Joseph Lieberman

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U.S. Senator

Joseph Lieberman




Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
(subcommittees and past assignments)

Candidates for the CT-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 CT-Senate Class I Seat)
On the Web
Official website

Joseph Isadore Lieberman, an Independent, has represented Connecticut in the United States Senate since 1988. He is most well-known as Al Gore's running mate in 2000 and as a 2004 presidential candidate.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
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2008 Scorecard
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American Conservative Union not avail. not avail.
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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

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

During the 2002 debate over the resolution giving President Bush the authority to use force against Iraq, Lieberman sponsored an amendment (S.AMDT.4856) declaring that the authorization to use force allows for unprovoked U.S. attacks against Iraq, and brought the measure to a cloture vote. Many opponents of the resolution opposed ending debate, for they were not interested in having the bill come onto the floor. Ultimately, this call for cloture passed overwhelmingly 75-25.

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

In January 2007, Sen. Lieberman promised to pass a version of the House bill (H.R.1) intended to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, "that will take steps forward to adopt some of the unadopted, unimplemented or inadequately implemented parts” of the commission's recommendations, despite concerns in the Senate over the measure's costs. On March 13, the Senate approved the bill containing the remaining provisions of the 9/11 panel as well as expanded labor rights for more than 45,000 airport screeners. Lieberman stated that "this bill will make the people of America, in an age of terrorism, safer yet than they have been before."

Main article: Congressional efforts to implement recommendations of the 9/11 commission
For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Suggests Switching Parties Over War-Funding Vote

Lieberman told The Politico on February 22, 2007, that "he has no immediate plans to switch parties but suggested that Democratic opposition to funding the war in Iraq might change his mind." [1]

Statements on progress in Iraq

  • In a November 29, 2005 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Lieberman praised the contemporary strategy in Iraq and predicted a significant withdrawal of forces by the end of 2006 or 2007:
"I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there... Progress is visible and practical... Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do... The administration's recent use of the banner "clear, hold and build" accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week. We are now embedding a core of coalition forces in every Iraqi fighting unit, which makes each unit more effective and acts as a multiplier of our forces. Progress in "clearing" and "holding" is being made... American military forces could begin a drawdown in numbers proportional to the increasing self-sufficiency of the Iraqi forces in 2006. If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007, but it is also likely that our presence will need to be significant in Iraq or nearby for years to come."[2]
  • Also in the Wall Street Journal op-ed, Lieberman implied that the dissent in America over the war is hurting the morale of troops in Iraq:
"After a Thanksgiving meal with a great group of Marines at Camp Fallujah in western Iraq, I asked their commander whether the morale of his troops had been hurt by the growing public dissent in America over the war in Iraq. His answer was insightful, instructive and inspirational: 'I would guess that if the opposition and division at home go on a lot longer and get a lot deeper it might have some effect, but, Senator, my Marines are motivated by their devotion to each other and the cause, not by political debates.'"[3]
  • At a July 2006 debate with challenger Ned Lamont, Lieberman estimated that troops would be coming home by the end of 2006 and that half would be out of Iraq by the end of 2007, saying, "So I am confident that the situation is improving enough on the ground that by the end of this year, we will begin to draw down significant numbers of American troops, and by the end of the next year more than half of the troops who are there now will be home." [1]
  • In a December 29, 2006 Washington Post op-ed, Lieberman acknowledged the lack of progress in Iraq but stated that the war was nevertheless winnable and that calls for a withdrawal were wrong:
"Because of the bravery of many Iraqi and coalition military personnel and the recent coming together of moderate political forces in Baghdad, the war is winnable... The American people are justifiably frustrated by the lack of progress, and the price paid by our heroic troops and their families has been heavy... I saw firsthand evidence in Iraq of the development of a multiethnic, moderate coalition against the extremists of al-Qaeda and against the Mahdi Army, which is sponsored and armed by Iran and has inflamed the sectarian violence... The daily scenes of death and destruction are heartbreaking and infuriating. But there is no better strategic and moral alternative for America than standing with the moderate Iraqis until the country is stable and they can take over their security. Rather than engaging in hand-wringing, carping or calls for withdrawal, we must summon the vision, will and courage to take the difficult and decisive steps needed for success and, yes, victory in Iraq."[4]
  • In a February 26, 2007 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Lieberman argued that the U.S. mission in Iraq was at a "critical" stage. He stated:
"I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next. Instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed... Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then... We are at a critical moment in Iraq--at the beginning of a key battle." [2]
Main article: Friedman (Iraq War time unit)

Support for increased troop levels

In the December 29, 2006 Washington Post op-ed, Lieberman also expressed support for the plan reportedly being considered by President George W. Bush for a "surge" of troop levels in Iraq. Notably, Lieberman wrote in the op-ed that in a recent visit to Iraq he had "found that it was the American colonels, even more than the generals, who were asking for more troops." [5] The op-ed was published during a PR offensive by the Bush administration to counteract statements by senior U.S. generals that they did not support the "surge" plan. On February 5 adn 17, 2007, Lieberman voted with Republicans in blocking a cloture votes on resolutions opposing the troop "surge."

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

On March 15, 2007, Lieberman also voted with Republicans, and with only two Democrats, against a joint resolution to revise U.S. policy in Iraq. The measure failed 48-50. Later on March 27, Lieberman also voted with Republicans in favor an amendment to the Iraq supplemental spending bill that would have stripped the measure of its troop withdrawal deadline. The amendment was narrowly defeated 48-50. He also voted with Republicans against the final bill, which passed the Senate 51-47 on March 29. On April 26, Lieberman voted again with the GOP against the final conference version of the bill, which passed both chambers but was vetoed by the President.

Main article: U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007 (H.R.1591)

Criticism of Democrats

Lieberman has staunchly supported the Iraq War. In a November 29, 2005 op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal, Lieberman praised the efforts of the U.S. military in the occupation of Iraq and criticized both parties:

"I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November's elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead." [6]

Democratic Party leadership rebuked Lieberman. On December 9, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid claimed to be troubled by Lieberman's comments, "I've talked to Senator Lieberman, and unfortunately he is at a different place on Iraq than the majority of the American people." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi added, "I completely disagree with Lieberman. I believe that we have a responsibility to speak out if we think that the course of action that our country is not making the American people safer, making our military stronger and making the region more stable." [7]

Lieberman refused to recant his position, stating "I've had this position for a long time — that we need to finish the job." [8]


In a December 29, 2006 Washington Post op-ed, Lieberman identified Iran as the America's enemy in the "War on Terror:

"While we are naturally focused on Iraq, a larger war is emerging. On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran, on the other moderates and democrats supported by the United States... This bloodshed, moreover, is not the inevitable product of ancient hatreds. It is the predictable consequence of a failure to ensure basic security and, equally important, of a conscious strategy by al-Qaeda and Iran, which have systematically aimed to undermine Iraq's fragile political center... On this point, let there be no doubt: If Iraq descends into full-scale civil war, it will be a tremendous battlefield victory for al-Qaeda and Iran... One moderate Palestinian leader told me that a premature U.S. exit from Iraq would be a victory for Iran and the groups it is supporting in the region."[9]

On June 10, 2007, Lieberman said that the United States must be prepared to take military action to respond to Iran's training of anti-U.S. forces to be deployed in Iraq. He argued that the United States must send a strong message to Iran in order to curb aggression in Iraq, stating "If there’s any hope of the Iranians living according to the international rule of law and stopping, for instance, their nuclear weapons development, we can't just talk to them."[3] On June 12, 2007, John Orman, Chairman of the Connecticut for Lieberman party demanded that Lieberman resign over his saber rattling. Orman said: "He has crossed the line. His unilateral warmongering could lead to a new World War III."[4]

On September 20, 2007, Sens. Lieberman, Jon Kyl, Norman Coleman, and Lindsey Graham filed a "Sense of the Senate" resolution as Amendment No. 3017[5] to the FY 2008 Defense Authorization bill "that the U.S. should 'combat, contain, and roll back' Iran’s 'violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq.' It counsels doing so 'through the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of [U.S. power], including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments.' It also urges the administration to designate the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization."[6]

Environmental record

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

Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act

Lieberman sponsored the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (CSIA) of 2007 (S.280) on January 12, 2007. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. It is the Senate version of the House's Climate Stewardship Act (H.R.620). The bill would establish an emissions "cap and trade" system to go into effect in 2012, requiring a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions of 15 percent by 2020 and 65 percent by 2050.[7]

Main article: U.S. congressional action on climate change#Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (CSIA) of 2007 (S.280)


Lieberman is a strong supporter of video game censorship and has also been vocal in supporting censorship of controversial musical artists. In the late 1990s, he lobbied for censorship of shock rocker Marilyn Manson, calling his group "one of the sickest" he had ever seen.

On November 29, 2005, Lieberman, together with Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act. The act is intended to protect children from inappropriate content found in video games. [10]

"The Gang of Fourteen"

On May 23, 2005, Lieberman was one of fourteen moderate senators, dubbed the "Gang of 14," who forged a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster, thus avoiding the Republican leadership's implementation of the so-called "nuclear option," which would have changed the procedures of the Senate. Under the agreement, the Democrats agreed to exercise the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and three of the filibustered Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William H. Pryor, Jr.) would receive a vote by the full Senate.

Republican lobbyists sponsored fundraiser for "Independent" Senate race

President George W. Bush "moved a step closer to Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman's re-election bid in Connecticut as an independent candidate when Tom Kuhn, the president's college roommate and close friend, co-sponsored a Lieberman fund-raising luncheon ... in downtown Washington," Robert Novak reported in the October 1, 2006, Chicago Sun-Times. "Also among the Lieberman event's sponsors was Rick Shelby, a longtime Republican operative who is executive vice president of the American Gas Association.

"The luncheon's sponsors pressed fellow Republican lobbyists to pay a minimum of $1,000 a ticket." [11]

Wife works as lobbyist

In March 2005, Lieberman’s wife, Hadassah, joined the Hill & Knowlton lobbying firm. She stated as her reason: “I have had a life-long commitment to helping people gain better health care…I am excited about the opportunity to work with the talented team at Hill & Knowlton to counsel a terrific stable of clients toward that same goal.” She has been criticized for joining the firm, for it has spent a considerable amount of time as a defendant in tobacco class-action lawsuits for its role in distributing propaganda disputing the health risks of smoking.

In addition, one of the firm’s major clients is GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharmaceutical company. In April 2005, Lieberman introduced a bill that would award new government “incentives” to companies like GSK to produce more vaccines—notably patent extensions on existing products. [12]

Hiring of Republican/conservative activist Marshall Wittmann as spokesman in 2005

On November 21, Lieberman announced that he had hired Marshall Wittmann as his new spokesman. [13]

Code Pink member collapses in Lieberman’s office

A member of the anti-war group Code Pink collapsed in Lieberman's office on June 28, 2007, following a 15-day hunger strike in which she consumed only clear liquids to protest Lieberman's stance on Iran in the hopes of getting a meeting with him.[8]

DC voting rights

On January 26, 2005, Sen. Lieberman introduced the No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2005 (S. 195). The bill would provide District residents with two senators (similar to a state), as well as a voting member in the House. The bill collected fifteen cosponsors, but never reached the floor for a vote.

Three years prior, on October 3, 2002, Lieberman had introduced the same bill. On October 9, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, which Lieberman chaired at the time, approved the bill 9-0, with every Democrat on the Committee voting in favor of the bill and no Republicans attending the meeting. As in 2005, however, the bill never received a vote on the Senate floor.

Main article: Voting rights in the District of Columbia

On May 1, 2007 Lieberman introduced the District of Columbia Fair and Equal Voting Rights Act of 2007 with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The bill passed the House the previous month.

Main article: District of Columbia Fair and Equal Voting Rights Act of 2007

Reparations for Japanese Latin Americans

Lieberman 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.[9]

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

Committee chairmanship vote

Following the 2008 congressional elections, Democrats enlarged their majority in the U.S. Senate. Many Democrats sought to punish Lieberman for his role in the 2008 presidential election -- Lieberman appeared as a speaker at the Republican National Convention, campaigned for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and speaking out against President-Elect Barack Obama. Following a meeting with Lieberman on November 6, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) indicated he was exploring all options regarding Lieberman's future in the Democratic caucus and as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs.[10]

On November 18, 2008, Democrats in the Senate voted by a 42-13 margin to allow Lieberman to retain his chairmanship of the homeland security committee. He was stripped, however, of his seat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where he chaired a subcommittee on global warming.[11]


Lieberman was born in Stamford, Connecticut on February 24, 1942. He received his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1964 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1967, after which he worked at the prestigious New Haven law firm of Wiggin & Dana. Lieberman was elected to the Connecticut State Senate in 1970 and served there for 10 years, the last 6 as Majority Leader. From 1982 to 1988, he served as Connecticut's 21st Attorney General.

Lieberman is a religiously observant Jew. While the American public has been increasingly receptive to Jewish politicans in positions of leadership, no Jewish individual has yet been elected to either of the two high offices Lieberman has sought, the vice presidency and the presidency, although Lieberman, along with Gore, won the popular vote in 2000. Lieberman has called for a "a constitutional place for faith in our public life." [14]

Lieberman defeated liberal Republican Lowell Weicker to win election to the Senate in 1988. Lieberman was even endorsed by National Review and it was joked in many circles how the Democratic candidate was more conservative than the Republican one.

Lieberman is considered to be one of the most conservative of prominent Democratic politicians. He has been a strong supporter of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq and criticized some of his opponents in the 2004 Primaries for their opposition to the war; he is also generally more sympathetic to the role of religion in public life than many within the Party, and he first achieved national notice for his public criticism of President Bill Clinton's ethical conduct during the Lewinsky scandal in 1998. On other issues, such as abortion, gun control and the environment, Lieberman's views more closely follow the positions of the Democratic party mainstream.

Lieberman supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq and supports "regime change" as U.S. policy toward Iran. [15] Those who contend that there is a War on Islam often cite the public statements of Lieberman regarding his support for Israel and accuse him of advocating that the U.S. launch wars on its behalf. Many who do not share these views do agree at least that his views are more like those of neo-conservatives, among which he is sometimes numbered.

In 1993 and 1994, Lieberman was the key senator in preventing the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) from closing an accounting loophole that allowed companies to avoid recording stock options as an expense. Arthur Levitt, the Chairman of the SEC at the time, has said "There was no question in my mind that campaign contributions played the determinative role in that Senate activity."

Vice presidential and Presidential campaigns

In August 2000, the presumptive-Democratic nominee for president, Al Gore, tapped Lieberman to be his vice-presidential running mate. His selection marked the first time a Jewish candidate was part of major party's presidential ticket. Lieberman's Senate term was also due to expire in that election cycle and he decided to stage a run to maintain that seat as well.

On January 13, 2003, Lieberman announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination as a candidate in the 2004 presidential election. Lieberman attempted to convey his hawkishness with frequent attacks on Howard Dean, the early front-runner and an Iraq war critic. On February 3, 2004, a few weeks after placing fifth in the New Hampshire primary, Lieberman withdrew his candidacy after failing to win any of the five primaries or two caucuses held that day.

Loses 2006 primary, wins general election

Lieberman was the presumed Democratic nominee for his Senate seat in the 2006 mid-term congressional election, but lost in a tough challenge from within the party by candidate Ned Lamont, who built his candidacy on his opposition to the war in Iraq, strong support of women's rights, support of gay marriage, support of universal healthcare and many other areas. [16] Lieberman gained the support of many prominent Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, but lost nonetheless, 52% to 48%.

Lamont's campaign against Lieberman was supported by progressive elements of the Connecticut Democratic party. Focusing heavily on Lieberman's support for the Iraq War, Lamont was able to close the gap in the polls from 46 points (May 2nd, Quinnipiac) to 6 points (June 12th, Rasmussen). [17][18] In addition, Lamont, a self-made cable millionaire, was able to heavily finance his campaign. Early in the race, he pledged to spend $1.5 million of his personal funds on unseating Lieberman. Lamont's campaign was also strengthened by the support of former U.S. Senator Lowell Weicker, who was unseated by Lieberman in 1988.

On August 8, 2006, the day of the primary election between Lieberman and Lamont, Lieberman's campaign manager, Sean Smith, announced that someone had hacked into the senator's campaign website the night before, causing it to crash. Smith called the attack, "...a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise voters." The FBI quickly announced its intentions to investigate the matter. [19] [20]

Following his loss, Lieberman declared his intentions to run for the Senate as an independent candidate. A mid-July Quinnipiac University poll found that while Lieberman trailed Lamont among Democrats, he remained the favorite to win the general election against Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger. [21]

On August 21, a group of self-proclaimed peace activists asked Sharon Ferrucci, the Democratic registrar of voters in New Haven, Connecticut, to remove Lieberman from the party in response to his independent Senate campaign. The request could lead to a hearing in which Lieberman, the three-term senator, would need to argue that he still adheres to the party's core principles. [22]

In the November 7 general election, Lieberman defeated Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger (50%-40%-10%, respectively) to retain his seat. While he won as an independent, he indicated that he would caucus with Democrats and formed part of the Democrats 51-49 seat majority in the Senate. [23]

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 Joseph Lieberman
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 Joseph Lieberman. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC office
  • 706 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
    Ph: 202-224-4041 Fax: 202-224-9750
    Webform email
District offices
  • One Constitution Plaza Seventh Floor Hartford, CT 06103
    Ph: 860-549-8463 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

External resources

Written by Sen. Joe Lieberman

External articles




Also see:

Local blogs and discussion sites

See also


  1. "Lieberman, Lamont Spar in Conn. Primary Debate," Washington Post, July 7, 2006.
  2. Joseph Lieberman, "The Choice on Iraq" (op-ed), Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2007.
  3. Chris Good, "Lieberman: Iran strike should be considered," The Hill, June 10, 2007.
  4. Peter Urban, Party head lambastes Lieberman on Iran, Connecticut Post Online, 12 June 2007.
  5. Carah Ong, "Lieberman-Kyl Introduce Provocative Amendment," Iran Nuclear Watch Blogspot, September 21, 2007. Post includes link to copy of amendment.
  6. Editorial: "Countering Iran’s Designs," National Review Online, September 21, 2007.
  7. OpenCongress: S.280
  8. Klaus Marre, "Code Pink member collapses in Lieberman’s office," The Hill, June 28, 2007.
  10. Nico Pitney, "Lieberman Meets With Reid, Tries To Cling To Senate Chairmanship," Huffington Post, November 6, 2008
  11. Catharine Richert, "Lieberman Keeps Homeland Security Gavel," CQ Politics, November 18, 2008

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