Silvestre Reyes

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Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat, represented the Sixteenth Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union 4 - 1/25 not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action 95 - 19/20 70 - 14/20
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 63 - 12/20 not avail.

Iraq War

Reyes voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Contradicting opinions on the ability to add troops to Iraq

In an exclusive interview with Newsweek on December 5, 2006. Rep Silvestre Reyes said, "We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq... I would say 20,000 to 30,000." [1]

After the President's January 10, 2007 announced plan for a troop surge however, the Rep. Reyes told the El Paso Times that a 21,500 troop increase was unthinkable. "We don't have the capability to escalate even to this minimum level". [2]

Main article: Congressional actions regarding President Bush’s 2007 proposed troop “surge” in Iraq

Confusion on terrorist groups in 2006 CQ interview

In a December 2006 interview with CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein — after Reyes had been named the next chair of the House Intelligence Committee by incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — Reyes was unable to answer two fundamental questions about the Middle East correctly:

  • Reyes incorrectly identified al Qaeda as having a mix of Shiites and Sunnis, but predominantly Shiite. As Stein noted:
"He couldn’t have been more wrong... the extremist Sunnis who make up al Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics. Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil."
  • Reyes was unable to identify Hezbollah as Shiite or Sunni (it is a Shiite group).

To Reyes' credit, Stein wrote:

"He knows that the 1,400-year-old split in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites not only fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq, it drives the competition for supremacy across the Middle East between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. That’s more than two key Republicans on the Intelligence Committee knew when I interviewed them last summer. Reps. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.) and Terry Everett (R-Ala.) both back for another term, were flummoxed by such basic questions, as were several top counterterrorism officials at the FBI." [3]

Alleged nepotism and defense contracts

As reported in the April 25, 2005 edition of the El Paso Times, "All three children of U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, worked in some capacity for defense contractors that were criticized by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. General Services Administration for installing faulty or incomplete equipment for a border security technology system. International Microwave Corp. and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. — through their political action committees and others — also gave Reyes about $17,000 in campaign contributions during the past five years." [4]"

Reyes responded, "I had no role in whatever way of anyone getting these contracts. These contracts, whether they're bid or no-bid or whatever, that's done by the different (government) agencies," Reyes said. "My job, as I see it, since I used systems like this and since I know how important they are to Border Patrol agents in those situations, is to make sure we're out there funding them so that we can get these systems installed throughout the border."[5]"

PAC Money

In the spring of 2007 $50,000 was raised for Reyes by his brother through a new political action committee, BEST PAC. Almost all of the money raised was by the staff and clients of the PMA Group lobbying firm. Within weeks the same donors gained millions of dollars in earmarks from Reyes and members of Congress closely associated with PMA.[2]

BEST PAC was established by Jesus “Chuy” Reyes, Reyes’ brother and campaign manager, on March 1, 2007. By the first week of June 2007, the PAC had raised $35,000 from 32 people, nearly all of whom were employees of the PMA Group or an employee of a defense or intelligence technology firm represented by PMA. Most of the donations were made before the House Intelligence Committee approved the 2008 intelligence authorization bill, which included earmarks for the PAC donors. Most of the non-PMA related persons and firms that donated to BEST PAC were affiliated with the lobbying firm Potomac Advocates, known as PRASAM, which specialized in defense and intelligence matters. Many of the BEST PAC donors were also long-time supporters of Reps. John Murtha (D-Pa.),Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), and Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.). In July 2007 those three members and Reyes provided twelve earmarks for a total of $30 million in the defense appropriations bill for donors to BEST PAC.

BEST PAC made four donations by October 1, 2007. $21,430 was given to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, two $2,300 contributions to the New Hampshire Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Katrina Swett, and a third contribution of $5,000 to Swett was reported to the FEC by BEST PAC's treasurer as returned by Swett because it exceeded the PAC's contribution limits. Swett, the daughter of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and wife of ex-Rep. Dick Swett (D.-N.H.), ended her campaign in late September, 2007. Jesus Reyes said that he did not know who PMA is and that the fundraising for the PAC was set up through his daughter who is Reyes’ fundraiser and the wife of the PAC’s treasurer, Guillermo Cintron.[3]

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Reparations for Japanese Latin Americans

Reyes cosponsored The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act in the 110th Congress which would establish a commission that would determine the facts and circumstances involving the relocation, internment and deportation of Japanese Latin Americans.[4]

Main article: Redress for Japanese Latin Americans/ U.S. legislation#Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act of 2007


Reyes was born November 10, 1944 in Canutillo, Texas. He served in the United States Army and worked for the U.S. Border Patrol as the Chief Patrol Agent of the El Paso Border Patrol Sector. Reyes was elected to the U.S. House in 1996.

Congressional career

2006 elections

No major candidates announced their intentions to contest Reyes’ seat in the November 2006 election. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [6] Reyes retained his seat.

2008 elections

2008 superdelegate
This information was gathered by volunteer researchers as part of the Superdelegate Transparency Project on the superdelegates for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. For more info see the Texas superdelegate tracker or visit the STP homepage.

Before Hillary Clinton conceded the race, Silvestre Reyes, as a superdelegate, had endorsed her for President.

  • Clinton Campaign Press Release
  • Reyes' district went for Obama by 42,562 to 37,842 in the Texas primary.
  • Money in politics

    This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

    Top Contributors to during the 2008 Election Cycle
    DonorAmount (US Dollars)
    General Dynamics$ 22,500
    United Technologies$ 16,500
    AmeriPAC: The Fund for a Greater America$ 15,000
    Lockheed Martin$ 15,000
    SAIC Inc$ 15,000
    Honeywell International$ 14,000
    L&F Distributors$ 12,700
    Colsa Corp$ 12,500
    Sunlight Electric$ 11,500
    Raytheon Co$ 11,000
    Source: The Center for Responsive Politics' site.
    Note: Contributions are not from the organizations themselves, but are rather from
    the organization's PAC, employees or owners. Totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
    Links to more campaign contribution information for Silvestre Reyes
    from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
    Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
    Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
    Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

    Committees and Affiliations


    Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

    Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

    Coalitions and Caucuses

    • Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, 107th Congress
    • Democratic Task Force on Drugs
    • Executive Committee, Democratic Study Group
    • Founding Member, Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus
    • National Guard & Reserve Components Congressional Members Organization
    • New Democratic Coalition
    • Vice Chair, Democratic Homeland Security Task Force

    Boards and other Affiliations

    • 21st Century Democrats
    • El Paso County Democrats
    • Unite El Paso

    More Background Data

    Wikipedia also has an article on Silvestre Reyes. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


    DC office
    • No congressional address entered.
      Ph: (none entered) Fax: (none entered)
      (no webform email entered)
    District offices
    • 310 North Mesa Street, Suite 400, El Paso, TX 79901
      Ph: 915-534-4400 Fax: (none entered)
    • 310 North Mesa Street, Suite 400, El Paso, TX 79901
      Ph: 915-534-4400 Fax: (none entered)
    On the Web
    • No official website entered
    • This member of Congress does not have a YouTube channel.
    Campaign office
    • No campaign website entered.
    • No campaign webform email entered.
    • No campaign office information entered.

    Articles and resources

    See also


    1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
    2. Paul Singer, "Reyes PAC Gets MPA Cash," Roll Call, October 1, 2007.
    3. Paul Singer, "Reyes PAC Gets PMA Cash," Roll Call, October 1, 2007.



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