Richard Baker

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search
Richard Baker was the U.S. House Representative for the sixth congressional district of Louisiana

Richard Hugh Baker was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives between 1987 and 2008, and represented the 6th District of Louisiana. The district is based in the state capital, Baton Rouge, and includes much of that city's metropolitan area. (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 Richard Baker 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.

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

Environmental record

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

Hurricane Katrina

According to The Wall Street Journal, Baker caused some controversy in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when he was overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." Baker later tried to explain he has long wanted to improve low-income housing. [1]

Baker, a former developer, introduced the "Baker Bill" to aid in reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. Critics of the bill charge it is "a disguised attempt to favor the mortgage industry by bailing local lenders out with government money, rather than incurring major losses from foreclosure of the destroyed property" and "the biggest land grab in history. Supporters say it is "the closest thing to a real solution" that has been offered. [[2]]


Baker was born May 22, 1948 in New Orleans and graduated from Louisiana State University. He stayed in Baton Rouge after graduation and founded a real estate agency. He worked as a Real Estate Developer from 1971-86. In 1971, just a year out of school, he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives as a Democrat from a predominantly blue-collar district in Baton Rouge and served eight terms. In 1986, Baker switched to the Republican Party due to a long-running feud with Governor of Louisiana, Edwin Edwards. Soon afterwards, 6th District Congressman Henson Moore announced he was running for the open Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Russell Long (he was defeated in that race by 7th District Congressman John Breaux). Moore encouraged Baker to run for the seat. No other candidate filed to run, ensuring Baker's election. He was reelected unopposed in 1988 and 1990.

Now Baker is considered one of the most conservative members of Congress with a lifetime rating of "91" from the American Conservative Union. [3] The "National Journal" ranked Baker the 17th most conservative House member for 2005, an achievement for which Baker proudly issued a press release. [4]


In 1992 Louisiana lost a congressional seat as a result of redistricting after the 1990 Census. Clyde Holloway, who had represented the Alexandria-based 8th District, had his home drawn into Baker's district. Baker barely avoided a December runoff, winning by 2,700 votes. After unopposed runs in 1994 and 1996, Baker faced his first Democratic challenger ever in 1998. That year, Marjorie McKeithen, the daughter of longtime Louisiana Secretary of State Fox McKeithen ran against him. Court-ordered redistricting before the 1996 elections had drawn considerably more blacks into the district than Baker had previously represented. Amid a nationwide backlash against Republicans for what was seen as overzealous behavior during the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Baker just barely held onto his seat by over 1,000 votes. He had a slightly easier time in 2000, winning 68% of the vote. Redistricting after the 2000 census drew more blacks into the district, but Baker has fended off his opposition fairly easily, facing no major-party opposition in 2002 and two weak Democrats in 2004. In 2006 he once again won reelection, drawing 81% of the vote. [5]


On January 15, 2008, Baker announced he would leave Congress and take a position as CEO of Managed Funds Association, a lobbying firm that represents the hedge fund industry.[2] Baker represented Louisiana's 6th Congressional District for 22 years, and was a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee. He will resign his seat in Congress in February.[3]

Money in politics


Links to more campaign contribution information for Richard Baker
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)

Organizational Memberships

More Background Data

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


Articles and Resources


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Hedge fund group names Louisiana congressman as CEO, Reuters, January 15, 2008
  3. Jackie Kucinich, Baker leaves Congress to lobby for hedge funds, The Hill, January 15, 2008


Local blogs and discussion sites