Byron Dorgan

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This is a profile of a former U.S. senator. (See all the North Dakota portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
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Byron Leslie Dorgan, was a Democrat, has represented the state of North Dakota in the Senate from 1992 to 2011.


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 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

Dorgan 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.

Amendment to the FY2004 Defense Appropriations bill

In 2003, during the debate over the FY2004 Defense Appropriations bill, Dorgan introduced an amendment (S.AMDT.1264) requiring President Bush to submit to Congress a cost estimate of military operations in Iraq. As he did with similar Democratic amendments to the bill, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) effectively motioned to table (kill) the amendment.

Main article: Congressional actions on the Iraq War following the 2003 U.S. invasion

Environmental record

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

Abramoff-Reed Indian Gambling Scandal

Dorgan was named June 3, 2005, by the Washington Post's Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Derek Willis as one of "the 18 largest recipients" of Indian tribe contributions "directed by" Jack Abramoff's group. Dorgan is the top Democrat on the committee investigating Abramoff, leading to questions about a possible conflict of interest.

In a statement released on November 28, 2005, Dorgan asserted that he has never personally met Jack Abramoff, nor has he ever received money from Abramoff. Dorgan did acknowledge receiving money from Abramoff's clients, but the donations began prior to their involvement with Abramoff. Dorgan's statement went on to say that he has supported the programs that benefited Abramoff's clients years prior to the contribution.

Dorgan's statement pointed out other errors in the news reports, such as correcting who made a call to the Department of the Interior and for what purpose. The news reports claimed that one of Dorgan's staff members made the call in order to express support for the program that benefited Abramoff's clients, whereas in reality it was a staff member for the Chairman of the Interior Subcommittee who made the call, and the call was made in opposition to the program.

In December 2005, The Washington Post reported, that although Dorgan "has asked some of the toughest questions in the committee hearings probing the $82 million Abramoff and Michael Scanlon charged their tribal clients," James V. Grimaldi and Susan Schmidt reported in the December 4, 2005, Washington Post, "Dorgan had his own dealings with Abramoff's circle. Dorgan acknowledged to the AP that in the fall of 2003 he pushed Congress to approve legislative language urging government regulators to decide whether the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts deserved federal recognition. About the same time, Dorgan met with the tribe's representatives and Michael D. Smith, an Abramoff associate."

"Dorgan's spokesman said the tribe asked him to be involved and that Massachusetts senators supported his taking action," Grimaldi and Schmidt wrote. "In 2001, Dorgan held a fundraising event in an MCI Center skybox during a hockey game. The fundraiser was organized by Smith and the skybox was leased by an Abramoff company. The senator said he believed that the box was controlled by the Greenberg Traurig lobbying firm, not by Abramoff," Grimaldi and Schmidt wrote. "Dorgan also signed a letter to the Interior Department urging the continuation of a program that would have the federal government and tribes share the cost of building tribal schools, a program pushed by Abramoff's clients."

On December 13, 2005 Dorgan announced that he was returning all donations from Abramoff's clients as a precaution that the contributions may have been directed or requested by Abramoff [1]. Dorgan did not receive any money from Abramoff directly.

Committee work

In January 2007, Dorgan stated that the agenda for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will focus on "healthcare, law enforcement and other issues that spring from a 'trust responsibility' between the U.S. government and the Indian peoples." [2]

Prescription drug plan

Dorgan introduced an amendment to a comprehensive prescription drug bill that would allow drug importation from certain foreign countries (most notably Canada, where many Americans had already been purchasing drugs).

A vote on the amendment passed 63-28. Later on, however, another amendment passed that required the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to certify that imported drugs were safe. The FDA, however, had already said that it was bureaucratically impossible to do this.[1]

Main article: U.S. prescription drug legislation#Dorgan amendment to allow importation


Dorgan was born in Regent, North Dakota on May 14, 1942. He earned a B.S. from the University of North Dakota in 1964 and an M.B.A. from the University of Denver in 1966. He served as tax commissioner of North Dakota from 1969 until 1980, until he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, where he served until 1993.

In 1992 he ran successfully for the open Senate seat. He took office a few weeks early, in December 1992, when the governor appointed him to fill the rest of the term of Kent Conrad, who had won a special election to fill the rest of the term of deceased senator Quentin N. Burdick. Dorgan was reelected in 1998 and 2004.

As chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, Dorgan is one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate. In recent years he has been increasingly sought by the national media for comment on political issues. He is a strong opponent of the U.S. policy towards Cuba. He has introduced, with varying levels of success, several amendments to end the prohibition on travel to Cuba and to terminate funds for anti-Castro broadcasting. Dorgan has also opposed most bills liberalizing trade policies between the United States and other countries. He has a mixed record on lawsuit reform, voting against the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and the Class Action Lawsuit Fairness Act of 2005, but voting in favor of the failed Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act and legislation to shield gun manufacturers and distributors from lawsuits.

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.

Campaign contribution data could not be found.

Links to more campaign contribution information for Byron Dorgan
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)

More Background Data

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


DC office
  • 318 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
    Ph: 202-225-8699 Fax: 202-225-8714
    Webform email
District offices
  • 312 Federal Building, Post Office Box 2579, Bismarck, ND 58502
    Ph: 701-250-4618 Fax: (none entered)
  • 1802 32nd Avenue South, Suite B, Post Office Box 9060, Fargo, ND 58106
    Ph: 701-239-5389 Fax: (none entered)
  • 102 North Fourth Street, Grand Forks, ND 58201
    Ph: 701-746-8972 Fax: (none entered)
  • Suite 105, 100 First Street, Southwest, Minot, ND 58701-3846
    Ph: 701-852-0703 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


From Senator Dorgan

Semantic data (Edit data)