Spencer Abraham

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Spencer Abraham
Spencer Abraham.jpg
Official portrait, 2001
10th United States Secretary of Energy
In office
January 20, 2001 – January 31, 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byBill Richardson
Succeeded bySamuel Bodman
United States Senator
from Michigan
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Preceded byDonald Riegle
Succeeded byDebbie Stabenow
Chair of the Michigan Republican Party
In office
Preceded byMelvin L. Larsen
Succeeded byDavid J. Doyle
Personal details
Edward Spencer Abraham

(1952-06-12) June 12, 1952 (age 70)
East Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseJane Abraham
EducationMichigan State University (BA)
Harvard University (JD)
AwardsLebanese National Order of the Cedar (Commander Class)

Edward Spencer Abraham (born June 12, 1952) is an American attorney, author, and politician who served as the 10th United States Secretary of Energy from 2001 to 2005, under President George W. Bush. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a United States Senator from Michigan from 1995 to 2001. Abraham is one of the founders of the Federalist Society, and a co-founder of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. As of 2023, he remains the last Republican to serve as a U.S. senator from Michigan.

Education and family[edit]

Abraham was born in East Lansing, Michigan, the son of Juliette Elizabeth (Sear), a member of the Michigan Republican State Central Committee, and Eddie Joseph Abraham.[1] He is a graduate of East Lansing High School. Of Lebanese descent, Abraham is married to Jane Abraham, chair of the Susan B. Anthony List. They have three children. He holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard University, and is a 1974 Honors College graduate of Michigan State University. In 1978, while at Harvard Law School, Abraham helped found the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.[2] It became one of the official journals of the Federalist Society, which was founded in 1982.

Political career[edit]

Before his election to the Senate, Abraham was a law professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Republican Party service[edit]

He was elected chairman of the Michigan Republican Party from 1983 to 1990. He was deputy chief of staff for Vice President Dan Quayle from 1990 to 1991. He later served as co-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 1991 to 1993 and ran for chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1993, coming second to Haley Barbour.

United States Senate[edit]

Abraham was elected to represent Michigan in the United States Senate in 1994, and he served until 2001 after being defeated for reelection in 2000 by Debbie Stabenow. He was the only Lebanese American in the chamber. According to the New York Times, state Republicans attributed his loss to "scathing advertisements by a wide range of special interest groups, including advertisements that criticized Mr. Abraham's support for a relaxation of some immigration restrictions".[3] During the campaign, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-immigration advocacy group with ties to white nationalism,[4] ran ads asking: "Why is Senator Spencer Abraham trying to make it easier for terrorists like Osama bin Laden to export their war of terror to any city street in America?"[5][6][7] The media denounced these commercials as "vengeful".[8] In 1996, when President Bill Clinton endorsed Representative Barbara Jordan's proposed cuts to legal immigration, Abraham played a leading role in blocking the cuts.[9] Another factor in his defeat was his vote to convict Clinton in his 1999 impeachment trial.[10] The next year he received the "Defender of the Melting Pot" award from the National Council of La Raza for his efforts on immigration.[11]

Committee service and legislation[edit]

Abraham served on the Budget, Commerce, Science and Transportation, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees. He also chaired two subcommittees: Manufacturing and Competitiveness, and Immigration. Abraham authored the H1B Visa in Global and National Commerce Act, establishing a federal framework for online contracts and signatures; the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which protects Internet domain names for businesses and persons against copyright and trademark infringements. In 1999, Abraham co-sponsored S.896, a bill to abolish the U.S. Department of Energy, which would have transferred control of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in large part to the Defense Department.[12]

U.S. Energy Secretary[edit]

Abraham working as the Secretary of Energy near Yucca Mountain

In 2001 George W. Bush appointed Abraham Secretary of Energy. On November 15, 2004, Abraham announced that he would resign from this position, effective with the swearing-in of his successor, Samuel W. Bodman, on February 1, 2005.

In 2004, Lebanese Ambassador Farid Abboud awarded Abraham the National Order of the Cedar.[13]

Hoover Institution[edit]

From 2005 to 2007, Abraham was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a think tank based at Stanford University. After leaving office, he opened The Abraham Group,[14] a Washington DC-based international strategic consulting firm, of which he is chairman and CEO.[15][16]

Fred Thompson presidential campaign[edit]

On July 24, 2007, Abraham was announced as an "ambassador to official Washington" for Fred Thompson's 2008 presidential campaign.[17]

Later career[edit]

In 2006 Abraham was appointed Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of AREVA Inc., the American arm of the French nuclear company Areva, which is planning to build EPR nuclear power plants in the United States and is building the mixed oxide fuel (MOX) manufacturing plant at the Savannah River Site to convert legacy weapons-grade plutonium into power station fuel.[18][15]

With William Tucker, Abraham wrote Lights Out!: Ten Myths About (and Real Solutions to) America's Energy Crisis (2010).

In 2016, Abraham was elected to the board of trustees of the California Institute of Technology.[19]

Electoral history[edit]

Michigan U.S. Senate Election 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Debbie Stabenow 2,061,952 49.5
Republican Spencer Abraham (Incumbent) 1,994,693 47.9
Michigan U.S. Senate Election 1994
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Spencer Abraham 1,577,865 52
Democratic Bob Carr 1,298,726 43
Libertarian Jon Coon 127,783 4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Political Graveyard: Eastern Orthodox Politicians". politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved Aug 30, 2021.
  2. ^ "Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy". Archived from the original on 2005-12-20. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
  3. ^ "THE 2000 ELECTIONS: MICHIGAN; Congresswoman Unseats a Senator". The New York Times. November 9, 2000. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  4. ^ "Federation for American Immigration Reform". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  5. ^ "Mainstream Left is Silent About Nativist Right by Paul A. Gigot". Archived from the original on 2006-06-17. Retrieved 2006-08-12.
  6. ^ "AEI - Short Publications". Archived from the original on 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2006-08-12.
  7. ^ "FAIR: Federation for American Immigration Reform". Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2016-05-07.
  8. ^ "Article". Archived from the original on 2008-11-18.
  9. ^ Pear, Robert (June 8, 1995). "Clinton Embraces a Proposal To Cut Immigration by a Third". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Special Report: Clinton Accused". Washingtonpost.com. 1999-01-29. Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  11. ^ Krikorian, Mark (August 19, 2005). "Liberal Two-Step Dems pay lip service only on border control". National Review.
  12. ^ "Bill Summary & Status - 106th Congress (1999 - 2000) - S.896 - All Information - THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Archived from the original on 2016-07-04. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
  13. ^ "Farid Abboud awards Spencer Abraham "The National Order of the Cedar"". Archived from the original on 2007-07-28. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  14. ^ "The Abraham Group LLC". Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Officers – Strong U.S. Leadership". Areva. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
  16. ^ "Spencer ABRAHAM nommé Président du conseil d'administration d'AREVA Inc" (in French). Framatome ANP. March 1, 2006.
  17. ^ The Politico, F. Thompson shakes up pre-launch campaign, by Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen, July 24, 2007.
  18. ^ Jo Becker and William J. Broad (April 10, 2011). "New Doubts About Turning Plutonium Into a Fuel". New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
  19. ^ "Caltech Elects Three New Members to Board of Trustees". California Institute of Technology. Retrieved October 27, 2017.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the Michigan Republican Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Michigan
(Class 1)

1994, 2000
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Michigan
Served alongside: Carl Levin
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by United States Secretary of Energy
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Cabinet Member Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Cabinet Member
Succeeded byas Former US Cabinet Member