|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Florida's 19th district
January 3, 2017 – January 3, 2021
|Preceded by||Curt Clawson|
|Succeeded by||Byron Donalds|
|United States Ambassador to the Holy See|
November 12, 2005 – January 10, 2008
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Jim Nicholson|
|Succeeded by||Mary Ann Glendon|
Laurence Francis Rooney III
December 4, 1953
Muskogee, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Education||Georgetown University (BA, JD)|
Laurence Francis Rooney III (born December 4, 1953) is an American politician and diplomat who was a U.S. Representative for Florida's 19th congressional district from 2017 to 2021. A Republican, he served as the United States Ambassador to the Holy See from 2005 until 2008. Representative Rooney has earned a 95.90% Lifetime Score from the American Conservative Union.
Rooney is the former CEO of Rooney Holdings (formerly known as Rooney Brothers Company), an investment and holding company based in Naples, Florida. With a net worth of $22.6 million, Rooney had been one of the wealthiest members of Congress.
Early life and education
Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Rooney graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University in 1975 and a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1978. Rooney is the oldest child of Laurence Francis and Lucy Turner Rooney's six children.
Rooney served as the Chief Executive Officer and President at Rooney Holdings, Inc. since 1984. Rooney is the majority owner of Manhattan Construction Company; he is the fourth generation of his family to own that company. Manhattan Construction built the new Cowboys Stadium in Texas, the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center at the United States Capitol, the Oklahoma State Capitol, the George Bush Presidential Library, the Cato Institute headquarters, New Orleans Sports Arena and Reliant Stadium. The company is working on the George W. Bush Presidential Library earning it the distinction to be the only construction company to work on two presidential libraries. They have also done extensive projects for Morehouse College, George Washington University, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Georgia.
Rooney is a member of the Advisory Board of the Panama Canal Authority. He was among the U.S. delegation led by Colin Powell to the inauguration of Panamanian president Martín Torrijos. Rooney is a member of the Inter-American Dialogue.
Rooney is a major Republican donor, having contributed to the campaign of George W. Bush. Rooney served on the fundraising team of Connie Mack IV. Rooney donated $1 million to Restore Our Future, Mitt Romney's Super PAC, and Rooney hosted a fundraiser for Romney in Rooney's Naples, Florida home. In 2015, Rooney gave over $2 million to Jeb Bush's Super PAC.
U.S. House of Representatives
In May 2016, incumbent Republican congressman Curt Clawson announced he would not run for a third full term. Soon afterward, Rooney entered the Republican primary to succeed him—the real contest in this heavily Republican district. Rooney spent $4 million of his own money and far outspent his opponents in an election that was shortened due to the timing of Clawson's late announcement. In the August 30 primary, he defeated Sanibel Councilman Chauncey Goss and radio personality Dan Bongino. Rooney received an unprecedented endorsement from Rick Scott, who is his neighbor in the Naples, Florida Port Royal community. As expected, he won handily in the November general election to become only the fifth person to represent this district since its creation in 1983 (it had been the 13th District from 1983 to 1993, the 14th from 1993 to 2013, and has been the 19th since 2013).
In 2017, Rooney proposed the Pell Performance Act, alongside Ralph Norman, which proposes that Pell Grants turn into Stafford loans if students fail to graduate college within six years of being awarded the grant.
- Committee on Education and the Workforce
- Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Joint Economic Committee
As of 2017, Rooney has a "B" rating from the NRA, indicating a voting record that generally supports gun rights. As a Congressman, Rooney has voted in favor of several pieces of legislation to expand gun rights, including a yes vote on H. R. 38 (the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act), which would enable concealed carry reciprocity among all States if and when it is signed into law.
In March 2017, Rooney voted in favor of the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which, if signed into law, will allow veterans who are considered "mentally incompetent" to purchase ammunition and firearms unless declared a danger by a judge. Rooney also voted in favor of H.J.Res.40, which successfully used the Congressional Review Act to block implementation of an Obama-era Amendment to the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 that was aimed at preventing the mentally-infirm from legally purchasing firearms.
Following the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Rooney announced a proposal to limit mass shootings. The proposal includes supporting the Fix NICS Act of 2017, mandating background checks for every firearm purchase, and enacting a gun violence restraining order system to provide a legal justification for temporarily confiscating firearms from those deemed a threat to themselves or others. Rooney also supports a mandatory 3-day waiting period for all gun sales, a ban on bump stocks, and raising the minimum age to purchase any firearm to 21. Additionally, his proposal included making schools more secure and hiring veterans and retired law enforcement officers as armed security guards for schools. Rooney has also expressed support for the controversial idea of arming teachers to confront school shooters. However, in response to questions on if he would support reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, Rooney replied, "How willing are we to throw the Constitution out the window?" Rooney has stated that his support of any new gun control legislation is contingent on the inclusion of a rider of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.
On November 28, 2018, Rooney cointroduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018, saying, "to let the free market price out coal, we should consider value pricing carbon. A revenue-neutral carbon fee is an efficient, market-driven incentive to move toward natural gas and away from coal, and to support emerging alternate sources of energy." He also cosponsored the 2019 version of the bill.
In an op-ed published on Politico in September 2019, Rooney declared, "I’m a conservative Republican and I believe climate change is real. It’s time for my fellow Republicans in Congress to stop treating this environmental threat as something abstract and political and recognize that it’s already affecting their constituents in their daily lives." However, his voting record has not always been so pro-environment. He has voted to delay enactment of ozone standards, and to repeal a rule requiring energy companies to reduce waste and emissions.
Arctic Refuge drilling
Although he voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which authorized drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in September 2019 he was the only House Republican who voted in favor of a bill that would repeal this authorization.
Immigration and refugees
Rooney is in favor of immigration reform. He has spoken out against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. At the time of Rooney's stated position on DACA, a large majority of American citizens were in support of the program, including according to an August 31 through September 3, 2017 poll where 57% of self-identified Republican voters.
Rooney sat on the board of the Tulsa, Oklahoma based petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company, Laredo Petroleum that was accused in 2012 of underpaying royalties to landowners of property where the company was conducting operations. The lawsuit, filed by Chieftain Royalty Company, alleged that "Laredo used its position as operator and as an oil and gas working interest owner to secretly underpay royalty due plaintiff and class members on production of gas and its constituents from the Oklahoma Well," and the company had been "unjustly enriched." Rooney owns 1 million shares of Laredo Petroleum and had been on the board since 2010. Despite denying the allegations made in the lawsuit, Laredo settled the claim for $6.6 million.
Deep state comments
Rooney has made statements suggesting that he believes in the existence of a deep state in the United States. In a December 26, 2017, MSNBC interview, Rooney, while calling into question the integrity of the FBI and Justice department, who were conducting an investigation into Russian State interference in the 2016 elections and any possible collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump presidential campaign along with any related crimes, alluded to a "deep state", presumably seeking to undermine the Trump presidency. Rooney stated there ought to be a "purge" within those departments. Rooney suggested this is evidenced by there having been isolated incidents among members of those agencies who were documented as having been demoted or, where relevant, removed from the Mueller probe for having expressed anti-Trump bias or pro-Hillary Clinton bias.
Advocacy of purging the FBI
Rooney attracted national attention in December 2017 when he suggested that the FBI be purged of agents that he believed were politically compromised, and saying he felt pretty frustrated with FBI officials in their investigation of Trump; and by doing so, Rooney is putting himself squarely in the corner of Donald Trump, according to several sources.
- "Ranking the Net Worth of the 115th". Retrieved November 18, 2019.
- Zanona, Melanie; Dixon, Matt; Vasquez, Christian (October 19, 2019). "GOP congressman who was open to impeachment calls it quits". Politico. Washington, DC. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- Dame, Marketing Communications: Web // University of Notre. "Trustees to confer honorary degrees during meetings in Rome". Notre Dame News. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
- "Biography | U.S. Representative Francis Rooney". francisrooney.house.gov. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
- "L. Francis Rooney III, J.D." Bloomberg. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- "Panama Canal Board of Directors meets with Advisory Board". www.pancanal.com. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
- Derby, Kevin (December 6, 2011). "GOP Senate Hopeful Connie Mack Gets the Backing of Financial Heavy Hitters". Sunshine State News. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Wolford, Ben (February 5, 2012). "Naples residents gave $1.25 million to super-PAC promoting Romney candidacy". Naples Daily News. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Haake, Garrett (April 15, 2012). "Mitt Romney rakes in cash during spring break". NBC News. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Fredreka Schouten and Christopher Schnaars (July 31, 2015). "GOP's big donors rally to help Jeb Bush". USA Today.
- "Campaign finance data - FEC.gov". FEC.gov. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- "In rare move, Scott endorses Rooney in G.O.P. primary". Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- "Member List". Pew Research Center. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
- Fox, Zach. "Student debt could worsen under SC congressman's proposal, colleges worry". The Herald. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- "Members, Subcommittees & Jurisdictions | Education & the Workforce Committee". edworkforce.house.gov. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- "Full Committee - Committee on Foreign Affairs". Committee on Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- "Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats - Committee on Foreign Affairs". Committee on Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- "Western Hemisphere - Committee on Foreign Affairs". Committee on Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- Committee, United States Joint Economic. "About - United States Joint Economic Committee". www.jec.senate.gov. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- Layden, Laura. "U.S. Rep. Rooney gets tough questions at rowdy town hall talks in N. Naples, Cape Coral". USA TODAY. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Aisch, Gregor. "How Every Member Voted on the House Health Care Bill". Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- "Francis Rooney's Political Summary on Issue: Guns". ISPY. Vote Smart. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 663". clerk.house.gov. U.S. Federal Government. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
- "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 169". clerk.house.gov. U.S. Federal Government. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
- "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 77". clerk.house.gov. U. S. Federal Government. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- Derby, Kevin (6 March 2018). "Francis Rooney Unveils Plan to Deal With Gun Violence". Sunshine State News. Florida. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- Elias, Dave (15 February 2018). "Should teachers be armed with guns at school?". NBC2. Southwest Florida. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- Conley, Lisa (22 February 2018). "Francis Rooney talks gun control, faces protesters at Marco Island town hall". Naples Daily News. Naples, Florida. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- Pinsker, Adam (22 February 2018). "Heckled and pressured, Rooney won't back assault rifle ban". Fox4 News. Cape Coral, Florida. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- "Bipartisan carbon fee bill introduced in House". Citizens' Climate Lobby. 2018-11-28. Retrieved 2019-03-28.
- "I'm a conservative Republican. Climate change is real". Politico. 2019-09-11. Retrieved 2019-09-11.
- "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 391". Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives.
- "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 78". Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives.
- "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 699". Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives.
- "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 518". Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives.
- Leary, Alex. "With Trump to decide fate of DACA, where do Florida officials stand?". Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- "Americans back DACA by a huge margin". ABC News. September 25, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- "Poll: Majority opposes deporting Dreamers". Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000015e-5366-df04-a5df-d76730df0002[bare URL]
- "Public Notes on 16AFA_Q1A". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- Dixon, Matt (2017-12-15). "Rooney on board of oil company sued in 2012 for allegedly bilking landowners". Politico PRO. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
- "Laredo Petro". Laredo Petro. 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
- "Rep. Francis Rooney wants to withhold funding to colleges with 'safe zones'". Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- "GOP Rep. Francis Rooney: FBI and DOJ Are "Off The Rails," Need To "Purge" The Deep State". www.realclearpolitics.com. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- Eli Watkins, December 27, 2017, CNN, GOP congressman explains his call for FBI 'purge', Retrieved December 27, 2017, "... Rooney said he was "pretty frustrated" with FBI officials whom he believes displayed bias..."
- December 27, 2017, NBC, Rooney explains his call for FBI 'purge', Retrieved December 27, 2017, "...concerned that the DOJ and the FBI, whether you want to call it 'deep state' or what, are kind of off the rails..."
- Rebecca Morin, December 26, 2017, Politico, Trump claims FBI used ‘bogus’ dossier to go after his campaign, Retrieved December 27, 2017
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Francis Rooney.|
- Francis Rooney at Curlie
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Nominations and Withdrawal Sent to the Senate, a July 2005 White House press release
- Voices of Oklahoma interview with L. Francis Rooney. First person interview conducted on May 8, 2015, with L. Francis Rooney.