Pete V. Domenici

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search
Pete Domenici currently served as a Senator for New Mexico from 1973-2008

Peter "Pete" Vichi Domenici, a Republican, represented the state of New Mexico in the Senate from 1973-2008.

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

National security and foreign policy

In June 1996, with Sens. Richard Lugar (R-N.M.) and Sam Nunn (R-Ga.), Sen. Domenici introduced the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996, also known as the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Amendment to the FY1997 National Defense Authorization Act, as an alternative to the Defend America Act of 1996, which failed to pass in the House of Representatives.

Main article: Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996

Iraq War

Domenici 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.

On July 5, 2007, Domenici "called for a change in course in U.S. military strategy in Iraq — without waiting for the September report on the 'surge.' ... Domenici said he supports a bipartisan Senate bill which backs the recent report by the Iraq Study Group and would create conditions that could allow for a drawdown of U.S. combat forces in Iraq by next March."[1]

Domenici was also a co-sponsor of the Iraq Study Group Recommendation Implementation Act of 2007, intended to makes the Iraq Study Group's 79 recommendations the policy of the United States, and ask the Bush administration, working with military and diplomatic leaders, to implement those recommendations. The bill is also intended to create conditions that could allow for a drawdown of American combat forces in Iraq by March 2008.

Main article: Iraq Study Group Recommendation Implementation Act of 2007

Environmental record

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

Energy policy and companies

In 2006, Domenici and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) sponsored the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. The legislation planned to open 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico and share 37.5 percent of the new royalty revenues, dedicated to coastal protection, with Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. The legislation was passed and signed by President George W. Bush.

Main article: U.S. federal oil and gas royalties
Oil Record

Pete Domenici has in favor of big oil companies on 78% of important oil-related bills, according to Oil Change International. These bills include Iraq War funding, climate change studies, oil import reductions, and clean energy.[2] See below for oil money in politics.

Promoting nuclear power

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

  1. Staff, "GOP Congressman Joins Sen. Domenici in Breaking With White House on War," Editor & Publisher, July 5, 2007.
  2. Vote Tracker

In a five part series on the nuclear revival in the US in January 2007, MSNBC identified Domenici as the "Nuclear Renaissance Man" and Congress’ "chief nuclear apostle".

"If the renaissance that the U.S. nuclear power industry predicts for itself is indeed occurring, then Pietro “Pete” Vichy Domenici, the son of Italian immigrants, may be seen as both its Michelango and its Machiavelli" said the article, noting that the nuclear industry had "showered" him "with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions".

The article highlighted how:

  • Domenici worked "tirelessly as the chairman of two powerful Senate committees with direct control of federal spending on nuclear energy and regulation". However, with the Democrats taking control of Congress, he has now lost the chairmanships of the Energy Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Water and Energy.
  • He has been heavilly funded by nuclear companies. Since 1989, "Domenici has received $1.2 million in campaign donations from individuals and political action committees in the energy and natural resources sector, well over a tenth of the total $10.8 million he has raised for his Senate campaigns in that time, according to federal election records". Domenici’s campaign donors include at least three dozen members of the Nuclear Energy Institute.
  • Whislt funded by the nuclear industry, he boasts "proudly of how he brought an 'adversarial' Nuclear Regulatory Commission to heel". In 1998 he threatened to slash the NRC's budget unless it became "friendlier" to the nuclear industry;
  • Also whilst funded by the industry, the senator’s "signature achievement" was winning passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which contained $85 billion in subsidies and tax breaks across all energy sectors, including $13 billion for nuclear power.
  • In the mid-1990s, Domenici attacked the US's retreat from nuclear after Three Mile Island and Chernobyl as based on "irrational fear," and "deliberate misinformation" and "propaganda" from anti-nuclear activists.
  • Dominici has championed a $1.5 billion uranium enrichment facility in his home state of New Mexico. The article notes that at the time the consortium sought NRC licensing, its partners included three of the top U.S. nuclear power plant operators — Exelon, Entergy and Duke and Westinghouse, which has since left venture. Also involced are the Shaw Group which is designing and engineering the plant and Areva which is handling waste from the facility.
  • In the past eight years, "political action committees linked to those six firms spent more than $15 million trying to influence the outcome of U.S. elections, ... Domenici received nearly $38,000, well more than the per capita income in his state"
  • As Dominici worked on the uranium enrichment project, "his top Energy Committee aide was Alex Flint, who had previously been a highly paid, registered lobbyist for nuclear interests, including Exelon, Westinghouse and Areva. Flint is now the nuclear industry’s top lobbyist at the Nuclear Energy Institute.[1]

CLEAN Energy Act resistance

Domenici opposed the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007, which addressed royalties and tax breaks previously afforded to oil and gas companies. He claimed the act's strict renewable energy requirements would be too difficult to meet for regions of the country that can produce little wind energy to comply.[2]

Main article: CLEAN Energy Act of 2007#Disagreements over renewable energy

Tobacco issues

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

  1. Mike Stuckey, "Sen. Pete Domenici: Nuclear Renaissance Man - Long-Serving Lawmaker is Driving Force Behind US. Industry's Rebirth", MNSBC, January 24, 2007
  2. Kathryn A. Wolfe, "Talks Over Renewable Energy Falter," CQ, June 20, 2007.

Sen. Domenici voted "no" on increasing tobacco restrictions in June 1998, however the bill, known as the McCain bill, would also have also granted the tobacco companies protection from liability, something many health advocacy organizations strongly opposed. in 2003, the American Public Health Association gave Pete Domenici a rating 0%, indicating a stronly anti-public health voting record.[1]

Role in U.S. attorney firings controversy

In early 2007, after he had been fired as the U.S. attorney for New Mexico, David Iglesias alleged that he had been pressured by Domenici about the pace of an investigation of a New Mexico Democrat in late 2006 (weeks before his firing). Domenici initially denied speaking to him. He stated “I have no idea what he’s talking about.” Later, however, he admitted calling Iglesias, stating “I asked Mr. Iglesias if he could tell me what was going on in that investigation and give me an idea of what time frame we were looking at.” [2]

Domenici’s actions appeared to violate Senate rules. In a discussion of Senate Rule 43, the Senate Ethics Manual states that “[t]he general advice of the Ethics Committee concerning pending court actions is that Senate offices should refrain from intervening in such legal actions . . . until the matter has reached a resolution in the courts.” The manual also indicates that senators should not consult with an agency regarding any enforcement or investigative matter. [3]

In a request for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation, CREW alleged that Domenici violated Rule 43 by pressuring Iglesias to “act quickly on a pending corruption investigation.” In addition, because Domenici made the call shortly before the November 2006 congressional elections, he may have violated the clause restricting members from contacting agencies on the basis of political considerations. [4]

On March 7, 2007, Domenici hired Lee Blalack, formerly an attorney for former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.), as his legal counsel. [5]

The Senate Ethics Committee confirmed suspicions that Domenici was the subject of a "preliminary inquiry" in the language of a resolution passed on April 17, 2007. The "inquiry" is investigating alleged communication between Domenici and Iglesias. [6]

Admonished by Ethics Committee

On April 24, 2008, Dominici was admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for “inappropriately” contacting in 2006 one of the nine U.S. attorneys later fired by President Bush.[7]

The light punishment came after the committee found “no substantial evidence” that Domenici tried to influence attorney David Iglesias when he contacted him to inquire about the status of a 2006 investigation into corruption charges on a state Democratic official. A possible indictment could have buoyed the re-election hopes of Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), who is currently seeking to replace Domenici when the senator retires after his current term. Iglesias charged that Domenici and Wilson were pressuring him to wrap up the investigation before that November’s elections, a violation of ethics rules.[8]

The Ethics Committee, which spent nearly $5,000 to send three staff members to Albuquerque in March and July of 2007 to investigate the matter, said that Domenici’s phone call to Iglesias, in advance of an upcoming election, “created an appearance of impropriety that reflected unfavorably on the Senate.”[8]

Main article: Bush administration U.S. attorney firings controversy

Michael Mukasey nomination

Sen. Domenici voted FOR the confirmation Bush appointee Michael Mukasey as Attorney General of the U.S. on Nov. 8, 2007. Six Democrats and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) joined most Republicans in the 53-40 vote confirming Mukasey. No Republicans voted against him. [1] Mukasey's nomination was surrounded by controversy after he called waterboarding "repugnant" but refused to say whether it was illegal under anti-torture laws.

Main article: Michael Mukasey


Domenici was born May 7, 1932 in Albuquerque. After earning a degree in education at the University of New Mexico in 1954, taught math at Garfield Junior High in Albuquerque beginning in 1955. He earned his law degree at the University of Denver in 1958 and returned to practice law in Albuquerque. [2]

In 1966 Domenici successfully ran for a position on the Albuquerque City Commission and in 1968 was elected Commission Chairman. This position was equivalent to that of "Mayor" under the structure of the city government at the time.[3]

After making an unsuccessful bid for Governor of New Mexico in 1970, two years later Domenici successfully ran for a position in the U.S. Senate. He was re-elected in 1978, 1984, 1990, 1996, and 2002, making him the longest-serving senator in the state's history.

Domenici is an avid proponent of nuclear power and has published two books on the subject: "A Brighter Tomorrow: Fulfilling the Promise of Nuclear Energy" (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004), which he wrote; and "Advanced Nuclear Technologies - Hearing Before the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate" (Collingdale, Pennsylvania: D I A N E Publishing Company, 1999), which he edited.

Domenici is the fifth-most senior sitting senator, and second-most senior sitting Republican. If the Republicans obtained a majority in 2008, he would be in line to become President Pro Tempore.

Retirement from Senate

It was expected on October 4, 2007 that Sen. Domenici would announce that he would not seek a seventh term. Second among Republicans in seniority, Domenici has fought health problems in recent years, but Republican leaders had hoped that he would follow through on plans to seek reelection for a seat that Democrats were eyeing. Republican officials close to the senator said that his health concerns took precedence.[9]

A Republican reportedly close to the senator said the chief issue in the decision was health and that Domenici and his wife had concluded that he no longer had the physical stamina to wage a re-election campaign, especially if the race was tough. Domenici has arthritis and was said to appear increasingly frail. [10]

Until the week of October 1, 2007 Domenici appeared to be on a campaign track raising money at a fast pace. The six-term Domenici joined four other Republicans in not seeking re-election: Sens. John Warner, Chuck Hagel, Wayne Allard and Larry Craig. Nine House Republicans had also announced their retirement. [11]

The most likely Republican candidates to seek Domenici’s seat were Reps. {Heather Wilson]] and Stevan Pearce. Potential Democratic candidates included Rep. Tom Udall, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, and former state attorney general Patricia Madrid. Advisors of Gov. Bill Richardson, reportedly the Democrats’ dream candidate, said that Richardson was not interested in the seat and was focused on the 2008 presidential race. Wealthy businessman Don Wiviot was already in the race and had put up several hundred thousand dollars of his own money into the race. [12]

Wilson to seek seat

According to a source familiar with the decision, Rep. Heather Wilson would reportedly run for the New Mexico Senate seat that opened up when Sen. Pete Domenici announced his resignation. Domenici cited health concerns at a press conference on October 4, 2007. “I am not willing to take a chance that the people who have so honored me with their trust for 40 years might not be served as well as they deserve in the United States Senate,” he said. Wilson had reportedly been taken under Domenici’s wing and her name had topped a list of potential heirs. As a strong campaigner she survived several multimillion-dollar challenges in the swing state including a win by under 1,000 votes in the 2006 election, however she also faced the U.S. Attorney scandal that may have affected a Domenici run. [13]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00006515&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Pete V. Domenici
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 Money in Politics

Pete Domenici has received $138,600 in oil contributions during the 110th congress. $57,500 of those dollars were from industry PACS [14] . In total, Domenici has accepted $350,558 from oil companies since 2000, which makes him one of the top recipients of oil money in the Senate.[15] See above for oil and energy voting record.

Committees and Affiliations

Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

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

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Pete V. Domenici. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
328 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6621
TTYD Number: 202-224-3844
Fax: 202-228-0900
Web Email

District Office - Albuquerque:
Alburquerque Plaza
201 3rd Street, Northwest, Suite 710
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: 505-346-6791
Fax: 505-346-6720

District Office - Las Cruces:
505 South Main, Suite 118
Loretto Town Center
Las Cruces, NM 88001
Phone: 505-526-5475
Fax: 505-523-6589

District Office - Roswell:
Federal Building
500 North Richardson Street, Suite 227
Roswell, NM 88201
Phone: 505-623-6170
Fax: 505-625-2547

District Office - Santa Fe:
120 South Federal Place, Suite 302
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone: 505-988-6511
Fax: 505-988-6514

Articles and resources


Related SourceWatch articles

Local blogs and discussion sites


This is a profile of a former U.S. senator. (See all the New Mexico portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
New Mexico state flag.png

Things you can do:


  1. Domenici voting profile, under "Pete Domenici on Healthcare"
  2. CREW: Request for Senate Ethics Committee investigation of Sen. Pete Domenici
  3. CREW: Request for Senate Ethics Committee investigation of Sen. Pete Domenici
  4. CREW: Request for Senate Ethics Committee investigation of Sen. Pete Domenici
  5. Paul Kiel, "Domenici Lawyers Up," TPM Muckraker, March 7, 2007.
  6. John Bresnahan, "Senate Ethics Confirms Domenici Probe Over U.S. Attorney Firing," Politico, April 17, 2007.
  7. Paul Kane, "Domenici Rebuked for Call to U.S. Attorney Before Election," The Washington Post, April 25, 2008.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Manu Raju, "Senate ethics panel admonishes Domenici,", April 25, 2008.
  9. Shailagh Murray and Chris Cillizza, “Republican Domenici Is Set to Retire From Senate,” ‘’The Washington Post’’, October 4, 2007.
  10. David M. Herszenhorn, “Republican Senator Stalwart From New Mexico Is Said to Be Retiring,” ‘’The New York Times’’, October 4, 2007.
  11. Shailagh Murray and Chris Cillizza, “Republican Domenici Is Set to Retire From Senate,” ‘’The Washington Post’’, October 4, 2007.
  12. Shailagh Murray and Chris Cillizza, “Republican Domenici Is Set to Retire From Senate,” ‘’The Washington Post’’, October 4, 2007.
  13. Jackie Kucinich and Aaron Blake, “Wilson to seek Senate seat,” ‘’The Hill’’, October 5, 2007.
  14. Follow the Oil Money-Senate
  15. Vote Tracker

<tdo>resource_id=39176 resource_code=domenici_pete search_term=Pete Domenici</tdo>

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

Current Office: None
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

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

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Committees: Senate Committee on Appropriations, 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 Homeland Security, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Interior Environment and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Transportation Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on the Budget, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs/Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs/Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management Government Information Federal Services and International Security, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs/Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs/Subcommittee on State Local and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 7, 1972
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 1973
Next Election:
Term Ends:
January 3, 2009
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
U.S. Senate, Chair of the Albuquerque City Commission (equivalent then to Mayor),Albuquerque City Commissioner
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
Phone: / Fax:

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: May 7, 1932