Jim Nussle

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Learn more about Pete Peterson-funded astroturf projects at the Fix the Debt Portal.

Jim Nussle served the First and Second Congressional districts of Iowa from 1991 to 2007

James Allen Nussle is a former Republican member of Congress from Iowa (1991-2007). He was Director of George W. Bush's Office of Management and Budget for a little over a year. After leaving the Bush administration, he went on to form a lobbying and media consulting group, the Nussle Group.

Ties to Pete Peterson's "Fix the Debt"

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."

Nussle is on the steering committee of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.[1]

This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of Pete Peterson's Campaign to "Fix the Debt." Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt.

About Fix the Debt
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at PetersonPyramid.org and in the Nation magazine.

Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest

Nussle is on the board of Avista Capital Partners, a $4 billion private equity firm with investments in energy (including shale-based natural gas recovery in the Marcellus formation) and healthcare.[2] Avista Capital has joined the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC),[3] trade group that is fighting efforts to raise the tax rate on "carried interest."[4] Vic Fazio (see above) is a key lobbyist for the group. Other PEGCC members include the Blackstone Group (co-founded by Pete Peterson), Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Apollo Global Management.[4] Nussle is also president and CEO of Growth Energy, a pro-ethanol trade association that has pushed for federal ethanol tax breaks,[5] and for which the Nussle Group has lobbied. While in Congress, Nussle voted to end the moratoria on offshore drilling and drilling in ANWR, and strongly favored privatizing Social Security, which earned him a zero percent rating from the Alliance for Retired Americans.[6] Nussle Group has also lobbied for Fix the Debt firm Verizon. He is now co-chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), the Pete Peterson-funded parent organization of Fix the Debt.

Records and Controversies

Iraq War

Nussle voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[7]

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


Nussle was born June 27, 1960 in Des Moines, Iowa. He was educated at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and Drake University in Des Moines, and was a lawyer before entering the House. When Tom Tauke made an unsuccessful run against Senator Tom Harkin during the 1990 election, Nussle ran as the Republican candidate for Tauke's seat and won.

His second wife, Karen Chiccehitto Nussle, worked for Speaker Newt Gingrich, then later for the lobbying firm of Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, a foreign-owned lobbying firm. In 2002, she was a communications professor at the University of Dubuque and is a regular fixture in his gubernatorial campaign.


Congressional Career

Nussle was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991-2007 representing the 1st District of Iowa (map), and because of redistricting, earlier representing the 2nd District. Nussle was defeated by Democrat Chet Culver in a bid Governor of Iowa in 2006. Democrat Bruce Braley picked up Nussle's old house seat.

Nussle's voting record has been relatively conservative, despite representing a district with a slight Democratic lean.

Nussle was elected to the U.S. House in 1990 in a close race. In 1992, Nussle ran against fellow House member David "Dave" Nagle for because the first and second district had been combined into one after Iowa lost a district after the 1990 census. Nussle won, even though he had only one term under his belt to Nagle's three.

Nussle's first national attention came when he made a speech from the well of the House while wearing a paper bag over his head to protest the "shameful" ethical behavior involved in the House banking scandal. Nussle, and the rest of the Gang of Seven cast themselves as young, idealistic conservatives, looking to reduce corruption in congressional politics.

Gubernatorial Bid

When Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack announced that he would not seek a third term as Governor, Jim Nussle considered a run shortly after Vilsack made his announcement. On June 2, 2005 in Davenport, Iowa Nussle announced he would run for Governor in the 2006. Democrats nominated Bruce Braley and Republicans nominated Mike Whalen to contest the November 2006 election for his vacant seat. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [1] Nussle lost the election to Democrat Chet Culver.

OMB Director

On June 19, 2007, following the resignation of Rob Portman as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, President Bush announced his nomination of Jim Nussle as his Portman's replacement.[8]

Nussle was confirmed September 4, 2007, by the U.S. Senate as Director of the Office of Management and Budget.[9] Nussle replaces Robert J. Portman, who resigned.[10]

President George W. Bush nominated Nussle on June 19, 2007.[11]

Meet the Cash Constituents

Links to more campaign contribution information for Jim Nussle
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org 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

Committees in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and Caucuses

  • Congressional Alcohol Fuels Caucus
  • Vice Chair, National Republican Congressional Committee
  • Co-Chair, Rural Health Care Coalition

Boards and other Affiliations

  • Steering Committee, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) project "Strengthening of America - Our Children's Future"[12] (listed as a partner organization of Fix the Debt[13])
  • Member, Delaware County Farm Bureau
  • Deleware County Economic Development Committee, Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Volunteer Firefighter, Manchester Fire Department.

More Background Data

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

Articles and Resources

Featured SourceWatch Articles on Fix the Debt

External Resources

Local Blogs and Discussion Sites

External Articles


  1. Fix the Debt, CEO Fiscal Leadership Council, organizational document, accessed January 2013.
  2. Avista Capital Partners, "Current Investments", organizational website, accessed January 1, 2013.
  3. William McConnell, "Private equity group gives itself a makeover", The Deal Pipeline, September 15, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Devin Banerjee, "Rubenstein Sees Carried Interest on Table Post Election", Bloomberg Businessweek, November 8, 2012.
  5. Growth Energy, Inc., Lobbying Report, corporate lobbying report filed with U.S. Congress, July 1 - September 30, 2012.
  6. On The Issues, "Jim Nussle On the Issues", organizational website, accessed January 1, 2013.
  7. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  8. Steven T. Dennis, Jennifer Yachnin and Emily Pierce, "Nussle to Replace Portman at OMB," Roll Call, June 19, 2007.
  9. "U.S. Senate confirms Jim Nussle as budget chief," Reuters, September 4, 2007.
  10. William L. Watts, "Portman steps down as Bush budget chief," MarketWatch, June 19, 2007.
  11. News Release: "President Bush Nominates Congressman Jim Nussle as Director of the Office of Management and Budget," Office of the White House Press Secretary, June 19, 2007.
  12. Center for Strategic and International Studies, Strengthening America - Our Children's Future, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  13. Fix the Debt, Partners, campaign website, accessed January 2013.