Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law a new terrorist surveillance bill including the telecom immunity provisions opposed by Blumenthal.

Countrywide Financial[edit]

In August 2008 Blumenthal announced that Connecticut had joined California, Illinois and Florida in suing subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial (now owned by Bank of America) for fraudulent business practices.[81][82] The suit alleged that Countrywide pushed consumers into "deceptive, unaffordable loans and workouts, and charged homeowners in default unjustified and excessive legal fees." According to Blumenthal, "Countrywide conned customers into loans that were clearly unaffordable and unsustainable, turning the American Dream of homeownership into a nightmare" and when consumers defaulted, "the company bullied them into workouts doomed to fail." Blumenthal also claimed that Countrywide "crammed unconscionable legal fees into renegotiated loans, digging consumers deeper into debt" and that the company "broke promises that homeowners could refinance, condemning them to hopelessly unaffordable loans."[81] The lawsuit demanded that Countrywide make restitution to affected borrowers, give up improper gains and rescind, reform or modify all mortgages that broke state laws. It is also sought civil fines of up to $100,000 per violation of state banking laws, and up to $5,000 per violation of state consumer protection laws.[83]

In October 2008 Bank of America initially agreed to settle the states' suits for $8.4 billion, and in February 2010, Countrywide mailed payments of $3,452.54 to 370 Connecticut residents.[84] The settlement forced Bank of America to establish a $150 million fund to help repay borrowers whose homes had been foreclosed upon, $1.3 million of which went to Connecticut.

Blumenthal commented in defense of U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Christopher Dodd, who had been harshly criticized for accepting a VIP loan from Countrywide,[85] stating that "there's no evidence of wrongdoing on [Mr. Dodd's] part any more than victims who were misled or deceived by Countrywide." In August 2010, Dodd was cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee, which found "no credible evidence" that he knowingly tried to use his status as a U.S. senator to receive loan terms not available to the public.[84]

Global warming[edit]

Blumenthal has been a vocal advocate of the position that human activity is responsible for rising global temperatures and that prompt action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be taken. He has urged the Environmental Protection Agency to declare carbon dioxide as a dangerous air pollutant. "I urge the new Obama EPA to declare carbon dioxide a danger to human health and welfare so we can at last begin addressing the potentially disastrous threat global warming poses to health, the environment and our economy. We must make up for lost time before it's too late to curb dangerous warming threatening to devastate the planet and human society."[86] He has brought suit against a number of electric utilities in the Midwest, arguing that coal-burning power plants are generating excess CO
2
emissions. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently agreed to allow Blumenthal's lawsuit to proceed.[87] Blumenthal personally has stated "no reputable climate scientist disputes the reality of global warming. It is fact, plain and simple. Dithering will be disastrous."[88]

On Friday, March 16, 2012 U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal urged prompt action by the House of Representatives on the federal transportation bill by joining business and transportation leaders to highlight key programs in the bill that would strengthen Connecticut’s role as a developer and manufacturer of clean fuel transportation technologies.[89] Blumenthal was joined by ConnDOT Transit Administrator Mike Sanders, UTC Power President Joe Triompo, and CTTRANSIT General Manager David Lee to discuss how the bill benefits the state’s fuel cell, construction, and manufacturing industries, and commuters of every mode. CTTransit currently operates five buses equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, developed and manufactured in South Windsor, Connecticut, and procured using federal funds.[90]

Prospect of gubernatorial candidacy[edit]

Blumenthal was frequently considered a top prospect as the Democratic candidate for Governor of Connecticut but he did not run against Republican governors John G. Rowland or M. Jodi Rell in the elections of 1998, 2002, and 2006.

On March 18, 2007, Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie reported Blumenthal had become seriously interested in running for Governor in 2010.[91] On February 2, 2009, Blumenthal announced he would forgo a gubernatorial run and seek re-election that year as Attorney General.[92]

U.S. Senate[edit]

2010 election[edit]

Election results by county

After Sen. Chris Dodd announced on January 6, 2010 that he would retire at the end of his term, Blumenthal told the Associated Press that he would run in the election for Dodd's seat in November 2010.[93] Later that day, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden called Blumenthal to express their best wishes.[94]

The same day, Public Policy Polling released a poll they took on the two preceding evenings, including races where Blumenthal was paired against each of the three most mentioned Republicans contending for their party's nomination for the seat. He led by at least 30% in each hypothetical race: against Rob Simmons 59–28, against Linda McMahon 60–28, and against Peter Schiff 63–23, with a ±4.3% margin of error cited.[95] Rasmussen Reports also polled after Blumenthal announced his candidacy and found a somewhat more competitive race, but with Blumenthal holding a strong lead.

A February poll by Rasmussen found that Blumenthal held leads of 19 (against Simmons) and 20 (against McMahon), and that Republicans had made up little ground since the initial Rasmussen poll after Blumenthal announced.[96] On May 21, Blumenthal received the Democratic nomination by acclamation for Senator of Connecticut, after opposing candidate Alpert was not allowed to speak at the convention by the committee, except to withdraw his name for nomination after preparing a speech.[97][98]

Days after the nomination, Quinnipiac University Polling Institute polling indicated that Blumenthal held a 25-point lead over McMahon.[99] The Cook Political Report changed its prediction on the race to Leans Democratic, making Blumenthal the favored candidate over McMahon.[100]

On the November 2nd election, Blumenthal was elected to the U.S. senate, defeating former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, 55% to 43%.

Misrepresenting military service[edit]

On May 17, 2010, prior to the Democratic convention, The New York Times published an article citing a speech delivered by Blumenthal in Norwalk, Connecticut in which he referred to having served "in Vietnam".[101] Beyond the 2006 Norwalk speech, there was evidence of a 2003 occasion when Blumenthal appeared to suggest he'd been amongst those returning from Vietnam.[102] The campaign of a prospective Blumenthal opponent, Republican Linda McMahon, briefly posted on its website that her campaign research team had found video footage of the speech and provided the story to The Times.[102][103] After the Times story was published, Rasmussen Reports indicated that Blumenthal's lead over McMahon had shrunk to three percentage points.[104] Politico covered criticism of the Times, including from the left, which noted that Blumenthal had accurately described his military service record at the outset of his Norwalk speech by saying he had "served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps". Politico also quoted Times editor Bill Keller writing that Blumenthal's introductory statement "does not contradict his later statement that he served ‘in Vietnam’".[105] Connecticut's The Day newspaper, meanwhile, stated that its staff could find no articles in its archives with any suggestion by Blumenthal that he had served in Vietnam but also noted the 2003 and 2008 occasions. It quoted Blumenthal defending his representation of his military service: "On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service and I regret that. I take full responsibility, but I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of military service."[102] Blumenthal's commanding officer in 1974 and 1975, Larry Baldino of Woodbridge, CT, addressed the misspeaking in a letter to the editor to the New Haven Register. Baldino opined that the misleading statement was too 'petty' to be the basis for supporting or not supporting Blumenthal. Baldino further portrayed Blumenthal as 'good natured' and described him as 'one of the best Marines with whom I ever worked'.[106]

Tenure[edit]

Portrait of Richard Blumenthal

Blumenthal was sworn into the 112th United States Congress on January 5, 2011. He also planned on returning to Connecticut every weekend and joining a "listening tour" of his home state.[107] On January 20, Blumenthal visited small businesses in eastern Connecticut.[108] The next day, he visited Danbury, Connecticut.[109]

In March 2012 Blumenthal and New York Senator Chuck Schumer gained national attention after they called upon Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to investigate practices by employers to require Facebook passwords for employee applicants and workers.[110]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ About Senator Blumenthal-U.S. Senate Website Richard Blumenthal delayed taking office as a U.S. Senator for two days in order to complete his term as Attorney General of Connecticut
  2. ^ Madden, Richard L. (November 8, 1987). "Vote Results Force 5 Special Elections". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ Stamford fills assembly vacancies. The Hour. 3 November 1987.
  4. ^ a b "Miss Malkin Plans Bridal". The New York Times. November 29, 1981. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ "List of Candidates". State of Connecticut, Secretary of the State. Retrieved January 5, 2011. 
  6. ^ Dobin, Harriet J. Mumbai Victims Remembered at Solidarity Memorial in West Hartford. Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. 4 December 2008.
  7. ^ National Jewish Democratic Council: Jewish Members of Congress: Richard Blumenthal (Senator, Connecticut) retrieved December 22, 2011
  8. ^ The Jewish Daily Forward: "Blumenthal Finally Gets His Chance" January 13, 2010
  9. ^ About, blumenthal.senate.gov.
  10. ^ Hladky, Gregory B. A Closer Look At Richard Blumenthal. Hartford Advocate. 27 April 2010.
  11. ^ Jewish Virtual Library: Richard Blumenthal retrieved December 22, 2011
  12. ^ Richard Blumenthal ancestry, ancestry.com.
  13. ^ Plotz, David. Just Call Him Senator: An assessment of Richard Blumenthal, the man most likely to replace Connecticut's Christopher Dodd. Slate. 6 January 2010.
  14. ^ a b c "Attorney General Richard Blumenthal timeline," Connecticut Post, Jan. 6, 2010
  15. ^ Volume 82, Number 4, March 1973. The Yale Law Journal.
  16. ^ "Bill Clinton stumps for Richard Blumenthal in Conn. Senate race", The Associated Press, September 26, 2010.
  17. ^ "Commonwealth Fund biographical page for David Blumenthal, M.D."
  18. ^ Pershing, Ben, "Senate Hopeful Richard Blumenthal Addresses Report He Lied About Vietnam Record", Washington Post, May 19, 2010
  19. ^ Dixon, Ken, "Blumenthal an easy victor", Connecticut Post, May 22, 2010.
  20. ^ "Senator Blumenthal Honored at Yale Graduate School Diversity Conference", Yale News, April 2, 2012.
  21. ^ "Timeline: Richard Blumenthal". Hartford Courant. Retrieved April 3, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b Walsh, Erin. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal timeline. Stamford Advocate. 6 January 2010.
  23. ^ Bass, Paul (October 19, 2010). "Murder Trial Puts Death Penalty in Spotlight in Connecticut Campaigns". New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2011. 
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Chris Dodd
United States Senator (Class 3) from Connecticut
January 3, 2011 – present
Served alongside: Joe Lieberman, Chris Murphy
Incumbent
Legal offices
Preceded by
Clarine Nardi Riddle
Connecticut Attorney General
1991–2011
Succeeded by
George Jepsen
Party political offices
Preceded by
Chris Dodd
Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Connecticut
(Class 3)

2010
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Rand Paul
R-Kentucky
United States Senators by seniority
80th
Succeeded by
Mike Lee
R-Utah