Mel Martinez

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Mel Martinez was Senator for Florida 2004-09

Melquiades Rafael "Mel" Martinez, a Republican, represented Florida in the U.S. Senate from 2004-09. Previously Martinez served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush. Mel Martinez is Chairman of Florida, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean for JPMorgan Chase & Co and Chairman of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. He serves on JPMorgan Chase's Executive Committee. [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 Mel Martinez voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!


Martinez resigned from the Senate in August 2009 with another year left in his term. He had previously announced he wouldn't run for re-election.[2]

Iraq War

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

"Terri Schiavo talking points memo"

On April 6, 2005, Martinez accepted the resignation of his legal counsel, Brian Darling [1]. Darling was responsible for writing and circulating a talking points memo that outlined a strategy for the Republicans to use the Terri Schiavo case as "a great political issue" that would appeal to the party's core supporters and could be used against Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, who is up for reelection in 2006. [2]

Martinez immediately denied all knowledge of Darling's involvement in the situation, noting that he himself had inadvertently passed a copy of the memo to Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, believing that it was nothing more than an outline of the Republican proposal. Martinez asserted that the memo "was intended to be a working draft," stating that Darling "doesn't really know how I got it."

The Schiavo memo is the third recent incident in which Martinez accepted broad responsibility while laying blame upon a staffer for the underlying deed. During the Republican primary, a staffer was blamed for a passage in a campaign flyer painting his opponent Bill McCollum as a servant of the "radical homosexual lobby". Shortly thereafter another staffer was blamed for labelling federal agents involved in the Elián González affair as "armed thugs." (St Pete Times: New gaffe, old Martinez defense).

Illegal campaign contributions

In September 2006, Justice Department officials charged William Scott Deloach, the former chief financial officer of PBS&J, a Florida-based engineering firm, with funneling $10,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Martinez's 2004 Senate campaign. Deloach made the contributions through the names of six ficticious individuals. In August 2006, PBS&J were awarded a FEMA contract worth up to $250 million. [3]

Criticism for stance on illegal immigration

Martinez was criticized by some for his support for a "guest-worker" for illegal immigrants. An online site,, stated "Now that George W. Bush has seen fit to put 'Amnesty Mel' in charge of the RNC, I suppose he thinks a part time Senator for our state is all that is needed. You know, because the full time head of the RNC did such a bang-up job last time." The site advocated changes to U.S. policy regarding immigration such as [4]:

  • Building a wall across the U.S. border with Mexico, and then using the National Guard and the Minutemen to stop the flow of immigrants across it.
  • Fining companies $50,000 for hiring illegal immigrants (first offense) and $500,000 for each additional offense. [5]

Finance campaign irregularities

In April 2007, the Federal Election Commission discovered "irregularities" in general chairman of the Republican National Committee 2004 senatorial campaign. According to the audit the campaign,

accepted contributions exceeding limits by a total of $313,235; failed to properly report funds raised by joint committees, as well as $162,014 raised in the days before the primary and general elections; and didn't do enough to collect information on donors' occupations and employers.[6]


Martinez was born October 23, 1946 in Sagua La Grande, Cuba. He came to the United States in 1962 as part of Operation Pedro Pan, a humanitarian program that helped Cuban children escape communist Cuba. He subsequently lived in two youth facilities and with two foster families until he was reunited with his family in Orlando, Florida in 1966.

Martinez graduated from the Florida State University College of Law in 1973. He practiced law for 25 years in Orlando. Before becoming Secretary of HUD, Martinez was the elected Chairman of Orange County, Florida, and served on the Governor's Growth Management Study Commission. He had also served as President of the Orlando Utilities Commission, on the board of directors of a community bank, and as Chairman of the Orlando Housing Authority. Martinez was co-chair of George W. Bush's 2000 campaign and a leading fundraiser.

Martinez resigned his cabinet post on December 12, 2003 to run for an open U.S. Senate seat in Florida being vacated by retiring Democrat Bob Graham. Martinez' election made him the first Cuban-American to serve in the U.S. Senate. He was endorsed early by many prominent Republican groups, and publicly supported by key national Republican figures such as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. His Cuban background and his popularity in the battleground Orlando, Florida region both contributed to his appeal to the statewide GOP in Florida.

After a close and nasty primary against Bill McCollum, Martinez defeated his Democratic opponent, Betty Castor, in a very close general election.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00026748&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Mel Martinez
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 Mel Martinez. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Articles and resources


  1. ABout, Bipartisan Policy, accessed April 21, 2012
  2. Mel Martinez profile, The Washington Post, accessed December 2010.


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:

Committees: Senate Special Committee on Aging, Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senate Committee on Armed Services/Subcommittee on Seapower, Senate Committee on Armed Services/Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs, Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs/Subcommittee on Housing Transportation and Community Development, Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs/Subcommittee on Security and International Trade and Finance, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources/Subcommittee on Energy, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources/Subcommittee on National Parks
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 2, 2004
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 2005
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, County Mayor of Orange County, Chairman of the Orlando Housing Authority, Chairman of the Orlando Utilities Commission
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 800 Douglas Road, Suite 148, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: 305-444-8332 / Fax:
2. 315 East Robinson Street, Landmark Center 1, Suite 475, Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: 407-254-2573 / Fax:

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: October 23, 1946