Jefferson Sessions

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U.S. Senator

Jefferson Sessions




Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senate Committee on the Budget, Senate Committee on the Judiciary
(subcommittees and past assignments)

Candidates for the AL-Senate Class II Seat:
(Next election: 4 November 2014)

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 AL-Senate Class II Seat)
On the Web
Official website

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a Republican, has represented the state of Alabama in the U.S. Senate since 1996.


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

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

On May 27, 2007, Sessions, a longtime supporter of the Iraq War, said that he was open to the idea of withdrawing some U.S. troops from the country later in 2007. He stated, "We have to be realistic...We have to know that we can’t achieve everything we’d like to achieve. We have a limited number of men and women we can send to Iraq, and we can’t overburden them." He continued that come September, "I think most of the people in Congress believe, unless something extraordinary occurs, that we should be on a move to draw those surge numbers down." [2]

Following remarks made by Sen. Richard Lugar on June 25, 2007 calling for an immediate change of course and troop reduction in Iraq, Sen. Sessions responded favorably to Lugar's comments. Although Sessions stated he still wanted to give the president's troop "surge" in Iraq more time to succeed, he stated that troop levels should be reduced "as soon as it is realistic to do it."[3]

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

Oil Record

According to Oil Change International, Pete Sessions has voted in favor of big oil companies on 100% of important oil-related bills. These bills include Iraq War funding, climate change studies, clean energy, and oil import reductions. [4] See below for oil money in politics.

Hurricane Katrina and estate tax cuts

Sessions drew considerable controversy after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Cost. He suggested to a colleague a way to rejuvenate his bill to repeal the estate tax, which had lost momentum: "Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl and I were talking about the estate tax. If we knew anybody that owned a business that lost life in the storm, that would be something we could push back with."[1]

Opposition to torture ban

Sessions opposed Sen. John McCain's anti-torture amendment in 2006. Sessions was one of nine senators to oppose the amendment, and supports Vice President Dick Cheney's proposal to exempt the CIA from the torture ban.

Claims of racism

Prior to being nominated to federal court, Sessions had unsuccessfully prosecuted three civil rights workers (including Albert Turner, a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr) on a scant case of voter fraud. Sessions had spent hours interrogating black voters in predominately black counties, which produced only 14 allededly tampered ballots out of the more than 1.7 million cast in the 1984 election. The three men were acquitted in four hours. Civil rights groups accused Sessions of aggressively looking for voter fraud in black communities while overlooking any violations among whites.

During his nomination to federal court, it was revealed that Sessions had once labeled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) "un-American," "Communist-inspired," and that they "forced civil rights down the throats of people." At his confirmation hearings, Sessions claimed that the groups could be un-American when "they involve themselves in un-American positions" in foreign policy. [2]

Executive power

In July 2006 Sessions expressed opposition to a bill by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) that would allow Congress to file a lawsuit to get presidential signing statements declared unconstitutional, saying the Act would "transfer the power to the courts, and throws the courts directly between the Congress and the president."[3]

Young bribery scandal

On October 4, 2007 Time reported that Clayton Lamar (Lanny) Young Jr., a lobbyist and landfill developer, told a group of prosecutors and investigators on May 8, 2002 he paid tens of thousands of dollars in apparently illegal campaign contributions to big names in Alabama Republican politics. Young said that among the receivers of the contributions were Jeff Sessions, the state’s former attorney general and William H. Pryor, Jr., his successor and current federal judge.[5]

Young was reportedly a key witness in a major case that brought down former Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman (D) who was convicted in 2006 of corruption charges. Forty-four former state attorneys general, Republicans and Democrats, cited “irregularities” in the investigation and prosecution. Young pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges and received a shortened sentence for his cooperation with the government.[6]

According to federal documents obtained by Time, Young “personally provided Sessions with cash campaign contributions.” In an FBI memo of a Young interview, he said that he provided Sessions with $5,000-$7,000 using intermediaries, none of who were listed as contributors to Sessions’ 1996 U.S. Senate campaign. At the time Young said he made the contributions, it was illegal to give a candidate more than $1,000 for a primary or general campaign. Lawyers from a U.S. Attorney’s office, representatives of Alabama’s Republican attorney general and an attorney from the Justice Department‘s public integrity unit all reportedly heard Young’s evidence against Sessions and Pryor. However, nearly all the allegations went uninvestigated. [7]

Steve Feaga, a career prosecutor involved in the case that led to Siegelman’s conviction on October 5, 2007 said Young never claimed to receive anything in return for the contributions to other officials while making such allegations about Siegelman. “At the time Lanny was detailing having made contributions to other public officials, he characterized these contributions as legitimate. There was no understanding he would get something in return,” Feaga said. [8]

On October 8, 2007 the Alabama Democratic Party called for Sessions’ recusal from any Judiciary Committee investigations or hearings dealing with the case of former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-Ala.). [9]


Sessions was born December 24, 1946 in Selma, Alabama as the son of a country store owner. He spent most of his life in Hybart, Alabama. In 1964 he became an Eagle Scout. In his adult life, he became a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. After attending school in nearby Camden, Sessions studied at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969. He received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Alabama in 1973.

Sessions became a practicing attorney first in Russellville and then in Mobile where he now lives. He was also an army reservist in the 1970s, achieving the rank of captain.

Following a two-year stint as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama (1975-1977), Sessions was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the United States Attorney for Alabama's Southern District, a position he held for 12 years. Sessions was nominated for a federal judgeship by Reagan in 1986, but the Senate did not approve his appointment, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama, whom Sessions would eventually succeed. Sessions was elected Alabama Attorney General in 1995, stepping down midway through his four-year term after his election to the Senate.

In 1996 he was elected to the Senate, succeeding Democrat Howell Heflin. He was only the second freshman Republican Senator from Alabama since Reconstruction. He was easily reelected in 2002 becoming the first (or second, if one counts his colleague Richard Shelby, who switched from Democrat to Republican in 1994) Republican reelected to the Senate from Alabama.

Sessions is one of the most conservative members of either house of Congress, backing conservative Republican stances on foreign affairs, taxes, and social policy. He opposes abortion, and is wary of immigration. Sessions serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is its only member to have unsuccessfully faced the Committee before becoming a senator. Sessions was a strong supporter of the nuclear option, a tactic favored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to stop filibusters of judicial nominees. When 14 senators led by Republican John McCain of Arizona and Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska struck a deal to avert the nuclear option, Sessions was one of the agreement's most severe critics.

Sessions has been active in particular as an advocate for the armed services. On September 24, 2005, he spoke at a rally attended by 400 people in Washington, D.C. in favor of the war in Iraq. It was held in opposition to an anti-war protest held the day before that attracted 300,000 people. Sessions spoke of the anti-war protestors, saying "I frankly don't know what they represent, other than to blame America first."

On October 5, 2005 he voted against a bill restricting torture of terrorist suspects.

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)
McWane Inc$ 16,400
Parker Towing$ 12,300
Drummond Co$ 12,100
Maynard, Cooper & Gale$ 11,000
Smith's Inc$ 11,000
HealthSouth Corp$ 10,600
Alabama Farmers Federation$ 10,000
Alamo PAC$ 10,000
American Council of Engineering Cos$ 10,000
American Dental Assn$ 10,000
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 Jefferson Sessions
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

Oil and Coal Money in Politics

Jeff Sessions has received $79,750 in oil contributions during the 110th congress. $58,500 of those dollars were from industry PACS. [10] In total, Sessions has accepted $185,200 from oil companies since 2000, which makes him one of the top recipients of oil money in the United States Senate. [11] In addition to oil money, Jeff Sessions has received $126,415 in coal contributions during the 110th congress. $34,000 of those dollars were from industry PACS. [12] See above for oil and energy voting record.

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

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

Coalitions and Caucuses

  • US Attorney General's Advisory Committee, 1987-1989, Vice-Chair 1989
  • US Attorney's Committee on Legislation and Rules, 1983-1985
  • Chair, Republican Steering Committee
  • Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control
  • Chair, US Attorney General's Advisory Committee, Controlled Substances Subcommittee
  • Chair, US-Mexico Interparliamentary Group

Boards and other Affiliations

  • Board of Trustees, Mobile Bay Area Partnership for Youth, 1981-present
  • Vice-President, Mobile Lions Club, 1993-1994
  • Advisory Committee, Mobile Crimestoppers Program, 1983-1986
  • President, Huntingdon College National Alumni Association, 1981-1983
  • Delegate, Alabama Methodist Conference
  • American Bar Association
  • Former Administrative Board Chair, Lay Leader, Sunday School Teacher, Ashland Place United Methodist Church.

More Background Data

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


DC office
  • 326 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
    Ph: 202-224-4124 Fax: 202-224-3149
    Webform email
District offices
  • AmSouth Center, Suite 802, 200 Clinton Avenue N.W., Huntsville, AL 35801-4932
    Ph: 256-533-0979 Fax: (none entered)
  • 341 Vance Federal Building, 1800 Fifth Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203-2171
    Ph: 205-731-1500 Fax: (none entered)
  • 41 West I-65 Service Road, Suite 2300-A, Mobile, AL 36608-1291
    Ph: 251-414-3083 Fax: (none entered)
  • 7550 Halcyon Summit Drive, Suite 150, Montgomery, AL 36117
    Ph: 334-244-7017 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • Friends of Sessions, Senate Committee, P O Box 42780, Montgomery, Alabama 36103
    Ph: 334-271-6780 Fax: (none entered)

2008 Campaign Contact Information

Friends of Sessions
Senate Committee
P O Box 42780
Montogomery, Alabama 36103

Phone: 334-271-6780

Articles and resources


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Klaus Marre, "Sessions: Time to draw down troops is coming," The Hill, May 27, 2007.
  3. "GOP Senators back Lugar’s Iraq shift," Think Progress, June 26, 2007.
  4. Vote Tracker
  5. Adam Zagorin, “Selective Justice in Alabama?” Time, October 4, 2007.
  6. Adam Zagorin, “Selective Justice in Alabama?” Time,’’ October 4, 2007.
  7. Adam Zagorin, “Selective Justice in Alabama?” Time, October 4, 2007.
  8. Adam Zagorin, “Selective Justice in Alabama?” Time, October 4, 2007.
  9. Laura McGann, “Alabama Dems Demand Sessions’ Recusal” TPMMuckraker, October 8, 2007.
  10. Follow the Oil Money
  11. Vote Tracker
  12. Follow the Coal Money



Local blogs and discussion sites

Semantic data (Edit data)