Gregory Meeks

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Gregory Meeks
Gregory Meeks, official portrait, 115th congress.jpg
Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byEliot Engel
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
Assumed office
February 3, 1998
Preceded byFloyd Flake
Constituency6th district (1998–2013)
5th district (2013–present)
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 31st district
In office
January 1, 1993 – January 3, 1998
Preceded byAnthony S. Seminerio
Succeeded byPauline Rhodd-Cummings
Personal details
Gregory Weldon Meeks

(1953-09-25) September 25, 1953 (age 69)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseSimone-Marie Meeks
Residence(s)Queens, New York, U.S.[1]
EducationAdelphi University (BA)
Howard University (JD)
WebsiteCampaign website
House website

Gregory Weldon Meeks (born September 25, 1953) is an American lawyer and politician who has been a U.S. representative from New York since 1998. He is a member of the Democratic Party and has chaired the House Committee on Foreign Affairs since 2021.

In the last Congress, Meeks's district included most of southeastern Queens, including Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, and the John F. Kennedy International Airport. It was made up largely of working-, middle-, and upper-middle-class African-American and West Indian American communities, but also included a small part of Ozone Park and part of Howard Beach known as Old Howard Beach, both of which are predominantly middle-class Italian-American communities. He also represented much of Kew Gardens and northern Richmond Hill, as well as the largely Irish American western part of Rockaway Peninsula.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Born in East Harlem, New York City and raised in a housing project, Meeks received his B.A. degree from Adelphi University and his J.D. degree from Howard University School of Law. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[2] He worked as an Assistant District Attorney and for the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York before joining the Investigations Commission on official misconduct and organized crime. He then was Supervising Judge for the New York State Workers Compensation System. Meeks was a member of the New York State Assembly (31st D.) from 1993 to 1998.

House of Representatives[edit]



Meeks was criticized for initially supporting Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama for president. His House primary election challenger was to be Ruben Wills, a former chief of staff for State Senator Shirley Huntley and an organizer for Obama. Wills said, "I was on board with Obama from Day 1; Meeks had to be dragged across the line." Some suggested that a young black political class was seeking to assert the neighborhood's power against what it saw as an older establishment, based in Harlem, that had long exercised disproportionate influence in New York City.[3][4] Wills did not qualify for the ballot, so no primary election took place.


Meeks in June 2012

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Meeks one of the most corrupt members of Congress in 2011.[5] It was subsequently reported that his continuing ethical and criminal probes would cause his premature exit from Congress,[6] but Meeks has denied this.[7] In October 2011, hiphop artist and law school graduate Mike Scala announced his candidacy in the Democratic primary.[8] Meeks won the primary and was reelected in the November general election with 90% of the vote.


On March 3, 2015, Meeks participated with fellow Democrats in a boycott of the speech delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress.[9]

In July 2020, after the primary defeat of House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel, Meeks declared his candidacy for chair. On December 3, 2020, Meeks defeated Joaquin Castro in a caucuswide vote, 148-78.[10]

As of September 2021, Meeks had voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time.[11]

Tax cuts for the wealthy[edit]

In November 2021, Meeks called for increasing the cap on SALT deductions, which would entail tax cuts for the wealthy.[12]

Philippines visit[edit]

On August 25, 2007, Silvestre Reyes, chair of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Armed Services Committee, and four other representatives visited American troops deployed in the southern Philippines to overview the US-Philippines relationship. Reyes headed the bipartisan delegation, which included Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, member of the Appropriations Committee and the select intelligence oversight panel; Heather Wilson of the Committee on Energy and the Intelligence Committee; Meeks; and Dutch Ruppersberger of the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees. They drove to the base of the Joint Special Operation Task Force Philippines (JSOTFP), a US-led body that trains Filipino soldiers against terror in Barangay Upper Calarian.[13]

Fall of Afghanistan[edit]

On the day of the fall of Kabul, Meeks said in a statement that the Taliban victory was "inevitable". He also said, "It is abundantly clear that the Taliban's advance was ultimately inevitable, at least without a commitment to surge tens of thousands of U.S. troops for an unknown span of time. That is a commitment the American public has made clear it does not support."[14]

2013 CREW report[edit]

In 2013, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Meeks as one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington.[15] This was as a result of claims that he purchased a home for over $150,000 less than it was worth,[16] met with former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez on behalf of a donor,[17][18][19] and failure to disclose a private loan on congressional financial statements.[20]

Congressional auto lease[edit]

The New York Times reported that Meeks utilizes the option to use tax dollars to lease a car for use as a member of Congress. This option does not exist for Senate members. The lease is forgone by many members of Congress, but Meeks has held the most-expensive lease among all members. He has used tax dollars to lease a 2007 Lexus LS 460 for $998 per month. Meeks was unwilling to provide further comment when questioned by the Times about the lease arrangement, saying, "These are never lighthearted stories."[21]

Malaysia visit

In August 2022, Meeks traveled to Malaysia with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress as part of Pelosi's Asia tour. Malaysia was their second stop after Singapore.[22] They discussed security challenges, economic opportunities and governance priorities between Malaysia and the U.S.[23]

Meeks poses with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken before Blinken testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on March 10, 2021.

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Meeks has African-American heritage, and according to DNA analysis, he descends mainly from people of Sierra Leone.[31] His great-grandparents lived in South Carolina when slavery was abolished.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lipton, Eric; Hernandez, Raymond (March 20, 2010). "Congressman Cries Poor, but Lifestyle May Disagree". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Alpha Phi Alpha Politicians". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  3. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (July 1, 2008). "A New Campaign Charge: You Supported Clinton". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Obama Forces Back Challenges To Meeks In SE Queens Primary | | Queens Gazette
  5. ^ Staff (2012). "Gregory Meeks (D-NY)". CREW's Most Corrupt. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  6. ^ Vincent, Isabel; Klein, Melissa (October 2, 2011). "Pushing Meeks out door". New York Post.
  7. ^ U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks (November 3, 2011). "Meeks Clears Air". Queens Tribune. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  8. ^ Queens-Politics (October 28, 2011). "Scala Seeks Democratic Endorsement For 6th Congressional". Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  9. ^ "List of 56 Democrats Not Attending Netanyahu's Speech". IJ Review. March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Castro launches bid for House Foreign Affairs gavel". July 21, 2020. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020.
  11. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  12. ^ "Dems agonize over tax cuts for rich: 'Bad policy, bad politics'". POLITICO. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  13. ^ Matikas Santos (June 28, 2012). "'Dindo' will hit N. Luzon, 10 areas under Signal No. 2". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  14. ^ Choi, Joseph (August 16, 2021). "Top House Democrat: Taliban advance was 'ultimately inevitable'". The Hill. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  15. ^ "Rep. Gregory Meeks(D-NY) Named One of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress". CREW. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  16. ^ Lipton, Eric; Hernandez, Raymond (March 19, 2010). "Congressman Cries Poor, but Lifestyle May Disagree". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  17. ^ Report, Post Staff (September 25, 2011). "Meeks' moral morass". New York Post. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  18. ^ staff/ben-muessig (December 29, 2009). "Queens Rep. Tied To Ponzi Schemer — And Hugo Chavez?". Gothamist. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  19. ^ Editorials. "Come clean, Mr. Meeks: Congressman must explain relationship with shady billionaire". Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  20. ^ Smith, Greg B. "FBI looks into secret $40,000 personal loan to Queens pol Gregory Meeks". Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  21. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (May 1, 2008). "What Would You Drive, if the Taxpayers Paid?". The New York Times.
  22. ^ "US speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives in Malaysia". MalaysiaNow. August 2, 2022. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  23. ^ "Dewan Rakyat, US House of Reps to have open line to build better ties | Daily Express Online - Sabah's Leading News Portal". August 2, 2022. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  24. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  25. ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  26. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  27. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  28. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  29. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  30. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  31. ^ Congressman Greg Meeks Ancestry Reveal on YouTube
  32. ^ Gronich, Marc "A Q&A With Rep. Gregory Meeks" Jewish Press June 19, 2020

External links[edit]

New York State Assembly
Preceded by Member of the New York Assembly
from the 31st district

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th congressional district

Preceded by Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by