Silvestre Reyes

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Silvestre Reyes currently serves the 16th Congressional district of State

Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat, has represented the Sixteenth Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997. (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 Silvestre Reyes voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Iraq War

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

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

Contradicting opinions on the ability to add troops to Iraq

In an exclusive interview with Newsweek on December 5, 2006. Rep Silvestre Reyes said, "We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq... I would say 20,000 to 30,000." [1]

After the President's January 10, 2007 announced plan for a troop surge however, the Rep. Reyes told the El Paso Times that a 21,500 troop increase was unthinkable. "We don't have the capability to escalate even to this minimum level". [2]

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

Confusion on terrorist groups in 2006 CQ interview

In a December 2006 interview with CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein — after Reyes had been named the next chair of the House Intelligence Committee by incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — Reyes was unable to answer two fundamental questions about the Middle East correctly:

  • Reyes incorrectly identified al Qaeda as having a mix of Shiites and Sunnis, but predominantly Shiite. As Stein noted:
"He couldn’t have been more wrong... the extremist Sunnis who make up al Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics. Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil."
  • Reyes was unable to identify Hezbollah as Shiite or Sunni (it is a Shiite group).

To Reyes' credit, Stein wrote:

"He knows that the 1,400-year-old split in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites not only fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq, it drives the competition for supremacy across the Middle East between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. That’s more than two key Republicans on the Intelligence Committee knew when I interviewed them last summer. Reps. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.) and Terry Everett (R-Ala.) both back for another term, were flummoxed by such basic questions, as were several top counterterrorism officials at the FBI." [3]

Alleged nepotism and defense contracts

As reported in the April 25, 2005 edition of the El Paso Times, "All three children of U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, worked in some capacity for defense contractors that were criticized by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. General Services Administration for installing faulty or incomplete equipment for a border security technology system. International Microwave Corp. and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. — through their political action committees and others — also gave Reyes about $17,000 in campaign contributions during the past five years." [4]"

Reyes responded, "I had no role in whatever way of anyone getting these contracts. These contracts, whether they're bid or no-bid or whatever, that's done by the different (government) agencies," Reyes said. "My job, as I see it, since I used systems like this and since I know how important they are to Border Patrol agents in those situations, is to make sure we're out there funding them so that we can get these systems installed throughout the border."[5]"

PAC Money

In the spring of 2007 $50,000 was raised for Reyes by his brother through a new political action committee, BEST PAC. Almost all of the money raised was by the staff and clients of the PMA Group lobbying firm. Within weeks the same donors gained millions of dollars in earmarks from Reyes and members of Congress closely associated with PMA.[2]

BEST PAC was established by Jesus “Chuy” Reyes, Reyes’ brother and campaign manager, on March 1, 2007. By the first week of June 2007, the PAC had raised $35,000 from 32 people, nearly all of whom were employees of the PMA Group or an employee of a defense or intelligence technology firm represented by PMA. Most of the donations were made before the House Intelligence Committee approved the 2008 intelligence authorization bill, which included earmarks for the PAC donors. Most of the non-PMA related persons and firms that donated to BEST PAC were affiliated with the lobbying firm Potomac Advocates, known as PRASAM, which specialized in defense and intelligence matters. Many of the BEST PAC donors were also long-time supporters of Reps. John Murtha (D-Pa.),Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), and Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.). In July 2007 those three members and Reyes provided twelve earmarks for a total of $30 million in the defense appropriations bill for donors to BEST PAC.

BEST PAC made four donations by October 1, 2007. $21,430 was given to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, two $2,300 contributions to the New Hampshire Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Katrina Swett, and a third contribution of $5,000 to Swett was reported to the FEC by BEST PAC's treasurer as returned by Swett because it exceeded the PAC's contribution limits. Swett, the daughter of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and wife of ex-Rep. Dick Swett (D.-N.H.), ended her campaign in late September, 2007. Jesus Reyes said that he did not know who PMA is and that the fundraising for the PAC was set up through his daughter who is Reyes’ fundraiser and the wife of the PAC’s treasurer, Guillermo Cintron.[3]

Environmental record

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

Reparations for Japanese Latin Americans

Reyes cosponsored The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act in the 110th Congress which would establish a commission that would determine the facts and circumstances involving the relocation, internment and deportation of Japanese Latin Americans.[4]

Main article: Redress for Japanese Latin Americans/ U.S. legislation#Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act of 2007


Reyes was born November 10, 1944 in Canutillo, Texas. He served in the United States Army and worked for the U.S. Border Patrol as the Chief Patrol Agent of the El Paso Border Patrol Sector. Reyes was elected to the U.S. House in 1996.

Congressional career

2006 elections

No major candidates announced their intentions to contest Reyes’ seat in the November 2006 election. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [6] Reyes retained his seat.

2008 elections

2008 superdelegate
This information was gathered by volunteer researchers as part of the Superdelegate Transparency Project on the superdelegates for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. For more info see the Texas superdelegate tracker or visit the STP homepage.

Before Hillary Clinton conceded the race, Silvestre Reyes, as a superdelegate, had endorsed her for President.

For more information and sources, see the state page for this superdelegate linked to in the blue box above.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00006067&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Silvestre Reyes
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)

Coalitions and Caucuses

  • Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, 107th Congress
  • Democratic Task Force on Drugs
  • Executive Committee, Democratic Study Group
  • Founding Member, Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus
  • National Guard & Reserve Components Congressional Members Organization
  • New Democratic Coalition
  • Vice Chair, Democratic Homeland Security Task Force

Boards and other Affiliations

  • 21st Century Democrats
  • El Paso County Democrats
  • Unite El Paso

More Background Data

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


DC Office:
2433 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-4831
Fax: 202-225-2016
Web Email

District Office - El Paso:
310 North Mesa Street, Suite 400
El Paso, TX 79901
Phone: 915-534-4400
Fax: 915-534-7426

Campaign Office:
310 North Mesa Street, Suite 400
El Paso, TX 79901
Phone: 915-534-4400

Articles and resources

See also


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Paul Singer, "Reyes PAC Gets MPA Cash," Roll Call, October 1, 2007.
  3. Paul Singer, "Reyes PAC Gets PMA Cash," Roll Call, October 1, 2007.



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. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

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

Democratic Task Force on Drugs, Democratic Study Group, Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, National Guard & Reserve Components Congressional Members Organization, Democratic Homeland Security Task Force
Committees: House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, House Committee on Armed Services, House Committee on Armed Services/Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, House Committee on Armed Services/Subcommittee on Readiness, House Committee on Armed Services/Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 5, 1996
First Took Current Office:
January 7, 1997
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
None or Not Available,
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 310 North Mesa Street, Suite 400, El Paso, TX 79901
Phone: 915-534-4400 / Fax: 915-534-7426
2. 310 North Mesa Street, Suite 400, El Paso, TX 79901
Phone: 915-534-4400 / Fax:

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: November 10, 1944