Richard Shelby

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U.S. Senator

Richard Shelby




Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Senate Special Committee on Aging
(subcommittees and past assignments)

Candidates for the AL-Senate Class III Seat:
(Next election: 2 November 2010)

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 III Seat)
On the Web
Official website

Richard Craig "Dick" Shelby, a Republican, has represented the state of Alabama in the U.S. Senate since 1986.


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

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

Following succesful Senate passage of an Iraq funding bill with troop withdrawal deadlines on March 29, 2007, Sen. Shelby, an opponent of the bill, declared that the bill would "embolden the enemy and it will not help our troops in any way."

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

Tobacco issues

} Richard Shelby has been a defender of the tobacco industry. In 1995, he opposed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner David Kessler's efforts to have FDA regulate tobacco. Shelby called Kessler's efforts constituted an "alarming trend of FDA regulatory expansion."[1]


Over the course of a decade (1996-2006), Shelby helped direct $50 million to military projects benefiting the COLSA Corp., a space and missile defense company. The firm’s owner, Francisco J. Collazo, is a longtime friend of Shelby who contributed $400,000 to his campaigns and committees over this same period of time. In 1996, Collazo hired one of the senator’s former aides as his lobbyist. [2]

National security and foreign policy

In late 2000, during Senate discussion of the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2001, Sen Shelby argued in support of the act and sponsored an amendment for Section 304, which is often referred to as the "Official Secrets Act", which would have criminalized the unauthorized disclosure of any classified information.

Main article: Intelligence Authorization Act, 2001

Block on Darfur divestment bill

During the last days before the August recess, the House overwhelmingly passed a Darfur divestment bill in a vote of 418-1, Rep. Ron Paul being the only "nay" vote. The bill would allow states to pull investments from companies doing business with the Sudanese government, considered by the Bush administration to be complicit in the Darfur genocide. The bill would also block federal contracts with companies linked to Sudan.[1]

Shelby blocked the bill on behalf of a group of anonymous GOP senators when it reached the Senate, however. One GOP aide explained the reason for the block, "It’s my understanding that there was widespread objection from Republican senators to this bill being hotlined [for passage] because it hasn’t been fully explored. We don’t know what the implications would be."[2]

Allyson Neville of the Genocide Intervention Network objected to the stall questioning the motives behind the block. She said, "Congress has had three years too long to take action. The [bill] puts real pressure on Khartoum. Why would the administration or any senator delay its passage?"[3]


Shelby was born May 6, 1934 in Birmingham, Alabama. He attended both undergraduate programs and law school at the University of Alabama, graduating in 1957 and 1963, respectively. After graduating, Shelby practiced law in Tuscaloosa from 1963 to 1978.

He then entered politics when he served as city prosecutor from 1963 to 1971. From 1966 to 1970, he was a U.S. Magistrate for the Northern District of Alabama; from 1969 to 1971, Shelby was a Special Assistant State Attorney General.

Shelby began his legislative career as a member of the Alabama State Senate in 1970, serving until 1978, when he was elected to the House of Representatives from the Tuscaloosa-based 7th District. He was reelected three times. In 1986, he won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat held by Republican Jeremiah Denton, the first Republican elected to the Senate from Alabama since Reconstruction. He won a very close race as the Democrats regained control of the Senate. He was easily re-elected in 1992 even as Bill Clinton lost Alabama's electoral votes.

Shelby spent most of his first 15 years in Washington as one of the more conservative Democrats in Congress. In the House, he was a member of the boll weevils, a group of Southern Democrats who supported many of Ronald Reagan's initiatives. He publicly feuded with the Clinton Administration, voting with Republicans on several key bills. On November 9, 1994, Shelby switched his party affiliation to Republican one day after the Republicans won control of both houses in the midterm elections. He won his first full term as a Republican in 1998 by a large margin, and faced no significant opposition in 2004.

Shelby opposes gun control and abortion, and supports the Federal Marriage Amendment. He has also been a staunch advocate of a flat tax and of the Bush Administration's tax cuts. He cites the Democratic Party's support of "higher taxes" as being one of the main reasons he left the party. Among the bills sponsored by Shelby over the years have been bills to make English the sole language of the federal government, to limit federal government spending by statute, and to provide a moratorium on certain forms of immigration.

However, he is considered to be much more independent-minded than his Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions. For instance, shortly after becoming a Republican he voted against two major tort reform bills, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and the Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act. Both bills were vetoed by President Clinton, though the first bill was successfully passed over his veto. Shelby also voted against NAFTA and opposes most free trade agreements, most recently CAFTA.

He opposed the confirmation of Robert Bork to the United States Supreme Court in 1987, but voted for Samuel Alito, considered by some to be ideologically similar to Bork, in 2006.

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)
Travelers Companies$ 60,500
Bank of New York Mellon$ 46,250
FMR Corp$ 44,000
General Electric$ 43,500
American Express$ 41,700
Morgan Stanley$ 41,100
Drummond Co$ 40,600
Goldman Sachs$ 38,600
JPMorgan Chase & Co$ 37,950
Morris, Haynes & Hornsby$ 32,600
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 Richard Shelby
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

  • Co Chair, Congressional Privacy Caucus
  • National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • Senate Co Chair, National Security Caucus
  • Senate Centrist Coalition
  • Co Chair, Zero Capital Gains Tax Caucus

Boards and other Affiliations

  • Alabama Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Judicature Society
  • Alabama Law Institute
  • Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity.

More Background Data

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


DC office
  • 304 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
    Ph: 202-224-5744 Fax: 202-224-3416
    Webform email
District offices
  • 1800 5th Avenue North 321 Federal Building Birmingham, AL 35203
    Ph: 205-731-1384 Fax: (none entered)
  • Huntsville International Airport, 1000 Glenn Hearn Boulevard, Post Office Box 20127, Huntsville, AL 35824
    Ph: 256-772-0460 Fax: (none entered)
  • 113 Saint Joseph Street, 445 United States Federal Courthouse, Mobile, AL 36602
    Ph: 251-694-4164 Fax: (none entered)
  • 15 Lee Street, B-28 Federal Courthouse, Montgomery, AL 36104
    Ph: 334-223-7303 Fax: (none entered)
  • 1118 Greensboro Avenue, Room 240, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
    Ph: 205-759-5047 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)