Charles H. Taylor was a Republican who represented North Carolina's 11th Congressional district (map) in the United States House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007. He was defeated in the 2006 congressional elections by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).
- 1 Bio
- 2 Meet the Cash Constituents
- 3 Controversy
- 4 Committees and Affiliations
- 5 More Background Data
- 6 Articles and Resources
- 7 Contact
Taylor received his BA from Wake Forest University in 1963 and his JD in 1966, also from Wake Forest. Prior to serving in Congress, he was a tree farmer and a banker.
Taylor was elected to his eighth consecutive term in the 2004 Congressional elections, earning 55% of the popular vote and defeating Democrat Maggie Lauterer.
Political analysts have been taken by surprise over the past decade, as Taylor has continued to be reelected in what was once a marginally Democratic district. Taylor has won with 55-65% of votes in recent elections. Democrats recruited former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler to move into North Carolina from his home in Knoxville, Tennessee to run for Taylor's seat in 2006. Shuler defeated Taylor 54% to 46% to take possession of the seat. 
Taylor voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.
Positions and Views
In his first term, as a member of the Gang of Seven, a group of young, idealistic Republican freshmen, Taylor worked to expose the congressional corruption in the form of Rubbergate, the House banking scandal.
He has been critized by environmental activists and has been dubbed with the nickname "Chainsaw Charlie" by his detractors.
Meet the Cash Constituents
|Links to more campaign contribution information for Charles Taylor
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org 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|
Taylor serves on the advisory board of National Wilderness Institute, an organization that claims to be the "voice of reason on the environment." NWI is dedicated to weakening the Endangered Species Act and other environmental protections. 
A vote was not recorded for Taylor on the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement, which passed by two votes. Taylor had previously stated that he was opposed to the agreement. Taylor's spokesperson said that Taylor had attempted to vote but that the machine failed to record it. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, however, noted that Taylor voted on several other matters that day.  
Savings and loan scandal
In 2001 a federal investigation was made into fraudulent loans made by the Blue Ridge Savings & Loan bank, which was founded and is chaired by Taylor. The probe produced guilty pleas by Taylor's former campaign manager and one of his biggest campaign donors, but did not result in charges for Taylor himself. 
Taylor is the majority owner of a bank and a frequent real estate investor in Russian city of Ivanovo. 
In 2005, Taylor created and funded the International Trade and Small Business Institute through an earmark for the Small Business Administration. The institute, funded by federal tax money, sends seven or eight students from Russia to study business at North Carolina schools and has an annual budget of $12 million. Taylor has touted the program as a way to foster small business development in Russia. The Russian coordinator for the program is Marina Bolshakov, who is the co-owner of the Ivanovo bank with Taylor as well as his business partner in the Columbus Russian investment partnership. Taylor has stated that Bolshakov is unpaid for her work on the program. 
The Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas, a non-profit that Taylor helped found in 1997 and whose $12 million budget is funded entirely by federal tax dollars, also receives money from the Russian program earmark. Two of the Consortium's board members are also Taylor campaign donors. 
More information on the Russian deals can likely be found here:
- Angie Newsome, "The businessman and congressman: Taylor’s interest puts Russian town on political map amid praise, criticism," Asheville Citizen-Times, August 28, 2005.
Earmarks for non-profit group
In 1999, Taylor met with the presidents of four colleges in his district to plan a strategy for attracting high-tech jobs to the area. From these meetings, the tax-exempt Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas began. In the years since its founding, Taylor has been able to use his influence on the House Appropriations Committee to receive funding for the program. In one 2006 appropriations bill, ERC-linked schools received $2 million for an astronomical research center, $1 million for a computer engineering program and an additional $1 million for no assigned purpose, according to the nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense. In addition, a Taylor earmark provided $2.8 million to the National Climatic Data Center, where the ERC operates a fiber-optic network and ERC board member Max Lennon manages a business interpreting weather data. Taylor has been heavily criticized by his 2006 re-election opponent, former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler, for his reliance on earmarking to serve non-profit groups (who do not pay taxes). 
Principally as a result of these scandals, Taylor was named in 2006 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of the twenty most corrupt US legislators. 
Earmarks used for personal benefit
In October 2006, the Wall Street Journal ran an report claiming that Taylor had earmarked millions of dollars in federal funds for a project that would create a highway in a rural area where he owned land. Taylor vigorously denied the charges and claimed that he owned no land in the area. On October 25, however, The Hill revealed that public land records still list Taylor as the owner of 17 acres in the area.
Committees and Affiliations
Committees in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)
- House Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Interior and Environment and Related Agencies - Chair
- Subcommittee on Science State Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies
Coalitions and Caucuses
- Chair, Task Force on Environmental Balance
- Vice-Chair, Energy Task Force
- Republican Study Committee
- Rural Health Care Coalition
Boards and other Affiliations
- Congressional Coalition on Adoption
- North Carolina Board of Transportation
- North Carolina Energy Policy Council
- Board of Visitors, United States Military Academy, West Point
- Vice Chair, Western North Carolina Environmental Council.
More Background Data
Articles and Resources
- Official website
- Campaign website
- National Wilderness Institute
- Group Calls for Taylor Investigation in Loan Fraud Case by Damon Chappie, Roll Call, 8/11/03
- Taylor Accepts Award for Russian Investments by Cory Reiss, Hendersonville News, 12/9/05
- Open Secrets - 2006 congressional races database
- Elana Schor, "Rep. Taylor earmarks for Russia business connection," The Hill, July 19, 2006.
- Elana Schor, "Taylor banks on earmarks in his race for reelection," The Hill, July 26, 2006.
- “CREW releases second annual most corrupt members of Congress report,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, September 20, 2006.
- Tim Whitmore, "Congressman Demands Retraction From WSJ," Associated Press, October 13, 2006.
- Elana Schor, "Taylor still holds land," The Hill, October 25, 2006.
Local blogs and discussion sites
District Office- Spindale:
303 Fairground Road
Spindale, NC 28160
Fax: Not Currently Available
District Office- Asheville:
22 South Pack Square, Suite 330
Asheville, NC 28801
District Office- Waynesville:
515 South Haywood Street, Suite 118
Waynesville, NC 28786-4341
District Office- Hendersonville:
211-C 7th Avenue West
Hendersonville, NC 28791
District Office- Franklin:
5 West Main Street, Room 35
Franklin, NC 28734
District Office- Sylva:
26 Ridgeway Street, Suite 3
Sylva, NC 28779
District Office- Murphy:
Cherokee County Courthouse, PO Box 1271
75 Peachtree Street
Murphy, NC 28906
- Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.