Alan Mollohan

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Alan Mollohan previously served the 1st Congressional district of West Virginia

Alan Bowlby Mollohan, a Democrat, is a former U.S. Representative for the 1st Congressional district of West Virginia, having served 1983 to 2011.[1]

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how Alan Mollohan voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Iraq War

Mollohan voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[2]

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

House Ethics Committee halt

On October 7th, 2004 Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) was rebuked by the House Ethics Committee for the second and third time in 2004.[1][2] Two of the three admonishments related to DeLay's actions in the partisan redistricting of Texas that took place in 2002 and 2003. The Committee deferred action on one complaint that dealt with DeLay's fundraising activity in relation to the Texas redistricting. In the fall of 2005 DeLay was indicted in connection to the illegal fundraising.

In January 2005 House Republicans passed new ethics rules that "requires that ethics complaints against House members die without an investigation after 45 days unless the Republican chairman and Democratic ranking member of the bipartisan 10-member Ethics Committee agree to let them proceed. The Ethics Committee also could provide a majority vote to allow a complaint to continue, meaning one member would have to side with the other party to produce an investigation."[3] In February of 2005 the chairman who presided over the admonishments of DeLay Joel Hefley (R-CO) and two committee members were removed and replaced by three DeLay allies, including Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) as chairman.[4]

These actions immediately threw the ethics committee into turmoil as Alan Mollohan, the ranking Democrat on the committee, protested by drawing business to a halt. Mollohan declared, "These rules undermine the ability of the committee to do its job. An ethics committee has to do a good job if it's going to do any job at all."[5] Mollohan led a revolt against the rules changes by holding the ethics committee hostage. A March Washington Post editorial backed Mollohan's actions stating "committee Democrats understandably balked last week at acceding to new rules for how the panel should conduct its business -- rules dictated by the GOP leadership and slanted toward making the ethics process, already tilted in favor of gridlock, even more feckless." Mollohan's fight against the rule changes lasted until April 27, 2005 when the Republicans reversed course and repealed the rule changes in a 406-20 vote. Republicans continued to attack the Democrats after the vote was cast. Ethics Committee chair Doc Hastings said, "The Democrats remain absolutely unwilling to compromise. It is severely damaging to this institution for the other side of the aisle to keep the doors locked on the ethics committee." Mollohan responded, "What is at issue is . . . whether the House is going to continue to have a credible ethics process. Nothing less than this is at stake here tonight."[6]

Despite the repeal of the rule changes the Ethics Committee has continued to sit on the sidelines. In December 2005 Mollohan stated that the committee would be functioning by the end of January but they did not meet again until April.[7] In April the ethics committee could only agree to continue to pursue a 1996 case against Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA).[8] Mollohan, disappointed, stated, "This result falls far short of the committee's obligations in the current circumstances."[9]

Personal finance and earmark inquiry; Mollohan steps down from ethics committee temporarily

On April 7, 2006 The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department had opened a federal inquiry into Mollohan's finances and "whether they were disclosed properly." The conservative National Legal and Policy Center filed a report with the Justice Department that alleged that Mollohan failed to properly disclose his personal finances on 250 separate occassions. Mollohan is also criticized for his earmarking of funds to a community of nonprofits in West Virginia "that are run by people who contribute regularly to Mr. Mollohan's campaigns, political-action committee and a family foundation." One of those people is a former staffer of Mollohan's, Laura Kuhns, who runs the Vandalia Heritage Foundation and sits on the board of two other nonprofits receiving earmarked funds from Mollohan. Kuhns and Mollohan, along with their spouses, over the past few years have become real estate partners creating a sudden surge in Mollohan's wealth. In 2000 the Mollohan's showed assets up to $565,000 and debt up to $465,000. In 2004 those assets had increased to "between $6.3 million and $24.9 million, with liabilities of $3.7 million to $13.5 million, mostly mortgages."[10]

The National Legal and Policy Center alleges foul play in the increase in Mollohan's assets declaring in a statment, ""The bottom line is Mollohan got very wealthy in a four year period. His account of his finances during this period is demonstrably false. The fact that he earmarked well over $100 million in tax dollars to groups associated with his business partner is about as big a red flag as one can imagine."[11]

An unnamed Democratic strategist believes the GOP wants to see Mollohan "defeated for one reason and one reason only -- because of his dedication to cleaning up Washington and making sure" the ethics committee "does it's job of cleaning up the Congress and protecting the American people from lobbyists and special interests." This has gotten him a "target on his back." [12]

House Speaker Dennis Hastert immediately called on Mollohan to resign his post as ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee.[13] Hastert even pondered whether Mollohan, who has been at the center of a bitterly partisan battle over the role of the House Ethics Committee since Tom DeLay was admonished in 2004, has been holding the committee hostage to keep it from investigating his own finances. "Hastert said that he has wondered whether a partisan dispute that has kept the ethics panel from operating for a year and a half could stem from Mollohan's concerns about a closer look at his own conduct."[14] After the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee Tom Reynolds (R-NY) echoed Hastert in calling for Mollohan to resign his post on the committee Mollohan fired back declaring Reynolds' statement "the best evidence of the partisan political nature" of Republican allegations that Democrats are responsible for the ethics panel's stalemate."[15]

Mollohan has not shied away from battling back the allegations and has attacked the National Legal and Policy Center as a partisan organization attacking him for partisan reasons. Mollohan issued the following response to the NLPC, "The NLPC has in the past targeted Democrats with charges that later proved to be without merit. Obviously I am in the crosshairs of the National Republican Party and like-minded entities, such as the NLPC."[16] The National Legal and Policy Center "refused to release what he said was a 500-page complaint because some of the information it contains has not been thoroughly verified."[17]

He has also chosen to defend his finances and his personal financial disclosure forms, "I would never be so bold as to say that there are no errors whatsoever in the 24 annual financial disclosure statements I have filed as a member of Congress. If there are any errors in those forms, they were inadvertent, and I am convinced that they are not material — that is, those forms provide an accurate picture of the investments, income and liabilities of my wife and me in the manner prescribed by the financial disclosure law ... The value of our holdings has increased in recent years, but it is highly deceptive to look at the value of our holdings without also looking at our liabilities. Each of the major investment properties we own is heavily mortgaged."[18]

The National Legal and Policy Center is heavily funded by conservative foundations, including the Sarah Scaife Foundation and Scaife Family Foundation, which have contributed approximately $400,000 since 1996.[19] The National Legal and Policy Center similarly attacked Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) over alleged campaign finance violations. Cantwell was found to have missed a reporting deadline, but was cleared of the more serious charge leveled by the NLPC. [20]

On April 21, 2006, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi announced that Mollohan would step down from the ethics committee, possibly temporarily, while he defends himself from the ethics charges. [21] The Charleston Daily Mail reported on May 17th that a number of the non-profits connected to Mollohan were subpoenaed by federal investigators and boxloads of their papers were carted away from office buildings.[22]

On June 13, 2006, Mollohan filed two dozen corrections to his past six annual financial disclosure forms, arguing that his accountant had uncovered several unintentional errors. He had left out one major transaction in which in he took out a $2.3 million 'back-to-back loan.' Mollohan did not believe that he had to report this previously because the net value was zero. [23]

Earmarks for family-run charity

On June 22, Bloomberg reported that Mollohan aided in giving at least $179 million in U.S. government contracts to companies that contributed to his family-run charity over the past six years. Among them, money was sent to 21 nonprofit groups and companies that gave $225,427 to the Robert H. Mollohan Family Charitable Foundation, for which Mollohan is secretary, in 2004.[24]

Principally as a result of these scandals, Mollohan was named in 2006 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of the twenty most corrupt US legislators. [25]

Control of the FBI budget

With Democrats reclaiming the majority for the 110th Congress, Mollohan became in position to take over the chairmanship House Appropriations Subcommittee for Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies for the 110th Congress. That position would put him in charge of the budget of the FBI, the federal agency investigating him for allegedly earmarking money to companies that contributed to his family's charitable organization. [26]


Born May 14, 1943 in Fairmont, West Virginia, Mollohan attended Greenbrier Military School and the College of William and Mary, completing a law degree at West Virginia University. When his father, Bob Mollohan, retired from Congress in 1982, he endorsed his son as his successor. Alan was elected that November in a very competitive contest.

2006 election

In 2006, the Republicans nominated Chris Wakim to challenge Mollohan in his November bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) Mollohan won the race handily.

2010 election

In 2010, Mollohan was defeated in the Democratic primary by conservative Democrat Mike Oliverio. Oliverio then lost in the general election to Republican David McKinley.[1]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00002214&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Alan Mollohan
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and affiliations


  • House Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, Chair
    • Subcommittee on Interior and Environment
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans’ Affairs

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

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael A. Oliveriol profile, The Washington Post, accessed January 2011.
  2. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.



Local blogs and discussion sites

Articles by Mollohan

Reports and press releases

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