Scott Perry (politician)

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Scott Perry
Scott Perry, official portrait, 116th congress.jpg
Chair of the House Freedom Caucus
Assumed office
January 1, 2022
Preceded byAndy Biggs
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byTodd Russell Platts (Redistricted)
Constituency4th district (2013–2019)
10th district (2019–present)
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 92nd district
In office
January 2, 2007 – November 30, 2012
Preceded byBruce Smith
Succeeded byMike Regan
Personal details
Born
Scott Gordon Perry

(1962-05-27) May 27, 1962 (age 60)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseChristy Perry
Children2
EducationPennsylvania State University (BS)
United States Army War College (MS)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1980–2019
RankArmy-USA-OF-06.svg Brigadier general
UnitPennsylvania Army National Guard
Commands2nd Battalion (General Support), 104th Aviation Regiment
166th Regiment (Regional Training Institute)
Fort Indiantown Gap
Battles/warsIraq War

Scott Gordon Perry (born May 27, 1962)[1] is an American politician. He is the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district. It was numbered the 4th district from 2013 to 2019. It includes Harrisburg, York, and most of the inner suburbs.

A member of the Republican Party, Perry represented the 92nd district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013. He is a retired Pennsylvania Army National Guard brigadier general. In November 2021, Perry was elected chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative group among U.S. House Republicans.[2]

On December 20, 2021, the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack called for an interview with Perry, the first time it publicly sought to question a sitting member of Congress. Perry declined the request the next day. The panel's chairperson said it had evidence from several witnesses that Perry had "an important role" in efforts to install Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general as part of attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election. The committee subpoenaed Perry on May 12, 2022.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Perry was born in San Diego, California. His family moved to Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, when he was seven.[4] In 1980, he graduated from Northern High School in Dillsburg and Cumberland-Perry Vo-Tech School in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.[5][4] In 1991, Perry obtained a B.S. in business administration and management from Pennsylvania State University. In July 2012, he received a master's degree in strategic planning from the United States Army War College.[6]

Military service[edit]

Army National Guard[edit]

Perry began his military career in 1980 when he enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.[7] He attended basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey,[7] and graduated from Advanced Individual Training[6] at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, as a technical drafting specialist.[8] He graduated from Pennsylvania's Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery.[7]

After receiving his commission, Perry qualified as a helicopter pilot in the Aviation branch.[9] He served in a variety of staff and command assignments as he advanced through the ranks, including executive officer of 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment during deployment to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002–2003, and commander of 2nd Battalion (General Support), 104th Aviation Regiment beginning in 2008.[9]

Iraq war[edit]

In 2009–2010, Perry commanded 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment during its pre-deployment training and service in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.[9] As Task Force Diablo, 2-104th Aviation was credited with flying 1,400 missions, accruing over 13,000 combat flight hours, and transporting over 3 million pounds of cargo and 43,000 soldiers and civilians.[9] Perry was credited with flying 44 missions and accrued nearly 200 combat flight hours.[9]

Post-Iraq[edit]

Perry in 2015

After returning from Iraq, Perry was promoted to colonel and assigned to command the Pennsylvania National Guard's 166th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) (2010–2012).[9] From 2012 to 2014, he commanded the garrison at the Fort Indiantown Gap National Training Center.[9] In May 2014, Perry was assigned as one of the assistant division commanders of the 28th Infantry Division, and he was promoted to brigadier general in November 2015.[7][10] In May 2016, he was assigned as assistant adjutant general for Army at the Pennsylvania National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters.[9] Perry retired from the Pennsylvania National Guard on March 1, 2019.[11]

Business career[edit]

In 1993, Perry founded Hydrotech Mechanical Services, Inc., a mechanical contracting firm in Dillsburg. The firm provides contract construction and maintenance services to municipal and investor-owned utilities from North Carolina to New York, specializing in large meter calibration. In 2002, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection accused the company of altering sewage monitoring reports while doing work for the Memphord Estates Sewage Treatment Company. Perry faced criminal charges of conspiring to falsify state-mandated sewage records. In the aftermath of the investigation and review, he was allowed to complete a diversion program and avoid any criminal charges, which allowed him to maintain his U.S security clearance.[12][13]

Pennsylvania House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

In 2006, state representative Bruce Smith of Pennsylvania's 92nd House district decided to retire. Perry won the Republican primary with 41% of the vote.[14] He won the general election with 71% of the vote, and took office on January 2, 2007.[15][16] In 2008, Perry was reelected to a second term unopposed.[17] In 2010, he was reelected to a third term unopposed.[17]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Appropriations
  • Rules
  • Labor Relations
  • Consumer Affairs
  • Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness[18]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2012[edit]

In 2012, Perry gave up his state house seat to run for the 4th congressional district. The district had previously been the 19th district, represented by six-term incumbent Republican Todd Platts, who was giving up the seat to honor a self-imposed term limit. In 2010, when Platts wanted to become U.S. Comptroller General, he spoke to Perry about running for the seat.[19]

Perry won a seven-way primary with over 50% of the vote. Although outspent nearly 2 to 1 in the campaign, he beat his closest competitor with nearly three times as many votes.[citation needed] Political newcomer Harry Perkinson, an engineer,[20] advanced in a two-way Democratic primary.[21] Perry won the general election, 60%–34%.[22]

2014[edit]

In 2014, Perry was unopposed in the Republican primary and the former Harrisburg mayor, Linda D. Thompson, was unopposed in the Democratic primary.[23] Perry won the general election, 75%–25%.[24]

2016[edit]

Perry won the 2016 election with no primary challenge and no official Democratic opponent. Joshua Burkholder of Harrisburg, a political novice, withdrew from the Democratic primary after too many signatures on his qualifying petition were successfully challenged. His subsequent write-in candidacy won the Democratic primary, but he was unaffiliated in the general election.[25][26][27][28][29] Perry defeated Burkholder, 66%–34%.[30]

2018[edit]

After ruling the state's congressional map an unconstitutional gerrymander, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new map for the 2018 elections. Perry's district was renumbered the 10th and made significantly more compact than its predecessor. It lost most of the more rural and Republican areas of York County to the neighboring 11th district (the old 16th). To make up for the loss in population, it was pushed slightly to the north, absorbing the remainder of Democratic-leaning Dauphin County that had not been in the old 4th.[31] On paper, the new district was less Republican than its predecessor. Had the district existed in 2016, Donald Trump would have won it with 52% of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 43%;[32] Trump carried the old 4th with 58% of the vote.[33]

Pastor and Army veteran George Scott won the Democratic primary by a narrow margin and opposed Perry in the general election for the reconfigured 10th. The two debated in October before Perry won with 51.3% of the vote to Scott's 48.7%, with the new district boundaries taking effect in 2019.[34][35][36][37] Perry held on by winning the district's share of his home county, York County, by 11,600 votes.[38] This was the district's closest race since 1974, when Bill Goodling won his first term in what was then the 19th with 51% of the vote.[39]

2020[edit]

In 2020, Perry had no Republican primary challenge, and the Pennsylvania auditor general, Eugene DePasquale, won a two-way Democratic primary.[40] Perry was reelected with 53% of the vote in the general election.[41][42]

2021

On January 6, 2021, Perry, eight Republican senators, and 138 Republican representatives voted to reject Arizona's and/or Pennsylvania's electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election.[43]

Tenure[edit]

Perry is a member of the Freedom Caucus.[44] In November 2021, he was elected to chair the group, succeeding Andy Biggs in January 2022.[45]

In October 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Perry accused CNN anchor Chris Cuomo of exaggerating the crisis in Puerto Rico.[46]

In January 2018, Perry suggested that ISIS might have been involved in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities have maintained that gunman Stephen Paddock acted alone.[47][48][49]

In December 2019, Perry was one of 195 Republicans to vote against both articles of impeachment against President Trump.[50]

In October 2020, Perry was one of 17 Republicans to vote against a House resolution to formally condemn the QAnon conspiracy theory.[51] He said he voted against the resolution because he was concerned about infringements on free speech, saying, "it's very dangerous for the government ... to determine what is okay to like and what is not okay to like."[52][53]

In March 2021, Perry voted against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.[54][55] He said only 9% of the act's spending was allotted to defeat the COVID-19 virus, while the rest would advance Democratic policies.[56]

In April 2021, at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee meeting on immigration, days after Fox News host Tucker Carlson promoted the Great Replacement theory, Perry said, "For many Americans, what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is, what appears to them is we're replacing national-born American—native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation."[57]

In June 2021, Perry was one of 21 House Republicans to vote against a resolution to give the Congressional Gold Medal to police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on January 6.[58] He cosponsored a bill, introduced the same day, that would give the same medal to police officers without mentioning the attack.[59]

At the June 2021 Republican Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, Perry said Democrats "are not the loyal opposition. They are the opposition to everything you love and believe in" and "want to destroy the country you grew up in", invoking comparisons to Nazis.[60][61]

In July 2022, Perry was among 47 Republican Representatives who voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify the right to same-sex marriage in federal law.[62]

Foreign policy[edit]

In 2020, Perry voted against the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, which in part would prevent the president from withdrawing soldiers from Afghanistan without congressional approval.[63]

In March 2021, Perry was one of 14 House Republicans to vote against a measure condemning the Myanmar coup d'état that overwhelmingly passed.[64]

In July 2021, Perry voted against the bipartisan ALLIES Act, which would increase by 8,000 the number of special immigrant visas for Afghan allies of the U.S. military during its invasion of Afghanistan while also reducing some application requirements that caused long application backlogs; the bill passed in the House 407–16.[65]

In April 2022, Perry voted against a bill to encourage documentation and preservation of Russian war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine.[66]

Immigration[edit]

Perry voted against the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 which authorized DHS to nearly double the available H-2B visas for the remainder of FY 2020.[67][68]

Perry voted against the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 1158) which effectively prohibits ICE from cooperating with Health and Human Services to detain or remove illegal alien sponsors of unaccompanied alien children (UACs).[69]

LGBT rights[edit]

In July 2022, Perry was among 47 House Republicans to vote for the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and protect the right to gay marriage at a federal level.[70] Perry said, "Agree or disagree with same-sex marriage, my vote affirmed my long-held belief that Americans who enter into legal agreements deserve to live their lives without the threat that our federal government will dissolve what they've built."[71]

Involvement in attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election[edit]

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Perry was "one of the leading figures in the effort to throw out Pennsylvania’s votes in the 2020 presidential election."[72]

After the election, Perry promoted false claims of election fraud.[73][74] Days after the election, in text messages to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Perry suggested John Ratcliffe should direct the National Security Agency to investigate alleged Chinese hacking. Perry also asserted "the Brits" were behind a conspiracy to manipulate voting machines and that CIA director Gina Haspel was covering it up. The next month, he sent Meadows a link to a YouTube video that asserted voting machines had been manipulated via satellite from Italy; Meadows later sent the video to former Acting Attorney General Richard Donoghue, seeking an investigation.[75][76][77] Donoghue told the committee the contentions in the video, originating from QAnon and far-right platforms which had been brought to the White House, were "pure insanity."[78]

Perry was one of 126 Republican House members to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated Trump.[79][80]

Perry reportedly played a key role in a December 2020 crisis at the Justice Department, in which Trump considered firing Rosen and replacing him with Jeffrey Clark, the acting chief of the civil division of the DOJ.[74] According to The Los Angeles Times, Perry "prompted" Trump to consider the replacement.[81] The New York Times reported that Perry introduced Clark to Trump because Clark's "openness to conspiracy theories about election fraud presented Mr. Trump with a welcome change from Rosen, who stood by the results of the election and had repeatedly resisted the president's efforts to undo them."[74] Before the certification of the electoral college vote on January 6, Perry and Clark reportedly discussed a plan in which the Justice Department would send Georgia legislators a letter suggesting the DOJ had evidence of voter fraud and suggesting the legislators invalidate Georgia's electoral votes, even though the DOJ had investigated reports of fraud but found nothing significant, as attorney general Bill Barr had publicly announced weeks earlier.[74][82] Clark drafted a letter to Georgia officials and presented it to Rosen and his deputy Richard Donoghue. It claimed the DOJ had "identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States" and urged the Georgia legislature to convene a special session for the "purpose of considering issues pertaining to the appointment of Presidential Electors." Rosen and Donoghue rejected the proposal.[83] In August 2021, CNN reported that Ratcliffe had briefed top Justice Department officials that no evidence had been found of any foreign powers' interference with voting machines. Clark was reportedly concerned that intelligence community analysts were withholding information and believed Perry and others knew more about possible foreign interference. Clark requested authorization from Rosen and Donoghue for another briefing from Ratcliffe, asserting hackers had found that "a Dominion machine accessed the Internet through a smart thermostat with a net connection trail leading back to China."[84]

On January 6, 2021, Perry joined Missouri senator Josh Hawley in objecting to counting Pennsylvania's electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election.[85] During the storming of the U.S. Capitol that day, Perry and his congressional colleagues were ushered to a secure location.[86]

On December 20, 2021, House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack chairman Bennie Thompson wrote to Perry asking him to provide information about his involvement in the effort to install Clark as acting attorney general. Thompson believed Perry had been involved in the effort to install Clark, given previous testimony from Rosen and Donoghue, as well as communications between Perry and Meadows.[87][88][89] Perry declined the request the next day, asserting the committee was illegitimate.[90] Among several text messages to Meadows the committee released on December 14 was one attributed to a "member of Congress" dated January 5 that read "Please check your signal", a reference to the encrypted messaging system Signal. In his letter to Perry, Thompson mentioned evidence that Perry had communicated with Meadows using Signal, though Perry denied sending that particular text message.[91][92][88] CNN acquired and published additional Meadows text messages in April 2022 that confirmed Perry had sent that message.[75]

On June 9, 2022, Select Committee member Liz Cheney said that Perry requested a presidential pardon from Trump in the weeks after the January 6 attack.[93][94] On June 10, Perry denied Cheney's assertion, calling it "an absolute, shameless, and soulless lie".[95] On June 23, 2022, the Select Committee broadcast testimony from witnesses who said Perry and others had requested pardons. That included testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Meadows, that Perry was one of several lawmakers who contacted her to "inquire about preemptive pardons."[96] In response, Perry said he had never spoken with any White House staff about a pardon for him or any other members of Congress: "this never happened."[97][77]

On August 9, 2022, Perry reported that three FBI agents had seized his cellphone after presenting him with a warrant. He called the seizure an "unnecessary and aggressive action".[98]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 92nd district

2007–2012
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district

2013–2019
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district

2019–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the Freedom Caucus
2022–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
178th
Succeeded by