Mitch McConnell

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Mitch McConnell currently serves as the Sr. Senator for Kentucky

Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr. is the senior U.S. Senator from Kentucky (map). A Republican, he is the Senate Minority Leader since 2007. He was first elected to the Senate in 1984.[1]

This is a profile of a U.S. senator. (See all the Kentucky portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
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Koch Wiki

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

McConnell has attended at least one Koch network donor summit, the June 2014 retreat in California, where he spoke alongside Koch operative [Gentry] and Koch Industries general counsel Mark Holden on a panel titled "Free Speech: Defending First Amendment Rights."[2] A recording of his remarks was obtained by The Nation and The Undercurrent. He began, "I want to start by thanking you, Charles and David for the important work you’re doing. I don’t know where we’d be without you," referring to Charles and David Koch.

The recording also included McConnell's statements on a key Koch issue: fighting campaign finance limits and disclosure rules. Speaking to a room of wealthy donors, McConnell said, "All Citizens United did was to level the playing field for corporate speech…. We now have, I think, the most free and open system we've had in modern times. The Supreme Court allowed all of you to participate in the process in a variety of different ways. You can give to the candidate of your choice. You can give to Americans for Prosperity, or something else, a variety of different ways to push back against the party of government."[3]

Record and Controversies

Talking Strategy at Koch Donor Retreat

In a recording made at the Koch network donor retreat in June 2014, McConnell described plans to "go after" Democrats by attaching riders to spending bills. "No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board [inaudible]. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it."[3] A full transcript of McConnell's remarks is available here.

"Worst Day of My Political Life" Not 9/11 or 2008 Crisis, but Campaign Finance Reform?

In comments made to wealthy political donors at the Koch network retreat in June 2014, McConnell stated that "The worst day of my political life was when President George W. Bush signed McCain-Feingold into law in the early part of his first administration."[3]

As The Nation noted, "To put that in perspective, Mitch McConnell’s thirty-five-year career in the Senate saw the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans, the 2008 housing meltdown that threatened the entire economy and Barack Obama’s election, to cite a conservative bête noire."[3]

Iraq War

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

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


Mitch McConnell has voted in favor of big oil companies on 100% of important oil-related bills from 2005-2007, according to Oil Change International. These bills include Iraq war funding, climate change studies, clean energy, and emissions.[4] See below for oil money in politics.

Amendment to FY2005 Defense Authorization Act

In 2004, during the debate over the FY2005 Defense Authorization Act, McConnell offered an alternative amendment (S.AMDT.3472) to that proposed by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). McConnell's amendment required the president to submit a public report to Congress on the strategy of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq regarding stabilization and rebuilding no later than 120 days after the bill passed. Opponents, mostly Democrats, argued the measure was not strong enough, for unlike that proposed by Kennedy, it did not require President Bush to provide an estimate regarding future troop levels in Iraq. The amendment passed, unlike Kennedy's, in a 71-27 vote.

Main article: Congressional actions on the Iraq War following the 2003 U.S. invasion

President Bush's troop "surge" in Iraq

In late January 2007, Senate Minority Leader McConnell said that Republicans would not attempt to filibuster a non-binding resolution opposing the "surge."

On February 5, 2007, the Senate planned to address several of the nonbinding resolutions concerning the troop "surge." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader McConnell were unable, however, to agree on which resolutions would be debated and the manner in which they would be considered. Before the debate began, Reid offered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a choice. Either all three proposed resolutions could come to a vote, with a simple majority needed for passing any of them, or a debate and vote would be held only on the resolutions introduced by Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), with each requiring sixty votes to pass. McConnell, however, wanted all three resolutions to face a sixty-vote requirement, likely because it was believed only the Gregg measure could reach this threshold. In the end, the two sides could not reach an agreement, and Republicans blocked debate on the bill. Following an attempted cloture vote on one of the measures, which Republicans successfully filibustered, McConnell downplayed the vote as a mere procedural hurdle, calling it a “bump in the road” and added, “We are ready and anxious to have this debate this week.”

On February 17, another cloture vote was attempted on a troop "surge" resolution, but it also failed. Again, the filibuster was caused by a disagreement between Senate leaders. McConnell refused to support a vote on the resolution unless Majority Leader Reid also allowed a vote on a resolution promising that the Senate would continue to fund the war.

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

Attempts to block Iraq spending bill that would bring troops home

On March 26, 2007, McConnell asserted that although he would attempt to block a Democratic effort to force troop withdrawal contained in the Iraq spending bill, he would most likely not push to filibuster the measure, as he was sure that President Bush will veto the package. [1]

"Our goal is to pass it quickly... Our troops need the money." [2]

Unable to override Bush's veto, Democrats would have to redraft the bill without a "surrender deadline," he said. The legislation would require that Bush begin pulling out some troops right away with the goal of ending combat missions by March 31, 2008. [3]

Despite the Democrat's first attempt at including a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq, McConnell expressed confidence following the vote that Bush’s request for a “clean spending bill” (one without any calls for withdrawal) would ultimately pass. He stated, “It may take two tries to get there, but I think that’s very likely going to be the final outcome.”

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

When the first bill passed both chambers and then was vetoed by the President, Democrats attempted a second spending bill without a timetable, which only provided short term funding for the war. McConnell still voiced strong opposition to this provision.

Main article: U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (H.R.2206)

Following a failed cloture vote on Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-Wis.) amendment (S.AMDT.1098) to end funding for the Iraq War in 2008, another attempt to use a spending bill to withdrawal U.S. forces, Minority Leader McConnell stated that "once again, an overwhelming bipartisan majority rejected giving our enemy a timeline for withdrawal...The U.S. Senate has continued to show that an arbitrary surrender date is a non-starter. We need to move forward with the business of ensuring our troops have the funding, training and equipment they need to complete their mission."

Main article: Sen. Feingold measure to end funding for the Iraq War in 2008 (S.AMDT.1098)

Environmental record

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

Hold on Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act

In April 2007, after a Republican Senator placed an anonymous hold on the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act of 2007, which would require Senators to file their campaign finance reports electronically to the Federal Election Commission, the Sunlight Foundation led a campaign to try and discover the identity of the anonymous senator. The eventually sought to procure the name from Minority Leader McConnell. Since all objections to legislation must be lodged with the party leader, McConnell was sure to know who was behind the objection. McConnell refused to release the name of the senator behind the hold. He stated that the failure of the bill's passage lied at the feet of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for refusing to bring the bill up for a floor vote. When Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.} argued that the bill must pass by unanimous consent to avoid unnecessary amendments, McConnell admitted that the objecting Senator wished to add amendments to the bill.

On May 7, 2007, Sen. Feinstein sent a letter to McConnell asking for his help in passing the bill. Sen. Feinstein wrote, "I am ready to meet with [the objecting] Senators to discuss their amendments and try to address their concerns." As of yet, McConnell has not publicly responded.

On June 26, McConnell argued that he would not allow S.1, an important lobbying reform bill (which had passed), to go into conference unless Senate Republicans were allowed to add an amendment to the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act (a so-called "poison pill" amendment). The amendment would allow party committees, like the RNC or the DSCC, to coordinate campaign activities with candidate committees. The amendment was widely opposed to by a majority of Democrats and would not only make the bill's passage impossible in conference or in the House, but also endanger the entire lobbying and ethics reform package. This maneuver was blocked by Majority Leader Reid, but resulted in stalling the appointment of Senate conferees on S. 1.

Main article: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act of 2007

Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007

On June 28, 2007, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) blocked a deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader McConnell that would have started up long-stalled conference proceedings on the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007. DeMint made an objection to the agreement by phone to the Senate floor, minutes after McConnell had said Republicans would drop their objections to naming conferees. DeMint argued that he would not let the bill proceed until certain earmark reforms were accepted. He stated, "We will not have earmark reform during this year’s appropriations process. That is why this is being done," DeMint charged on the floor, adding later that "the only reason to go to conference with [the rules] in is to take them out." Democrats responded, Harry Reid commenting, "Here we are, seconds from going to conference and a call comes in to the Republican cloak room. I understand the Minority Leader has a responsibility to take that ... but the eyes of the nation are on us... to not let us go to conference on some petty issue that my friend has raised is really bad.”

Main article: Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007

Jack Abramoff connection

McConnell "said through his spokesman that the money given to him and his political committee by three [American Indian] tribes will be donated to the Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville, which helps the poor and homeless. While federal records show McConnell received $18,500, his office's accounting showed $19,500, and that is what will be given to Wayside," James R. Carroll reported in the January 5, 2006, Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal.

Clash Over 9/11 bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and McConnell are disputing a provision to a 9/11 Bill. The current legislation gives collective bargaining rights to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners. Republicans have blasted Democrats, arguing that the bill is a giveaway to the labor interests that have given crucial political support to the new majority. Meanwhile, the Democrats say the provision is a necessary clause for this homeland security bill.

9/11 Commission recommendations

On June 26, 2007, Congress Democrats expressed the plan to push for the passage of a bill implementing terrorism-prevention measures suggested by the 9/11 commission. The goal would to pass the bill before the July 4 recess, though it was expected that Senate Republicans, led by Minority Leader McConnell, would probably object to the quick consideration necessary the bill to be sent to the president before the recess. One Democratic House aide commented, "If Sen. McConnell and the Republican leadership in the Senate chose obstruction on this legislation, it serves no one’s interests but the special interests."

Main article: Congressional efforts to implement recommendations of the 9/11 commission

This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

  1. Mitch McConnell profile, The Washington Post, accessed January 2011.
  2. "EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Mitch McConnell at the Koch Brothers Donor Summit," The Undercurrent, August 26, 2014. Accessed September 3, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Lauren Windsor, "Caught on Tape: What Mitch McConnell Complained About to a Roomful of Billionaires (Exclusive)," The Nation, August 26, 2014. Accessed September 2, 2014.
  4. Vote Tracker, Oil Change International.

Tobacco issues

From tobacco industry documents, a 1995 internal R.J. Reynolds email indicates support of Sen. McConnell enjoys from RJR, and Sen. McConnell's support for the tobacco industry:

McConnell is up for reelection in 1996 so don't be surprised if he raises that point and the need for RJRT and the industry to help often and early. As we have done during his previous elections, we will provide maximum help very early...The Senator is our strongest supporter on the product liability and the effective date issue for punitive damages...McConnell is likely to be our preferred point person on the FDA issues in both Appropriations and other legislative vehicles...


Marked funds for firm under investigation

Sen. Mitch McConnell, pushed $25 million in earmarked federal funds for a British defense contractor that is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for bribery. He had taken at least $53,000 in campaign donations from BAE's political action committees and employees since his 2002 re-election. McConnell's earmarks included $12.2 million for five-inch Naval gun mount overhauls; $8 million for Naval destroyer weapons modernization; and $4.8 million for ammunition pallets for Naval ships. "Most politicians decide that a scandal is a good time to stop doing business with a company, at least until the scandal is over, particularly when we're talking about a criminal investigation over bribery. You would think that a member of Congress would want to steer clear of anyone accused of bribery," said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.[1]



McConnell was born February 20, 1942 in Alabama and raised in south Louisville, Kentucky. He graduated from the University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences in 1964, and from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1967. McConnell gained experience on Capitol Hill as an intern under Sen. John Sherman Cooper, later as an assistant to Sen. Marlow Cook, and was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General under President Gerald R. Ford Jr.. From 1978 to his election into the Senate in 1984, he was the County Judge-Executive of Jefferson County, Kentucky, which includes Louisville.[5]

McConnell is married to the Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao.

Senate career

In 1984, McConnell ran against two-term Democratic Senator Dee Huddleston and won by a razor-thin margin — less than half a percentage point.

McConnell faced a tough reelection contest against former Louisville mayor Harvey I. Sloane in 1990, winning by 4.5 points. He had a slightly easier time in 1996 even as Bill Clinton narrowly carried the state. In 2002, he was reelected with the largest majority by a Republican candidate in Kentucky history. On November 12 of that year, McConnell was unanimously elected as Majority Whip of the Senate.

In 2006, following the November elections in which Republicans lost control of the Senate, McConnell was unanimously selected by the Senate Republican caucus to be minority leader for the 110th Congress. He took over the position of top Republican from Sen. Bill Frist (Tenn.), who retired at the end of the 109th Congress. [6]

McConnell has a solidly conservative voting record in the Senate, and is widely considered a "kingmaker" in Kentucky Republican politics.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00003389&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Mitch McConnell
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

Oil and coal money in politics

Mitch McConnell received $305,600 in oil contributions during the 110th congress. $147,000 of those dollars were from industry PACs. In total, McConnell accepted $474,658 from oil companies from 2000 to 2008, making him a leading recipient of oil money.[2] In addition to oil, McConnell has received $187,350 in coal contributions during the 110th congress. $78,250 of those dollars were from industry PACs. See above for oil and energy voting record.[citation needed]

According to Oil Change International, Mitch McConnell received a total of $1.27 million in donations from fossil fuel companies from 1999 to 2011, mainly Peabody Energy.[3]

Committees and affiliations


  • Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
    • Subcommittee on Nutrition and Food Assistance, Sustainable and Organic Agriculture, and General Legislation
    • Subcommittee on Domestic & Foreign Marketing, Inspection, & Plant & Animal Health
    • Subcommittee on Rural Revitalization, Conservation, Forestry and Credit
  • Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
  • Senate Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science
    • Subcommittee on Defense
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water
    • Subcommittee on Military Contruction and Veterans Affairs
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

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

More background data

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


DC Office:
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1702
Web Email

District Office- Bowling Green:
Federal Building
241 East Main Street, Room 102
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: 270-781-1673
Fax: 270-782-1884

District Office- Fort Wright:
1885 Dixie Highway, Suite 345
Fort Wright, KY 41011
Phone: 859-578-0188
Fax: 859-578-0488

District Office- Lexington:
771 Corporate Drive, Suite 108
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: 859-224-8286
Fax: 859-224-9673

District Office- London:
300 South Main Street, Suite 310
London, KY 40741
Phone: 606-864-2026
Fax: 606-864-2035

District Office- Louisville:
601 West Broadway, Suite 630
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: 502-582-6304
Fax: 502-582-5326

Articles and resources


Related SourceWatch articles

Local blogs and discussion sites

External articles

Articles by Mitch McConnell

  • Mitch McConnell, "The Money Gag," (first appeared in National Review, June 30, 1997, pp. 36-38; © by National Review, Inc.).

Articles about Mitch McConnell

Soft money

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:
Minority Leader
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, 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 Nutrition and Food Assistance Sustainable and Organic Agriculture and General Legislation, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Rural Revitalization Conservation Forestry and Credit, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Agriculture Rural Development Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Commerce Justice and Science and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Defense, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on State Foreign Operations and Related Programs, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 6, 1984
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 1985
Next Election:
November 4, 2014
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Jefferson County Judge/Executive, 1978-85
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. Federal Building 241 East Main Street, Room 102 Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: 270-781-1673 / Fax: 270-782-1884
2. 1885 Dixie Highway, Suite 345 Fort Wright, KY 41011
Phone: 859-578-0188 / Fax: 859-578-0488
3. 771 Corporate Drive, Suite 108 Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: 859-224-8286 / Fax: 859-224-9673
4. 300 South Main Street, Suite 310 London, KY 40741
Phone: 606-864-2026 / Fax: 606-864-2035
5. 601 West Broadway, Suite 630 Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: 502-582-6304 / Fax: 502-582-5326

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: February 20, 1942


  1. John Cheves, "McConnell marks funds for contractor,", October 27, 2007.
  2. See "Follow the Oil Money," "Follow the Coal Money," and vote tracker from Oil Change International and Appalachian Voices.
  3. "Mitch McConnell (R-KY)" Oil Change International, accessed January 2012.