Joe Barton

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U.S. Representative

Joe Barton ()
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Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: House Committee on Energy and Commerce
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Next election: Nov. 6, 2012

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[[Category:Members of the U.S. House of Representatives|]]

Joe Linus Barton, a Republican, has represented the Sixth Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1984.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
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2008 Scorecard
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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.


Joe Barton has voted for Big Oil Companies 100% of the time based on important oil-related bills. These include Iraq War Funding, Cutting Oil Subsides, Clean Energy, and Climate Studies. See money-related issues below.[citation needed]

Iraq War

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

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

Environmental record

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

House Energy Policy Act 2005

Barton, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was criticized for many provisions in the 2005 House Energy Policy Act, some of which did not make it into the final Act (drilling in ANWR, for example). [1]. "Itemizing the anti-environmental provisions of the House energy bill is a mind-numbing exercise," Frank O'Donnell, president of the Clean Air Watch wrote, including "new loopholes that could reduce gas mileage requirements; weaker protections for coastal communities; tax breaks to promote more coal burning. And that's just the beginning." [2] O'Donnell continued, "Indeed, if the legislation became law in its current form, it would prolong smog problems in much of the nation, shift the burden of cleaning up poisoned water supplies from oil companies to cash-strapped public agencies, and even threaten environmental damage from some forms of renewable energy. These are on top of the well-publicized provisions that would permit big oil companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for a few months worth of oil that wouldn't reach consumers for a decade."

After President Bush signed the final form of the bill into law in July 2005, The Washington Post contended that the spending bill was really a broad collection of subsidies for United States energy companies; in particular, the nuclear and oil industries [3].

Speaking for the National Republicans for Environmental Protection Association, President Martha Marks said that the organization was disappointed in the bill: it did not give enough of a short to conservation, and continued to subsidize the well-established oil and gas industries that don't require subsidizing. [4]

In April 2005, the same month full committee mark-up on the bill began,[5] Barton was honored by The Annapolis Center (identified by The Wall Street Journal as a polluter front group) [6] for "work in [his] field supporting rational, science-based thinking and policy-making"[7]. The evening's keynote address was given by Fred Barnes, co-host of the "Beltway Boys" on the Fox News Channel.

Climate change

Barton is regarded as a "skeptic" on global warming [8]. Recently, prompted by a February 2005 Wall Street Journal article [9], he has taken an interest in climate change [10]. In June of 2005 Barton sent letters to three leading climate scientists—Drs. Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes—as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Science Foundation "questioning many aspects of a global warming study"[11]. This has been widely regarded as an attack on the scientists rather than a serious attempt to understand the science [12] [13], although some view it as a normal exercise of the committee's responsibility and an effort to make possible scientific debate on a subject within its jurisdiction [14] [15].

"The National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science—which rarely take stands on Congressional investigations—have sent letters of concern to Rep. Barton, as have 20 leading climate scientists. Fellow legislators of both parties also have criticized Barton's approach as "misguided and illegitimate" and "a transparent effort to bully and harass climate change experts who have reached conclusions with which you disagree." [16] [17].

Digital Television

Barton has also been involved in efforts to move local broadcasters to digital television formats:

"When Barton took over chairmanship of the Commerce Committee from Billy Tauzin in 2004, he hadn't been a player on media issues since battles over broadcasters' cable-carriage rights 10 years earlier. Back then, he became a hero to the cable industry by opposing the 1992 Cable Act, which burdened operators with carriage of every TV station in the country.

"Ironically, despite his continuing opposition to must-carry obligations, Barton added digital carriage obligations on cable in order to gain support of the pro-broadcaster faction on the Commerce Committee.[18]

Barton-Rush Act of 2006

In 2006 Barton partnered with Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) to create the Communications Opportunity Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006. The COPE Act or "Barton-Rush" bill would allow major telephone companies to compete with cable television companies. It has also been widely critized for making net neutrality impossible, which could possibly lead to a multi-tiered Internet where some websites would move and load faster if they pay an additional fee to providers like Verizon and Comcast.[19]

The leading proponents of the COPE Act have been Verizon, Comcast, SBC Communications, Time Warner, and AT&T. Barton has a potential conflict of interest in that he stands to profit if SBC Communications makes money off of this bill, which it most likely will. Barton owns between $1,000 and $15,000 of dividends in SBC Communications according to his 2004 personal financial disclosure forms.[20]

SBC Communications is also Barton's 10th highest career donor having given Barton $51,109 since 1989.[21] For the 2006 election cycle Barton is the 14th highest recipient of money from the telecom industry.[22]

Pays wife for campaign work

In October 2006, the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based non-profit organization which advocates better transparency in government, reported that Barton’s campaign committee paid his wife $27,637 to serve as the campaign’s outreach director during 2005-2006. [23]



Barton was born in Waco, Texas on September 15, 1949. He received a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 1972 from Texas A&M University and a Master of Science in industrial administration from Purdue University in 1973. Barton then entered private industry until 1981 when he became a White House Fellow and served under Secretary of Energy James Burrows Edwards. He then consulted for Atlantic Richfied Oil and Gas Company before he was elected to Congress in 1984.

Barton won his Congressional seat in his first attempt, defeating Democrat challenger Dan Kubiak with 56% of the vote. He received 88% of the vote in 2000, 71% of the vote in 2002 against Democratic challenger Felix Alvarado, and 66% of the vote in 2004 against Democratic challenger Morris Meyer.

In 1993 Barton unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the United States Senate.

Health issues

Rep. Barton's office announced that on Thursday December 15, 2005 Barton suffered a heart attack and was taken to George Washington University Hospital.[24]

Congressional Career

Barton works "to promote lower taxes, more financial freedom and greater personal freedoms... protect our rights to medical, financial and Internet privacy and... to eradicate the marriage and death taxes, cut capital gains taxes and drastically reform the current tax code." [25]

Barton, a former consultant for Atlantic Richfied Co., serves as the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He was the primary House author of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. A number of his former staffers are now lobbyists for the energy industry. The Washington Post reported that, "In his quest for the chairmanship... A network of former Barton staff members-turned-lobbyists-including Jeffery M. MacKinnon (clients: Reliant Energy, Philip Morris, MCI and at least 36 others), Stephen Sayle (American Chemical Council, AT&T and 19 others) and Stephen Waguespack (Duke Energy, Ford Motor Co. and eight others)-worked the crucial corporate and trade association community on Barton's behalf." [Washington Post, 4/14/05]

"Since 1997, oil, gas, electricity, nuclear, coal and chemical companies have contributed $1.84 million to Barton, more than to any other House member." [Washington Post, 4/14/05]

Barton is a co-founder of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, co-sponsor of the anti-spyware SPY ACT

2006 elections

In 2006, the Democrats nominated David T. Harris to face Joe Barton in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [26] Barton retained his seat.

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)
Oil City Iron Works$ 20,300
Energy Future Holdings Corp$ 15,000
Martin Sprocket & Gear$ 11,200
AT&T Inc$ 11,000
Ultimate Fighting Championship$ 10,400
Berkshire Hathaway$ 10,100
American Council of Engineering Cos$ 10,000
Every Republican is Crucial PAC$ 10,000
Exelon Corp$ 10,000
Exxon Mobil$ 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 Joe Barton
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

Contributions from Oil Companies

In the 2007-2008 period of the 110th Congress, Joe Barton has accepted $196,040 from oil companies and $135,549 of those dollars were from industry political action committees. In addition to that, he has accepted $834,386 from oil companies between 2000 and 2007. Also, he has accepted $121,050 from the coal industry, and $119,800 of those dollars were from industry PACS. See oil voting record above.[citation needed]

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

  • House Committee on Energy and Commerce - Ranking Member
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality
    • Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials
    • Subcommittee on Health
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
    • Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet

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


  • Co-Chair, Congressional Privacy Caucus, 108th Congress
  • Republican Steering Committee
  • Republican Study Committee

More Background Data

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


DC office
  • 2107 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
    Ph: 202-225-2002 Fax: 202-225-3052
    Webform email
District offices
  • 6001 West 1-20, Suite 200, Arlington, TX 76017
    Ph: 817-543-1000, TollFree: 877-263-2833 (TX only) Fax: (none entered)
  • 2106 A West Ennis Avenue, Ennis, TX 75119-3942
    Ph: 817-543-1000, TollFree: 877-263-2833 (TX only) Fax: (none entered)
  • 211 Brazos Street, Suite A and B, Whitney, TX 76692
    Ph: 254-694-8488, 877-263-2833 (TX only) Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • Post Office Box 1444, Ennis, TX 75120
    Ph: 972-875-8688 Fax: (none entered)

Articles and resources


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.



Local blogs and discussion sites


Documents & News Releases

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