Sean Duffy

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Sean Duffy
Sean Duffy official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Dave Obey
District Attorney of Ashland County
In office
August 1, 2002 – July 9, 2010
Governor Scott McCallum
Jim Doyle
Preceded by Michael Gableman
Succeeded by Kelly McKnight
Personal details
Born Sean Patrick Duffy
(1971-10-03) October 3, 1971 (age 46)
Hayward, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Rachel Campos (m. 1999)
Children 8
Education St. Mary's University, Minnesota (BA)
William Mitchell College of Law (JD)

Sean Patrick Duffy (born October 3, 1971) is an American politician, prosecutor, former sports commentator and reality television personality. He first entered public life as a cast member on The Real World: Boston, 1998's Road Rules: All Stars, and 2002's Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, before going on to serve as district attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 7th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party and supported Donald Trump's 2016 presidential bid.[1]

Early life[edit]

Duffy was born on October 3, 1971, in Hayward, Wisconsin,[2][3][4] the tenth of 11 children of Carol Ann (née Yackel) and Thomas Walter Duffy. He is of Irish, English, German, and Norwegian descent.[5] Duffy has a marketing degree from St. Mary's University, and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law.[6]

Duffy started log rolling at age five and speed climbing (sprinting up 60 and 90 foot poles) at 13. He holds two speed-climbing titles.[7]

Television career[edit]

Duffy has been an ESPN color commentator for televised competitions and in 2003 appeared as both a competitor and commentator on ESPN's Great Outdoor Games. He was named Badger State Games Honorary Athlete of the 2004 Winter Games.[6]

In 1997, Duffy appeared on The Real World: Boston, the sixth season of the MTV reality television show, and on Road Rules: All Stars in 1998, where he met his future wife Rachel. Duffy later appeared on Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, which aired in 2002. Both appeared in a filmed segment on 2008's The Real World Awards Bash, while Duffy served as district attorney.[8]

Political career[edit]


Duffy, a Republican,[9] was appointed to the district attorney's post in 2002[10] by then Governor Scott McCallum, and was elected unopposed in 2002,[10] 2004,[11] 2006[12] and 2008. Upon assuming the office of district attorney, he succeeded Michael Gableman, a current justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Duffy was on the Republican slate of the 10 Wisconsin electors for the 2008 presidential election.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Duffy's freshman portrait



On July 8, 2009, Duffy announced his campaign for Congress in Wisconsin's seventh congressional district. Duffy was considered an underdog in the race until May 2010 when 15-term incumbent Democratic Representative Dave Obey announced that he would not seek re-election.[14] Following Obey's announcement, Democratic State Senator Julie Lassa joined the race.

On June 4, 2010, Duffy announced his resignation from the position of District Attorney of Ashland County to focus on the congressional race. The resignation was effective three weeks later and Duffy returned to work in his father's law practice.[15]

He won the race on November 2, 2010, in a nationwide wave of Republicans being elected to Congress.[16] Different sources attribute his victory to his ten-month head start on Lassa's campaign, his grassroots organization and fundraising, his experience as a district attorney, and voter discontent with the economy.[17]


Duffy was challenged by Democratic nominee Pat Kreitlow.


Duffy was challenged by Democratic nominee Kelly Westlund.


In 2011 Duffy voted to eliminate Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements for federal projects.[18][19][20] The first piece of legislation he sponsored was the 2011 Recovering Excessive Stimulus Expenditures for Taxpayers (RESET) Act, which called for using unspent money in Obama's economic stimulus plan to pay down the federal budget deficit. The idea was later incorporated into a spending bill.[citation needed] He also introduced a resolution to ban earmarks.[citation needed]

In March 2011, Duffy was criticized when a video published by the Polk County Republicans, showing a public town hall-style meeting in his district, was picked up by media commentators. In the video, made in the wake of the passage of a controversial state bill which would have effectively frozen the salaries of state employees, Duffy was asked about whether he would be willing to cut his own $174,000 salary. Duffy responded that he would only be willing to do so as part of a general round of salary cuts for government employees, and insisted that he was "struggling" to get by, despite his salary being nearly three times the average for Wisconsin residents.[21][22][23][24]

On December 22, 2011, Duffy and fellow GOP House freshman Rick Crawford (Arkansas), published an open letter to Speaker Boehner, urging the leader to allow the House to vote on the Senate's two-month tax cut extension compromise.[25]

In 2013, Duffy and Democratic House member Michael Michaud (Maine) introduced a resolution calling for government action to ensure that people be provided with paper-based information along with electronic.[26]

In October 2015, Duffy was named to serve on the Select Investigative Panel on Planned Parenthood.[27]

Duffy supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that “President Trump is fulfilling a campaign promise to re-evaluate our visa vetting process so that the American people are safe from terrorism.”[28] Duffy insists that White Terrorist attacks are different. The Congressman also pointed to "the good things" that came from the shooting of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.[29]

In January 2017, Duffy co-sponsored legislation that would end protection for grey wolves in the Endangered Species Act.[30]

Legislation sponsored[edit]

Duffy introduced the Small Cap Liquidity Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 3448; 113th Congress) on November 12, 2013.[31] The bill is intended to increase the liquidity on the stock market of stocks belonging to emerging growth companies.[32] It would allow small companies to choose a tick size of $0.05 or $0.10 instead of the standard $0.01.[32][33] To participate, companies would need to have stock prices of over $1.00 and revenues of less than $750 million.[34]

On September 26, 2013, Duffy introduced the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2013 (H.R. 3193; 113th Congress), originally named the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Accountability Act of 2013,[35] also known as the Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act.[36] It proposed replacing the director of the consumer watchdog group, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), with a five-person commission and removing the CFPB from Federal Reserve System oversight so that it "would go through the same funding process as other federal agencies."[35][37][38] The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would have been renamed the Financial Product Safety Commission. The bill also intended to make overturning the decisions about regulations that the new commission made easier to do.[37] The bill gave the commission more room to get rid of polices that Duffy believes jeopardize the safety of the US banking system.[39] He was a cosponsor of the Financial Product Safety Commission Act of 2015 and has introduced a number of bills intended to weaken the CFPB.[40][41]

In December 2015, Duffy introduced the Puerto Rico Financial Stability and Debt Restructuring Choice Act (H.R. 4199) (developed into the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) (H.R. 4900) in 2016), which addressed the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis.[42] The bill would create a short-term independent board to oversee Puerto Rico's financial planning and annual budgets, with the aim of restoring financial stability to Puerto Rico and avoiding American taxpayer liability.[43] It is similar to bills written in July and October 2015 by Pedro Pierluisi, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, in that the Duffy bill also proposes a financial oversight board and access to Chapter 9 restructuring.[44][45] The October 2015 Pierluisi bill was neglected in the U.S. Congress until the governor of Puerto Rico visited Washington on December 9, 2015 to draw attention to the crisis and the bill.[46] "By the afternoon, Republicans in Congress had introduced two bills to help alleviate Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems", one of which was the Duffy bill.[47] In April 2016 the bill stalled in the House for rewriting.[48]

Committee assignments[edit]

Duffy serves on the House Committee on Financial Services. He was appointed Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in November 2014, taking over from Patrick McHenry.[49] He is also a member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises. He has served on the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.[50]

Duffy is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership.[51]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2014 race for U.S. House of Representatives – 7th District
    • Sean Duffy (R), 60%
    • Kelly Westlund (D), 39%
  • 2012 race for U.S. House of Representatives – 7th District
    • Sean Duffy (R), 56%
    • Pat Kreitlow (D), 44%
  • 2010 race for U.S. House of Representatives – 7th District
    • Sean Duffy (R), 52%
    • Julie Lassa (D), 44%
  • 2008 race for District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin
    • Sean Duffy (R) (inc.)
    • unopposed
  • 2006 race for District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin
    • Sean Duffy (R) (inc.)
    • unopposed
  • 2004 race for District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin
    • Sean Duffy (R) (inc.)
    • unopposed
  • 2002 race for District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin
    • Sean Duffy (R) (inc.)
    • unopposed

Personal life[edit]

Duffy is married to Rachel Campos-Duffy, an alumna of The Real World: San Francisco.[52][53][54] They once lived in Ashland, Wisconsin.[55][56] They moved to Weston, Wisconsin in late 2011,[57] and in 2013 they moved to Wausau, Wisconsin.[58]

They have eight children: Evita Pilar, Xavier Jack, Lucia-Belen, John-Paul, Paloma Pilar, MariaVictoria Margarita, Margarita Pilar, and Patrick Miguel.[59][60]

Duffy is a practicing Roman Catholic.[61]


  1. ^ Lim, Naomi (August 24, 2016). "Trump ally: I'm not peddling 'conspiracy theories' about Clinton's health". CNN. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Rep. Sean Patrick Duffy". LegiStorm. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  3. ^ "Wisconsin: Sean Patrick Duffy". The Washington Times. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  4. ^ "Sean Duffy's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Accessed November 3, 2010
  5. ^ "Sean Duffy ancestry". Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Hayward Lumberjack Champion Sean Duffy Named Honorary Athlete | Sports in Wisconsin". 2007-07-17. Archived from the original on 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  7. ^ "Lumberjack World Championships, Hayward". Classic Wisconsin. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  8. ^ "The Real World Awards Bash (Extended Version)". MTV. accessed April 5, 2011.
  9. ^ "Real World: Washington – The Scorecard". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  10. ^ a b "Bloomer passes referendum on first try". 2003-02-19. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  11. ^ "Wisconsin State Elections Board Results of Fall General Election – 11/02/2004", December 1, 2004, accessed January 2, 2011.
  12. ^ "Wisconsin State Elections Board Results of Fall General Election – 11/07/2006", December 5, 2006, accessed January 2, 2011.
  13. ^ Marrero, Diana (2008-10-30). "Wisconsin slate of potential electors cut from all cloths". JSOnline. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  14. ^ "Sean Duffy running for congress". WAOW. 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  15. ^ WLUK-TV, "Sean Duffy resigns as Ashland Co. DA", June 4, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  16. ^ "Wisconsin's Duffy says he's ready to get to work". Chicago Tribune/Associated Press. November 3, 2010.
  17. ^ "Strong campaign, voter discontent keys to Duffy victory". News Talk 550AM 99.9AM WSAU (AM). November 4, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  18. ^ "Republican Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin". That's My Congress. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  19. ^ "Sean Duffy on Jobs". On The Issues. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  20. ^ Bivins, Larry (December 24, 2011). "Duffy ends 2011 with bill he promised at start". The Marshfield News-Herald.
  21. ^ Stewart, Rebecca. "'Real World' congressman's money troubles", CNN, March 30, 2011
  22. ^ Gilbert, Craig. "House freshman Duffy tells constituents "he's not living high on the hog" on congressional pay", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 29, 2011
  23. ^ Downie, James. "How to Prolong a Scandal, Wisconsin Edition", The New Republic, March 31, 2011
  24. ^ Bivins, Larry. "Dems mock Sean Duffy's $174,000 salary 'struggles'", Wausau Daily Herald, March 31, 2011
  25. ^ "Payroll tax cut: Two GOP frosh bail, push for two-month bill". Politico. December 22, 2001.
  26. ^ Rein, Lisa (February 16, 2013). "Group tries to slow federal government’s move away from paper to the Web". Washington Post.
  27. ^ Paul Kane (October 23, 2015). "Boehner's next select committee, focusing on Planned Parenthood, to be led by Marsha Blackburn". Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2015. 
  28. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Republican-controlled government sees chance to weaken Endangered Species Act". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  31. ^ "H.R. 3448 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  32. ^ a b Cooley, Tracy (4 December 2013). "Emerging Company Policy Deconstructed: Small Cap Liquidity Reform Act (H.R. 3448)". Bio Tech Now. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  33. ^ "H.R. 3448 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  34. ^ Lebrecht, Brian (21 November 2013). "Want More Liquidity? Choose to Increase the Spread". ClydeSnow Securities Blog. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  35. ^ a b "H.R. 3192 (113th): Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Accountability Act of 2013". September 26, 2013. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  36. ^ "H.R. 3193 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  37. ^ a b Kasperowicz, Pete (7 February 2014). "House to take another swing at Dodd-Frank reform". The Hill. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  38. ^ "House Members Introduce Bills Targeting CFPB Practices and Oversight". Bank-Insurance American Bankers Association. September 30, 2013. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  39. ^ "Congress to hear impact of regulations in Wausau". WSAU News/Takl 550AM 99.9FM. October 31, 2011
  40. ^ "Duffy Reintroduces CFPB Reform Package". March 5, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  41. ^ "SPECIAL REPORT: Republican Attacks on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau" (PDF). Democratic Policy & Communications Center. July 22, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  42. ^ "Duffy Bill Addresses Puerto Rico Debt Crisis; Shields Americans from a Taxpayer Bailout". December 9, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  43. ^ "H.R. 4900" (PDF). April 12, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  44. ^ "Pierluisi Introduces Legislation Authorizing U.S. Treasury Department to Guarantee Future Puerto Rico Bonds". October 8, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  45. ^ "U.S. Senators Introduce Identical Companion Bill to H.R. 870, the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act". July 15, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  46. ^ Planas, Roque (December 9, 2015). "Puerto Rican Officials Say Congress' Inaction Will Lead To 'Humanitarian Crisis' On The Island". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  47. ^ Planas, Roque (December 10, 2015). "Puerto Rico's Member Of Congress Is So Frustrated, He'd Prefer Independence". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  48. ^ House, Billy; Kaske, Michelle (April 13, 2016). "Puerto Rico Bill Stalls in House Amid Objections by Both Parties". Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  49. ^ Hertel, Nora (November 20, 2014). "Duffy tapped for leadership position in House". Wausau Daily Herald. Retrieved April 28, 2016. 
  50. ^ Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, archived from the original on March 3, 2011, retrieved April 28, 2016 
  51. ^ "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Retrieved 2 October 2017. 
  52. ^ "Sean Duffy for Congress". Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  53. ^ Sean Duffy (April 5, 2010). "Welcome MariaVictoria Duffy!". Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  54. ^ Campos-Duffy, Rachel. "I'm Expecting My 5th: What To Make Of The Trend In Bigger Families", Parent Dish, December 19, 2007
  55. ^ "Reality Couples: Rachel Campos". Latina. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  56. ^ "Cast and Crew". The Wedding Video. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  57. ^ Olivo, Rick (October 19, 2011). "Mr. Duffy moves to Weston".
  58. ^ Pabst, Georgia (May 11, 2003). "Rachel Campos-Duffy balances motherhood with activism". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  59. ^ "Rachel Campos-Duffy Welcomes Daughter MariaVictoria Margarita", People magazine; April 16, 2010 "Sean and Rachel Campos-Duffy welcome fifth child, daughter Paloma Pilar". People. May 20, 2008
  60. ^
  61. ^ Sean Duffy at Who Runs Gov, The Washington Post, Accessed November 16, 2010. Archived November 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dave Obey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 7th congressional district

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Scott DesJarlais
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jeff Duncan