Lindsey Graham

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Lindsey Graham currently serves as the Sr. Senator for South Carolina

Lindsey Olin Graham is the Senior Senator for the state of South Carolina. He is a Republican and was first elected in 2002.(map)

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 Lindsey Graham voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Iraq War

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

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

In February 2007, Graham called the Democrats' attempt to bring a nonbinding resolution opposing the troop "surge" in Iraq to a floor vote a “stupid political game,” said Democrats were “afraid” to vote on funding for the war.

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

Subjection of civilians to military law

In a provision earmarked to a spending bill towards the end of the 109th Congress, Graham pushed for the jurisdiction of military courts martial over U.S. civilian contractors in Iraq. The provision was introduced in order to "bring uniformity to the commander's ability to control the behavior of people representing our country." The alleged need for such a provision became apparent amidst several instances of accused U.S. civilian contractor misconduct in Iraq that went unpunished. [5]


On September 20, 2007, Sens. Joe Lieberman, Jon Kyl, Norman Coleman, and Lindsey Graham filed a "Sense of the Senate" resolution as Amendment No. 3017[2] 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."[3]

Stepping stone to war

On 16 February 2012, Senator Graham together with Senators Robert Casey, Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal, introduced Senate Resolution 380, requiring the US government to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.[4] Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, states about this resolution:

They and the other senators have presented their proposal in a particularly deceptive fashion, asserting that they are actually supporting the White House position, which they are not. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta repeated on Feb. 16 that Iran does not have and is not currently building a nuclear device. Before Christmas, he stated clearly that the “red line” for the United States is actual Iranian possession of a nuclear weapon. Even Israel’s intelligence services agree that Iran is not building a bomb. What we are seeing play out in Congress is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) position, which is that Iran has already crossed a “red line.” The AIPAC argument will no doubt be spelled out in more detail next month at the group’s annual convention in the nation’s capital, a meeting that will be addressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and will attract nearly all of Washington’s power brokers.[5]

MJ Rosenberg, the former AIPAC staffer and current commentator, states the same thing. The resolution amounts to the first step to a US war against Iran.[6] Rosenberg concludes:[6]

As noble as their professed concern for Israel may be, the United States is supposed to come first for United States senators. McCain and Graham ought to be ashamed for standing in a foreign country and blatantly placing its government's interests before ours.
But, hey, it's politics, and what could be more important than nailing down support for the next election?

Environmental record

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


Gang of 14- Judicial filibuster

On May 23, 2005, Graham was one of the Gang of 14 senators to forge a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster, thus blocking the Republican leadership's attempt to implement the so-called "nuclear option". Under the agreement, the Democrats would retain the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and the three most conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William H. Pryor, Jr.) would receive a vote by the full Senate. Despite being one of the Senate's more conservative members, he worked on the deal with seven other Democrats to prevent the "nuclear option" from occurring. This has led to anger among the GOP conservative base in his home state.

Graham has suggested that the Gang of 14 could be a valuable coaltion to pass Social Security reform. He told Chris Matthews on Hardball in May 2005, "Watch this group of 14 to come out with some deal for Social Security." Graham later "clarified that Social Security reform was not broached during the negotiations that led to the deal that forestalled the 'nuclear option.'"[6]

Guantanamo and Graham Amendment

It was Graham, the former Judge Advocate, who uncovered previously classified memos showing that military lawyers opposed as illegal the George W. Bush White House's orders to use harsh methods to interrogate prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Graham's request produced the declassification and release of the memos in July 2005. One of the memoranda, authored by the deputy judge advocate general of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. Jack Rives, said several of the "more extreme interrogation techniques, on their face, amount to violations of domestic criminal law" as well as military law, according to the New York Times.[7] Rives also wrote that executing the White House's orders "puts the interrogators and the chain of command at risk of criminal accusations abroad."

More recently, Graham authored an amendment to a Department of Defense Authorization Act restricting the authority of American courts to review applications of habeas corpus by "enemy combatants,"[8] effectively nullifying a June 2004 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing detainees to file habeas corpus petitions to challenge their detentions.(Read Graham's Commentary in the Washington Post ) The amendment passed by a vote of 49-42 in the Senate, sparking outrage among many human rights groups and legal scholars. [7]

High-profile legal scholars including Judith Resnik of Yale Law School, David Shapiro and Frank Michelman of Harvard Law School, and Burt Neuborne of New York University Law School circulated a letter describing the legislation in the starkest of terms:[8]

"The Graham amendment embodies an effort to alter fundamental precepts of our constitutional order. It consigns the protection of fundamental human liberties to unilateral executive determination."

Terror detainee treatment legislation

In September 2006, Graham drew attention when he joined with fellow Republicans John Warner (R-Va.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to oppose legislation backed by the Bush Administration that would have given the government wide freedoms in the treatment, interrogation and prosecution of terror detainees. In addition, the legislation would have included a reinterpretation of the U.S. duties under the Geneva convention. The three senators proposed their own, more moderate legislation dealing with the same issue. [9]

On September 21, the three dissenting senators reached a compromise with the White House which included many of the provisions from the administration's initial bill, but eliminated the use of secret evidence unavailable to the defense during terror trials and any explicit reinterpretation of the Geneva Convention. [10]

Alito Confirmation Hearings

During the Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Judge Samuel Alito for a seat on the United States Supreme Court, Graham was accused by Democrats of having coached Alito before the hearings, having sat on a "moot court" at the White House before the hearings.[9] The Village Voice went so far as to state, "Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, may very well have irreparably compromised himself." [10] According to Think Progess, a project of the American Progress Action Fund, "Coaching a judicial nominee behind-the-scenes is not the proper role for a Judiciary Committee member who must subsequently sit in judgment on that nominee," writes Think Progress, . "It could be a violation of the ethical duties of a senator." [11]

Judge rules against service as a military judge

On September 22, 2006, a military court ruled that it is unconstitutional for Graham to serve simultaneously as a military judge. The court never passed on the question of whether Sen. Graham could continue to serve as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

In a statement, the U.S. Court of Appeals said, “One of the purposes served by the separation of powers is that a military accused will not be judged by a member of Congress.” The Air Force announced that it would consider appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Air Force also noted that Graham has been reassigned to a position in the Air Force Administrative Law Division of the Pentagon. [12]



Graham was born July 9, 1955 in Central, South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina at Columbia with a B.A. in Psychology in 1977, and from its school of law with a J.D. in 1981. In 1988, Graham went into private law practice.[13]

Graham served in the United States Air Force (1982-88) as a lawyer, and then in the South Carolina Air National Guard and as an Air Force reservist. During the Gulf War, he was recalled to active duty, serving as a Judge Advocate at McIntire Air National Guard Station in Eastover, South Carolina, where he helped brief pilots on the law of armed conflict, prepared legal documents for deploying troops, and provided legal services for family members of the South Carolina Air National Guard. He received a commendation medal for his service at McEntire. In 2004, Graham received a promotion to Colonel in the US Air Force Reserves at a White House ceremony by President George W. Bush along with Steve Buyer, who was promoted to Colonel in the US Army Reserves. Graham is the only U.S. Senator currently serving in the Guard or Reserves. He is assigned as a Reserve Judge to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals.[14]

In the House

In 1992, Senator Graham was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and in 1994 to the U.S. House of Representatives. Graham, "like 32 other Republican signatories of the Contract With America, swept into Washington on the coattails of Newt Gingrich," though he later became disillusioned with Gingrich and was a key member in the 1997 efforts to oust Gingrich. [15]

Upon joining the House, Graham became a member of the powerful Judiciary Committee. He rose to prominence during the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Graham opposed one article of impeachment in committee vote, making him the only Republican on the Judiciary Committee to vote against any of the four articles.[16] In January and February of 1999, after two impeachment articles had been passed by the full House, he was one of the managers who brought the House's case to Clinton's trial in the Senate. Though the Senate did not convict Clinton, Graham became nationally known.

Graham was reelected to the House in 1996, 1998 and 2000.

Senate Career

In 2002, upon the retirement of the long-serving Senator Strom Thurmond, Graham defeated his Democratic opponent, Alex Sanders for Thurmond's seat.

Washington Monthly writes, "Lindsey Graham is no moderate. He came to Washington as a Newt Gingrich acolyte, served as a House manager of President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, and is pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-tax cut. According to the standard-bearing American Conservative Union, Graham has voted for the conservative position 91 percent of the time since coming to Congress in 1995, identical to the rating with which Strom Thurmond retired. Neither is Graham a maverick like John McCain " [17]

Though his stances are often conservative, he has gained a reputation for speaking out against or criticizing the party line, as well as being open to making compromises. Graham's Senate biography states, "Graham is known as a leader who never abandons his independence or strays from the conservative reform agenda. He has fought to balance the federal budget, provide tax relief to all taxpayers, keep our military adequately funded and prepared, return control of education back to parents and teachers, and ensure the government keeps its promises to America's greatest generation." [18]

Graham has recently been working on bipartisan Social Security Reform with unlikely ally, Hillary Clinton. [19]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00009975&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Lindsey Graham
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


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

More Background Data

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


Campaign contact information

DC Office:
290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5972
Fax: 202-224-3808
Web (Senate Republican Caucus): [20]

District Office - Columbia:
508 Hampton Street, Suite 202
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: 803-933-0112
Fax: 803-933-0957

District Office - Florence:
McMillan Federal Building
401 West Evans Street, Suite 226B
Florence, SC 29501
Phone: 843-669-1505
Fax: 843-669-9015

District Office - Greenville:
101 East Washington Street, Suite 220
Greenville, SC 29601
Phone: 864-250-1417
Fax: 864-250-4322

District Office - Mount Pleasant:
530 Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, Suite 202
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
Phone: 843-849-3887
Fax: 843-971-3669

District Office - Rock Hill:
140 East Main Street, Suite 110
Rock Hill, SC 29730
Phone: 803-366-2828
Fax: 803-366-5353

District Office - Seneca:
135 Eagles Nest Drive, Suite B
Seneca, SC 29678
Phone: 864-888-3330

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

External articles

Articles by Lindsey Graham


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Carah Ong, "Lieberman-Kyl Introduce Provocative Amendment," Iran Nuclear Watch Blogspot, September 21, 2007. Post includes link to copy of amendment.
  3. Editorial: "Countering Iran’s Designs," National Review Online, September 21, 2007.
  4. US Senate Resolution 380: Text, 16 February 2012.
  5. Philip Giraldi, AIPAC Declares War, Antiwar, 23 February 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 MJ Rosenberg, Is the Senate trying to force Obama to go to war?, Al Jazeera, 23 February 2012.
  7. [1]
  8. [2]
  9. [3]
  10. [4]

Local blogs and discussion sites

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. Senate
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry/Subcommittee on Domestic & Foreign Marketing, Inspection, & Plant & Animal Health
Committees: Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Energy Science and Technology, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Domestic and Foreign Marketing Inspection and Plant and Animal Health, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Rural Revitalization Conservation Forestry and Credit, Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senate Committee on Armed Services/Subcommittee on Personnel, Senate Committee on Armed Services/Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senate Committee on Armed Services/Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Senate Committee on the Budget, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on the Constitution Civil Rights and Property Rights, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 5, 2002
First Took Current Office:
January 7, 2003
Next Election:
November 4, 2014
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
US House of Representatives, South Carolina House of Representatives
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 508 Hampton Street, Suite 202 Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: 803-933-0112 / Fax: 803-933-0957
2. McMillan Federal Building 401 West Evans Street, Suite 226B Florence, SC 29501
Phone: 843-669-1505 / Fax: 843-669-9015
3. 101 East Washington Street, Suite 220 Greenville, SC 29601
Phone: 864-250-1417 / Fax: 864-250-4322
4. 530 Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, Suite 202 Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
Phone: 843-849-3887 / Fax: 843-971-3669
5. 140 East Main Street, Suite 110 Rock Hill, SC 29730
Phone: 803-366-2828 / Fax: 803-366-5353
6. 135 Eagles Nest Drive, Suite B Seneca, SC 29678
Phone: 864-888-3330 / Fax:

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: July 9, 1955