Bill Nelson

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U.S. Senator

Bill Nelson




Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senate Committee on Finance, Senate Committee on the Budget, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senate Special Committee on Aging
(subcommittees and past assignments)

Candidates for the FL-Senate Class I Seat:
(Next election: 6 November 2012)

Confirmed: None so far
Considering: None so far
Rumored: None so far
Potential: None so far
Dropped-out: None so far
(more info and editing for the FL-Senate Class I Seat)
On the Web
Official website

Clarence William "Bill" Nelson, a Democrat, has represented Florida in the U.S. Senate since 2000.

Bill Nelson posts daily schedule information online.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

Click through the score to see the records of other members of Congress and full descriptions of the individual votes.

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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 not avail. not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action not avail. not avail.
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 not avail. not avail.

Iraq War

Nelson voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

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

Environmental record

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

Bill Nelson posts his schedule online

Starting in the 110th Congress, Nelson began posting his schedule online here. Congresspedia archives this schedule here.

Election reform

On February 13, 2007, Sen. Nelson introduced the Vote Integrity and Verification Act of 2007 (S.559), that would amend the Help America Vote Act to require a paper trail. Specifically, it would:

  • Require the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to study, test, and develop best practices to enhance the accessibility of ballot verification mechanisms for individuals with disabilities, voters whose primary language is not English, and voters with difficulties in literacy.
  • Require laboratories to meet standards prohibiting conflicts of interest as a condition of accreditation for the testing of voting system hardware and software.
  • Outline additional voting system requirements and prohibitions.
  • Extend the authorization of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
  • Provide for complaints to the Attorney General by persons affected by violations of HAVA.
  • Make available additional funding to enable states to meet the costs of the requirements imposed by the Act.
  • Direct the chief auditor of each state to appoint an Election Audit Board to administer, without advance notice to the precincts selected, random hand counts of the voter-verified paper ballots required to be produced and preserved for each such election held in the state.
  • Repeal the exemption of the EAC from certain government contracting requirements.
Main article: Help America Vote Act


Nelson was born September 29, 1942 in Miami, Florida. He attended the University of Florida and Yale University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1965, and later served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1965 to 1971. During this time, Nelson studied at the University of Virginia, where he received his Juris Doctor degree in 1968.

Nelson worked as a fire marshal and later as a lawyer before beginning his political career in the Florida House of Representatives. Nelson served in the state house from 1972 to 1979, when he left the state house following his election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Nelson served in the U.S. House from 1979 to 1991. In 1986, he became the second sitting member of congress (first from the House) to travel into space; Nelson flew aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia on the STS-61-C mission with six other astronauts from January 12-18, where he was the payload specialist.

Nelson ran an unsuccessful campaign to the Democratic nominee for Governor of Florida in 1990. He lost to former U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles, who went on to win the general election. During the campaign, he tried to make an issue out of Chiles' health and age, a strategy that backfired on him in a state with a large population of retirees and senior citizens. From 1995 to 2000, Nelson was the Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner of Florida.

In 2000, Nelson won the election for Florida senator, beating then-Representative Bill McCollum, the Republican candidate in an open seat election to replace retiring Republican incumbent Connie Mack.

Nelson has been a vocal opponent of oil drilling off Florida's coast. He has fought for benefits and health care for veterans and their spouses, and he has fought for a Medicare prescription drug benefit that allows the government to negotiate for lower drug prices from pharmaceutical companies. He is generally regarded as a moderate, and was among the few Democrats to vote in favor of CAFTA. He has also voted in favor of bankruptcy reform and abolishing the estate tax.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Republicans nominated Katherine Harris to face Nelson in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [1] Nelson retained his seat.

Riscorp scandal: illegal campaign contributions

In July 2006, during his campaign for the U.S. Senate, incumbent Sen. Nelson was accused of taking $80,000 in illegal campaign contributions from Riscorp, Inc. According the Orlando Sentinel, Nelson did receive $62,000 from the company during the mid-1990s. Unlike his senatorial opponent (Rep. Katherine Harris), Sen. Nelson has never repaid the funds he received and used in his campaign.

Mr. Bill Griffin, CEO of Riscorp, pleaded guilty to felony counts involving illegal campaign donations and conspiracy and served prison time. The Riscorp scandal involved dozens of Florida state legislators and was among the largest scandals in recent Florida history.

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)
Morgan & Morgan$ 139,650
Harris Corp$ 54,450
Greenberg Traurig LLP$ 52,589
Akerman LLP$ 52,050
Finmeccanica SpA$ 50,667
Kindred Healthcare$ 48,400
Leon Medical Centers$ 43,500
Holland & Knight$ 42,000
Brown & Brown Insurance$ 41,500
Lockheed Martin$ 38,250
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 Bill Nelson
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

  • Democratic Policy Committee
  • Vice Chair, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • Senate Centrist Coalition
  • Senate New Democrat Coalition.

More Background Data

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


DC office
  • 716 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
    Ph: 202-224-5274 Fax: 202-228-2183
    Webform email
District offices
  • 2925 Salzedo Street, Coral Gables, FL 33134
    Ph: 305-536-5999 Fax: (none entered)
  • 3416 South University Drive, Davie, FL 33328
    Ph: 954-693-4851 Fax: (none entered)
  • Justice Center Annex Building, 2000 Main Street, Suite 801, Fort Myers, FL 33901
    Ph: (none entered) Fax: (none entered)
  • 1301 Riverplace Blvd, Suite 2218, Jacksonville, FL 32207
    Ph: 904-346-4500 Fax: (none entered)
  • 225 East Robinson Street, Suite 410, Orlando, FL 32801
    Ph: 407-872-7161, 888-671-4091 Fax: (none entered)
  • 111 North Adams Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301
    Ph: 850-942-8415 Fax: (none entered)
  • Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse, 801 North Florida Avenue, 4th Floor, Tampa, FL 33602
    Ph: 813-225-7040 Fax: (none entered)
  • 500 Australian Avenue, Suite 125, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
    Ph: 561-514-0189 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.

Articles and resources

Local blogs and discussion sites

Semantic data (Edit data)