Patrick McHenry

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Patrick McHenry
Patrick McHenry, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
DeputyAnn Wagner
Preceded byMaxine Waters
House Republican Chief Deputy Whip
In office
August 1, 2014 – January 3, 2019
LeaderJohn Boehner
Paul Ryan
Preceded byPeter Roskam
Succeeded byDrew Ferguson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 10th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded byCass Ballenger
Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives
from the 109th district
In office
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byWilliam Current
Personal details
Born (1975-10-22) October 22, 1975 (age 44)
Gastonia, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Giulia Cangiano
EducationNorth Carolina State University
Belmont Abbey College (BA)

Patrick Timothy McHenry (born October 22, 1975) is the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 10th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. He was a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives for a single term. The district includes the cities of Kings Mountain, Gastonia, Lincolnton, Shelby, and part of Asheville.

Early life, education and career[edit]

McHenry was born in Gastonia, North Carolina. He grew up in suburban Gastonia, the son of the owner of the Dixie Lawn Care Company,[1] and attended Ashbrook High School. While at Ashbrook High School, McHenry participated in the Close Up Washington civic education programs.[2] A Roman Catholic, McHenry was the youngest of five children. His parents are now deceased.

Halfway through North Carolina State University, McHenry transferred to Belmont Abbey College.[1] At Belmont, McHenry founded the school's College Republican chapter,[1] then became chair of the North Carolina Federation of College Republicans and served as treasurer for the College Republican National Committee.

His first run for public office was for the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1998, while still a junior in college; he won the primary but lost in the general election. The Democratic winner was the father of a high school classmate.[citation needed]

After earning a B.A. in history in 1999, McHenry worked for the media consulting firm DCI/New Media, in Washington, D.C. He was involved in Rick Lazio's campaign against Hillary Clinton during the November 2000 United States Senate election in New York; his main project was running a Web site,[1] In 2012, he received an Honorary M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Yorktown University.[3]

Early political career[edit]

In mid-2000, McHenry was hired by Karl Rove to be the National Coalition Director for George W. Bush's successful 2000 presidential campaign.[1] In late 2000 and early 2001, he was a volunteer coordinator for Bush's inaugural committee. After working for six months in 2001 as a special assistant to Elaine Chao, the United States Secretary of Labor in Washington, D.C., McHenry returned to North Carolina and ran again for the North Carolina General Assembly, winning in the November 2002 general election.[4]

President George W. Bush with McHenry in 2005

A resident of Denver, North Carolina, McHenry represented the state's 109th House district, including constituents in Gaston County, for the 2003–2004 session. While in the legislature, he sat on the House Appropriations Committee.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

At age 33, McHenry was the youngest member of the 110th United States Congress; however, 27-year-old Aaron Schock of Illinois took office in the 111th United States Congress in January 2009.[needs update]

McHenry serves on two House Committees: Financial Services, and Oversight and Government Reform. McHenry holds two House Republican leadership positions; he is a Deputy Whip and Vice Chairman of Finance for the National Republican Congressional Committee's Executive Committee.[7] Since 2011, McHenry has been Chairman of the Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services, and Bailouts of Private and Public Programs on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.


"Two-bit" security guard comment[edit]

McHenry stirred further controversy with his remarks on April 1, 2008, regarding a trip to Iraq. Speaking to 150 Republicans attending the Lincoln County GOP Dinner, he called a contractor, reported first by blogs as a "U.S. soldier"[8] – performing security duties in Iraq as "a two-bit security guard" because the contractor denied McHenry access to a gym.

We spent the night in the Green Zone, in the poolhouse of one of Saddam's palaces. A little weird, I got to be honest with you. But I felt safe. And so in the morning, I got up early – not that I make this a great habit – but I went to the gym because I just couldn't sleep and everything else. Well, sure enough, the guard wouldn't let me in. Said I didn't have the correct credentials. It's 5:00 in the morning. I haven't had sleep. I was not very happy with this two bit security guard. So you know, I said, "I want to see your supervisor." Thirty minutes later, the supervisor wasn't happy with me, they escort me back to my room. It happens. I guess I didn't need to work out anyway.[9][10]

He later apologized, saying that "it was a poor choice of words."[11]

Baghdad video[edit]

McHenry was also the subject of discussion regarding a video, posted on his Congressional campaign website, that featured him in the Green Zone in Baghdad, pointing out landmarks and destruction after missile attacks. Veteran's affairs blog VetVoice posted a scathing attack, claiming that McHenry's video violated Operational Security.[12] McHenry later removed the video after discussing the information with the Pentagon, which requested McHenry not place the video back online.[13] Lance Sigmon, McHenry's opponent, later went on to call a press conference to demand an investigation regarding the full nature of the video's effect on Green Zone Troops.[14][full citation needed] Sigmon attacked McHenry in a campaign ad regarding this controversy, prompting McHenry to threaten legal action, claiming the ad was false.

Use of PAC funds[edit]

On April 16, 2008, Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call revealed that McHenry used funds from his political action committee (PAC), "More Conservatives", to fund the defense of former aide Michael Aaron Lay's voter fraud charges incurred during McHenry's 2004 race.[15] McHenry gave Lay $20,000 to pay legal bills on voter fraud charges brought while Lay worked for him.[15] These expenses were labeled as "Legal Expense Donation", according to Federal Election Commission reports. Lay agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement, which stipulated he complete 100 hours of community service and pay $240.50 in court fees and $250.00 in community service fees to have the charges dismissed.[citation needed] Lay, an employee of the 2004 campaign, lived in McHenry's home in Cherryville which also served as the campaign headquarters during the 2004 election, was indicted for voter fraud in McHenry's election, allegedly voted illegally in two separate instances.[16] McHenry, in response, claimed the case was part of a "three-year smear campaign" by District Attorney Locke Bell,[17] despite Locke Bell fund raising for McHenry in previous elections.[18][full citation needed]

Countrywide donations[edit]

McHenry has also been called out by the Center for Responsive Politics' Capital Eye, who found evidence that McHenry had been taking money from Countrywide Financial, a company involved in the subprime mortgage crisis.[19] McHenry took $5,500 from Countrywide's PAC, and served in an investigation into CEO payout fraud, of which one of the target companies was Countrywide Financial itself.

Elizabeth Warren[edit]

On May 24, 2011, Elizabeth Warren – appointed by President Obama to oversee the development of the new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – attended a House subcommittee meeting chaired by McHenry, who invited her because he felt she had given misleading testimony during another hearing. Earlier that day, McHenry had appeared on CNBC and accused Warren of lying to Congress about her involvement in government inquiries into mortgage servicing.[20]

The meeting had several late and last minute changes, so Warren altered her schedule to accommodate the chair's request. Around 2:15 pm, McHenry called for a temporary recess to partake in a floor vote. In response, Warren indicated that McHenry's staff had agreed to the 2:15 pm closing time to allow her ample time to attend another meeting. McHenry replied, "You had no agreement. ... You're making this up, Ms. Warren. This is not the case." As Warren and some in the audience reacted with surprise, Rep. Elijah Cummings interjected, "Mr. Chairman ... I'm trying to be cordial here, but you just accused the lady of lying. I think you need to clear this up with your staff."[21]

Although the CFPB confirmed the agreement, McHenry refused to apologize for his remarks to Warren.[22]

The Hickory Daily Record, the largest paper in McHenry's district, called for McHenry to apologize, saying that it was "unacceptable for any member of Congress, especially a subcommittee chairman," to treat a witness in the manner with which he treated Warren.[23]

Payday lenders[edit]

McHenry supported a 2020 rule change by the Trump administration whereby payday lenders would no longer have to check whether prospective borrowers can afford to repay high-interest loans.[24]

Political campaigns[edit]


In 2004, after one term in the North Carolina General Assembly, McHenry successfully ran for Congress in the 10th Congressional district, which had come open when nine-term incumbent Cass Ballenger retired. McHenry faced a heavily contested primary in the 10th and bested his closest opponent, Catawba County Sheriff David Huffman, in a primary runoff by only 85 votes.

In the general election, McHenry won 64% of the popular vote, defeating Democrat Anne Fischer. However, it was generally thought McHenry's victory in the primary runoff was tantamount to election in November: his district is considered North Carolina's most Republican district, having sent Republicans to represent it since 1963.


In the 2006 election, McHenry defeated Democrat Richard Carsner, gaining almost 62% of the vote on the way to a second term representing the 10th District.


In 2008, McHenry defeated Lance Sigmon in the Republican primary, winning 67% of the vote, and faced Democrat Daniel Johnson in the general election. Johnson was considered the strongest and best-funded Democrat to run in the district in over 20 years. In part because of this, the Cook Political Report moved the race from "Safe Republican" to "Likely Republican." This meant that in Charlie Cook's opinion, while McHenry still had a considerable advantage, a victory by Johnson could not be ruled out. Shortly after the Cook Political Report's update, Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report, also a nonpartisan analysis of American politics and elections, addressed the race and indicated his opinion that an upset is unlikely.[25] McHenry won the 2008 election, 58% to 42%.[26]


McHenry defeated Democratic challenger Jeff Gregory.[citation needed]


McHenry defeated Republican primary challengers Ken Fortenberry and Don Peterson in May 2012 with 73% of the vote in the redrawn 10th District.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e Benjamin Wallace-Wells (October–November 2005). "Getting Ahead in the GOP; Rep. Patrick McHenry and the art of defending the indefensible". Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on 2009-07-04.
  2. ^ "Alumni Network | Close Up Foundation | Educational Programs". Close Up Foundation. Retrieved 2020-06-24.
  3. ^ Wade Shol, Cong. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) honored by honorary MBA in Entrepreneurship, Press Release, June 12, 2012
  4. ^ "The New Members of the House". Roll Call. Retrieved 2020-06-24.
  5. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Members". Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  7. ^ Chairman Tom Cole Announces 2007–2008 NRCC Executive Committee Archived 2008-08-07 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  8. ^ "Rep. McHenry calls U.S. soldier in Iraq a 'two-bit security guard.' – ThinkProgress". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  9. ^ McHenry Refers to Soldier as "Two Bit Security Guard", Carolina Politics Online, April 3, 2008
  10. ^ Video of Patrick McHenry's "two-bit soldier" remark on YouTube
  11. ^ "Lawmaker apologizes for comment on Iraq guard – Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports – Army Times". Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  12. ^ "VetVoice: Congressman McHenry Violates OPSEC; Endangers Troops". Archived from the original on 12 December 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  13. ^ ""Iraq visit hurts congressman" : : Greensboro, North Carolina". 2008-04-11. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-04-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)[full citation needed]
  15. ^ a b "Necessary Overhead?". Roll Call. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  16. ^ Rey, Michael (May 11, 2007). "Congressman McHenry's Campaign Aide Indicted". CBS News.
  17. ^ Breaking News: McHenry campaign aide indicted for voter fraud from 2004 election, mchenry, lay, news : The Star Online : The Newspaper of Cleveland County Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ [1][permanent dead link][full citation needed]
  19. ^ OpenSecrets | Countrywide's Campaign Contributions Weren't Loans, But They Were Investments – Capital Eye Archived 2008-11-18 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Wyatt, Edward (May 24, 2011). "Decorum Breaks Down at House Hearing". The New York Times.
  21. ^ "Chairman McHenry Calls Elizabeth Warren a Liar at Subcommittee Hearing". YouTube.
  22. ^ McAuliff, Michael (May 24, 2011). "Elizabeth Warren Called Liar At CFPB Hearing By Republicans Who Botched Facts On Agency (VIDEO)". Huffington Post.
  23. ^ "EDITORIAL: McHenry should apologize to voters". Hickory Daily Record. Archived from the original on June 1, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  24. ^ "Payday lenders won't have to check whether borrowers can afford loans". Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  25. ^ "The Rothenberg Political Report[FeedShow RSS reader]". Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  26. ^ "2008 General Elections: Reports (unofficial results)". North Carolina State Board of Elections. November 6, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2008.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Cass Ballenger
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 10th congressional district

Preceded by
Maxine Waters
Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Adam Putnam
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Aaron Schock
Party political offices
Preceded by
Peter Roskam
House Republican Chief Deputy Whip
Succeeded by
Drew Ferguson
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Michael McCaul
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Cathy McMorris Rodgers