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Richard Shelby

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Richard Shelby currently serves as the Sr. Senator for Alabama

Richard Craig "Dick" Shelby, a Republican, has represented the state of Alabama in the U.S. Senate since 1986.

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

Iraq War

Shelby voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

Following succesful Senate passage of an Iraq funding bill with troop withdrawal deadlines on March 29, 2007, Sen. Shelby, an opponent of the bill, declared that the bill would "embolden the enemy and it will not help our troops in any way."

Main article: U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007 (H.R.1591)
For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

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

Tobacco issues

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

Richard Shelby has been a defender of the tobacco industry. In 1995, he opposed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner David Kessler's efforts to have FDA regulate tobacco. Shelby called Kessler's efforts constituted an "alarming trend of FDA regulatory expansion."[1]


Over the course of a decade (1996-2006), Shelby helped direct $50 million to military projects benefiting the COLSA Corp., a space and missile defense company. The firm’s owner, Francisco J. Collazo, is a longtime friend of Shelby who contributed $400,000 to his campaigns and committees over this same period of time. In 1996, Collazo hired one of the senator’s former aides as his lobbyist. [2]

National security and foreign policy

In late 2000, during Senate discussion of the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2001, Sen Shelby argued in support of the act and sponsored an amendment for Section 304, which is often referred to as the "Official Secrets Act", which would have criminalized the unauthorized disclosure of any classified information.

Main article: Intelligence Authorization Act, 2001

Block on Darfur divestment bill

During the last days before the August recess, the House overwhelmingly passed a Darfur divestment bill in a vote of 418-1, Rep. Ron Paul being the only "nay" vote. The bill would allow states to pull investments from companies doing business with the Sudanese government, considered by the Bush administration to be complicit in the Darfur genocide. The bill would also block federal contracts with companies linked to Sudan.[1]

Shelby blocked the bill on behalf of a group of anonymous GOP senators when it reached the Senate, however. One GOP aide explained the reason for the block, "It’s my understanding that there was widespread objection from Republican senators to this bill being hotlined [for passage] because it hasn’t been fully explored. We don’t know what the implications would be."[2]

Allyson Neville of the Genocide Intervention Network objected to the stall questioning the motives behind the block. She said, "Congress has had three years too long to take action. The [bill] puts real pressure on Khartoum. Why would the administration or any senator delay its passage?"[3]


Shelby was born May 6, 1934 in Birmingham, Alabama. He attended both undergraduate programs and law school at the University of Alabama, graduating in 1957 and 1963, respectively. After graduating, Shelby practiced law in Tuscaloosa from 1963 to 1978.

He then entered politics when he served as city prosecutor from 1963 to 1971. From 1966 to 1970, he was a U.S. Magistrate for the Northern District of Alabama; from 1969 to 1971, Shelby was a Special Assistant State Attorney General.

Shelby began his legislative career as a member of the Alabama State Senate in 1970, serving until 1978, when he was elected to the House of Representatives from the Tuscaloosa-based 7th District. He was reelected three times. In 1986, he won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat held by Republican Jeremiah Denton, the first Republican elected to the Senate from Alabama since Reconstruction. He won a very close race as the Democrats regained control of the Senate. He was easily re-elected in 1992 even as Bill Clinton lost Alabama's electoral votes.

Shelby spent most of his first 15 years in Washington as one of the more conservative Democrats in Congress. In the House, he was a member of the boll weevils, a group of Southern Democrats who supported many of Ronald Reagan's initiatives. He publicly feuded with the Clinton Administration, voting with Republicans on several key bills. On November 9, 1994, Shelby switched his party affiliation to Republican one day after the Republicans won control of both houses in the midterm elections. He won his first full term as a Republican in 1998 by a large margin, and faced no significant opposition in 2004.

Shelby opposes gun control and abortion, and supports the Federal Marriage Amendment. He has also been a staunch advocate of a flat tax and of the Bush Administration's tax cuts. He cites the Democratic Party's support of "higher taxes" as being one of the main reasons he left the party. Among the bills sponsored by Shelby over the years have been bills to make English the sole language of the federal government, to limit federal government spending by statute, and to provide a moratorium on certain forms of immigration.

However, he is considered to be much more independent-minded than his Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions. For instance, shortly after becoming a Republican he voted against two major tort reform bills, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and the Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act. Both bills were vetoed by President Clinton, though the first bill was successfully passed over his veto. Shelby also voted against NAFTA and opposes most free trade agreements, most recently CAFTA.

He opposed the confirmation of Robert Bork to the United States Supreme Court in 1987, but voted for Samuel Alito, considered by some to be ideologically similar to Bork, in 2006.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00009920&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Richard Shelby
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

  • Co Chair, Congressional Privacy Caucus
  • National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • Senate Co Chair, National Security Caucus
  • Senate Centrist Coalition
  • Co Chair, Zero Capital Gains Tax Caucus

Boards and other affiliations

  • Alabama Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Judicature Society
  • Alabama Law Institute
  • Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity.

More background data

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


DC Office:
110 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0103
Web Email

District Office- Birmingham:
1800 5th Avenue North
321 Federal Building
Birmingham, AL 35203
Phone: 205-731-1384
Fax: 205-731-1386

District Office- Huntsville:
Huntsville International Airport
1000 Glenn Hearn Boulevard
Post Office Box 20127
Huntsville, AL 35824
Phone: 256-772-0460
Fax: 256-772-8387

District Office- Mobile:
113 Saint Joseph Street
445 United States Federal Courthouse
Mobile, AL 36602
Phone: 251-694-4164
Fax: 251-694-4166

District Office- Montgomery:
15 Lee Street
B-28 Federal Courthouse
Montgomery, AL 36104
Phone: 334-223-7303
Fax: 334-223-7317

District Office- Tuscaloosa:
1118 Greensboro Avenue
Room 240
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: 205-759-5047
Fax: 205-759-5067

Articles and resources


  1. Elana Schor, "Shelby blocks fast track for Darfur bill," The Hill, August 15, 2007.
  2. Elana Schor, "Shelby blocks fast track for Darfur bill," The Hill, August 15, 2007.
  3. Elana Schor, "Shelby blocks fast track for Darfur bill," The Hill, August 15, 2007.

Local blogs and discussion sites

This article may include information from Tobacco Documents Online.

Search the Documents Archives of the Tobacco Industry
Legacy Tobacco Documents Library:

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. Senate
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

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

Congressional Privacy Caucus, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Security Caucus, Senate Centrist Coalition, Zero Capital Gains Tax Caucus
Committees: Senate Special Committee on Aging, 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 the Financial Services and General Government, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Labor Health and Human Services Education and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Transportation Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs,
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 4, 1986
First Took Current Office:
January 6, 1987
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
U.S. House of Representatives, 1978-86,Alabama State Senate, 1970-78,
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 1800 5th Avenue North 321 Federal Building Birmingham, AL 35203
Phone: 205-731-1384 / Fax: 205-731-1386
2. Huntsville International Airport, 1000 Glenn Hearn Boulevard, Post Office Box 20127, Huntsville, AL 35824
Phone: 256-772-0460 / Fax: 256-772-8387
3. 113 Saint Joseph Street, 445 United States Federal Courthouse, Mobile, AL 36602
Phone: 251-694-4164 / Fax: 251-694-4166
4. 15 Lee Street, B-28 Federal Courthouse, Montgomery, AL 36104
Phone: 334-223-7303 / Fax: 334-223-7317
5. 1118 Greensboro Avenue, Room 240, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Phone: 205-759-5047 / Fax: 205-759-5067

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: May 6, 1934