|This profile of a DEFEATED 2008 U.S. House candidate for Pennsylvania's district 4 is part of the "Wiki the Vote" project.|
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Melissa A. Hart was a Republican member of the U. S. House of Representatives representing the Fourth Congressional District of Pennsylvania (map) from 2001 to 2007. She was defeated in the 2006 congressional elections by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.).
She was also the Republican nominee in the 2008 congressional elections to challenge Altmire, having won the primary on April 22, 2008. However, Altmire successfully defended his seat in the November, 2008 general election.
Hart was born April 4, 1962 in North Hills, Pennsylvania. She was educated at Washington and Jefferson College, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Upon leaving school, she entered into legal practice as an attorney for a major Pittsburgh law firm.
Previous to her Congressional tenure, Hart served in the Pennsylvania State Senate where she chaired the finance committee.
Hart was appointed co-chair of the Platform Committee for the 2004 Republican National Convention. Under the guiding hand of Bill Frist, Hart helped to craft the Republican political statement.
Hart also played an active role in the race for House Majority Leader after the resignation of Tom DeLay. As a top whip for the candidacy of Rep. John Boehner, she worked successfully to secure votes, and Boehner became the new House Majority Leader in February 2006. Hart is one of a handful for GOP members who have called for a full set of new leadership elections for whip, conference chair, and other offices below the majority leader position.
Hart voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.
On October 29, 2006 a group of senior citizens arrived at Hart's Allison Park office to ask questions about their Medicare prescription drug benefits and the gap in providing benefits (the "Donut Hole"). That is, after a fixed amount of benefits have been paid out seniors have to pay for their own medications until they reach a cap and then coverage kicks back in. Hart refused to meet with them and called the police. 
Altmire defeated Hart 52%-48% to take possession of her seat. 
Hart was also the Republican nominee in the 2008 congressional elections to challenge incumbent Rep. Jason Altmire (D). In October 2008, Hart was endorsed by the conservative political action committee MAF Freedom PAC, which is affiliated with the pro-war group Move America Forward. She lost to Altmire in the November 2008 general election.
Meet the Cash Constituents
|Links to more campaign contribution information for Melissa Hart
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|
ARMPAC recipient, ethics panel member
Hart has been criticized for a potential conflict of interest. Hart is a new appointee to the bipartisan House ethics panel that reprimanded Tom DeLay on three counts last year. DeLay recently asked for a review of his travel records to clear his name. Hart received "$15,000 in contributions from [Tom DeLay's] leadership political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, or ARMPAC," in November 1999, June 2000 and June 2001. Because of the campaign contributions, critics believe Hart should not be part of the panel to review DeLay's case. 
"Hart has said the contributions were an insignificant part of $4 million she raised during those election cycles and would not affect her ability to participate in an ethics inquiry of DeLay." 
Hart is not alone in her predicatment: Jim Drinkard at USA TODAY reported that ARMPAC "also has donated to the campaigns of ethics Chairman Doc Hastings of Washington, Judy Biggert of Illinois and Tom Cole of Oklahoma... Cole and the remaining committee Republican, Lamar Smith of Texas, contributed to DeLay's legal defense fund... Hart said there is no appearance problem. "That's just normal" for leaders to contribute to campaigns, she said"
Committees and Affiliations
Committees in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)
- House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct
- House Committee on Ways and Means
- Subcommittee on Human Resources
- Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures
More Background Data
Campaign Contact Information
People with Hart
217 Executive Drive, Suite 104
Cranberry Township, PA 16066
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- ↑ Greg Giroux, "Keystone House Races, Eclipsed in Tuesday’s Primary, Will Emerge This Fall", CQ Politics, April 23, 2008
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Pennsylvania 2008 General Election", TheGreenPapers.com, November 4, 2008
- ↑ Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
- ↑ "Melissa Hart to Be Endorsed By Pro-Troop PAC," News Blaze, October 19, 2008.
- Official website
- Campaign website
- Official House Biography.
- "Melissa Hart (R-PA 4) Biography," PBS Online NewsHour.
- Open Secrets - 2006 congressional races database
- Jim Drinkard, "Hart, recipient of $15000 from DeLay, would chair an investigation into the congressman," USA Today, April 26, 2005.
- Anne Kornblut and Phil Shenon, "Lawmakers should step aside, groups say," New York Times, April 30, 2005.
- "Hart Buys Tickets to Dinner in Defense of DeLay," Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, May 11, 2005.
- Jonathan E. Kaplan, "NRCC nervous about Rep. Hart's race," The Hill, October 18, 2006.
- "Melissa Hart to Be Endorsed By Pro-Troop PAC," News Blaze, October 19, 2008.