- Spencer Bachus
November 4, 2008
January 3, 1993
date of birth=birth date and age|1947|12|28
place of birth=
date of death=
place of death=
Vestavia Hills, Alabama
United States Army National Guard
Early life and career
Bachus was born in Birmingham to Edith Wells and Spencer Thomas Bachus, Jr. [ [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~battle/reps/bachus.htm 1 ] ] He currently lives in
Vestavia Hills, a Birmingham suburb. He graduated from Auburn Universityin 1969 where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Tausocial fraternity. He served in the Alabama National Guard from 1969 to 1971, during the Vietnam War, while attending law school; he earned a Juris Doctordegree from the University of Alabama's School of Law in 1972. Prior to his political career, he owned a sawmill and practiced law until 1992.cite web| title = Veterans in the US House of Representatives 109th Congress| publisher = Navy League| url = http://web.archive.org/web/20070626235918/http://www.navyleague.org/legislative_affairs/HouseVets.pdf| format = PDF| accessdate = 2006-12-09 ]
Bachus and his wife Linda are the parents of five children.
Bachus was elected to the
Alabama Senatein 1983, serving one term before moving to the Alabama House of Representativesfor two terms. After running unsuccessfully for attorney general in 1990, he became chairman of the Alabama Republican Party in 1991, serving in that position until his campaign for election to Congress. He also served as the 6th District's representative on the state board of education from 1987 to 1991.
U.S. House of Representatives
Election in 1992
The 6th District and its predecessors had been based in Birmingham for over a century, but after the
1990 United States Census, the Justice Department required the state to have a black-majority district. The state legislature failed to act, and a federal court drafted a plan that significantly reconfigured the neighboring 7th District, adding predominantly black portions of Birmingham and Montgomery. The 7th and its various permutations had been based in Tuscaloosa for over a century.
In the process, however, the court plan added most of the whiter and wealthier portions of Tuscaloosa to the 6th. Also added was Shelby County, a wealthy suburban county near Birmingham. The new 6th was almost 97% white, and on paper was one of the most Republican districts in the nation. Bachus won the Republican nomination for the seat and faced five-term Democratic incumbent
Ben Erdreich. Despite being outspent almost 2 to 1, the new district's heavy Republican tilt ( George H. W. Bushwon the new 6th with 74% of the vote in 2000) enabled Bachus to win by seven points.
Since 1992, Bachus has been reelected seven times without anything resembling serious opposition. After defeating three underfunded Democrats with 70% or more of the vote, he has not faced any Democratic opposition at all since 2000. President Bush won 78% of the vote in the district in 2004, higher than in any other district in the nation.
Bachus was challenged in the 2004 Republican primary by
Phillip Jauregui, a member of former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's legal team. Since no other party ran a candidate, victory in the Republican primary was tantamount to election in November. Jauregui claimed that Bachus wasn't doing enough to curb " judicial activism." However, Bachus won the primary easily, effectively clinching a seventh term.
Bachus has a mostly, but not totally, conservative voting record, and has been an aggressive lawmaker and investigator. During his tenure as Chairman of the Banking Oversight Committee, he uncovered the
Community Development Financial Institute(CDFI) incident during the Clinton administration, which led to the resignation of the top two CDFI officials. Although less adversarial during the Bush administration, he has remained an active legislator, helping to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to curtail identity theft and ease consumer access to their credit reports. He also has a reputation for good constituent service.
On December 14, 2005 he voted for the reauthorization of the
U.S. Patriot Act. On June 29, 2005 he voted for the increase of funds by another $25 million for anti-marijuana print a TV ads. On October 6, 2005 he voted for the Department of Homeland Security.
Bachus is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online
poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act [ [http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.04411: Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411] ] and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. [ [http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.04777: Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777] ] In 2008, he opposed H.R. 5767, the Payment Systems Protection Act (a bill that sought to place a moratorium on enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Actwhile the U.S. Treasury Departmentand the Federal Reservedefined "unlawful Internet gambling").
He has also distinguished himself on foreign policy, albeit with a reputation as somewhat of a maverick. In the 1990s he became an advocate of international debt relief for the Third World, and joined a broad coalition of activists in a one-day fast to demand action, which was ultimately successful. He criticized the Bush administration in 2002 over negotiations with the genocidal regime in Sudan, and has urged Bush to stop payment of oil revenues to the Sudanese government.
On May 23, 2005, Bachus made the news for saying that comedian
Bill Mahermade "treasonous comments" on his show when making a joke about the Army's inability to reach its quota on new recruits. [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,157435,00.html]
Bachus also has been active in advancing the search for
Natalee Holloway, who went missing while on a senior trip to Aruba. Holloway attended high school in Mountain Brook, an affluent Birmingham suburb in the congressman's district.
In 2007, Bachus made trades with a number of short term
stock options, betting that stocks would rise or fall for a quick profit or loss. Bachus made up to $160,000, including a bet in March that the stock market would drop that earned him between $15,000 and $50,000. Most members of Congress hold some stocks or mutual funds, but Bachus' rapid-fire trades are unusual for a leading member of Congress, particularly one with the key role of ranking memberof the House Committee on Financial Services. [Ben Evans, [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jwYW3HPsLcS2RM0bvnlbRHrftszAD93CIE700 "Lead financial services lawmaker defends trading"] , "Associated Press", September 23, 2008] *Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1992, write-ins received 121 votes. In 1994, write-ins received 145 votes. In 1996, write-ins received 80 votes. In 1998, write-ins received 164 votes.
Group Ratings (2004)
** Economic: 17% Liberal, 80% Conservative
** Social: 20% Liberal, 77% Conservative
** Foreign: 25% Liberal, 68% Conservative
Americans for Democratic Action: 5
American Civil Liberties Union: 0
Chamber of Commerce of the United States: 100
*Christian Coalition: 92
American Conservative Union: 96
National Taxpayers Union: 62
League of Conservation Voters: 0
* "There have been studies by Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, McGill University in Canada, American Psychiatric Association — all of these say the younger someone starts gambling, the more likelihood that they become a compulsive gambler. Addicted to gambling, just like addicted to drugs. So there is a correlation between drug dealers and gambling sites." — "October 2006, CNN"
Radley Balko's testimony before Congress on Internet Gambling:
Mr. Bachus: Are you familiar with
Ross Boatman's biography on [Full Tilt Poker's] website?
Mr. Balko: No, I'm not.
Mr. Bachus: Let me tell you about him. [Reading from bio.] Ross was 10 years old when he played poker for the first time. His brother Barney, who is a little older than Ross, was playing with some friends, and after much pleading, they let him sit in.
His gambling career really didn't get started until a couple of years later, though, when he was 12 years old. Ross was too young and didn't have the money to play with those guys—I guess they're talking about his 14-year-old brother—but they let him sit and watch, and he learned plenty.
[Bachus, now looking at Balko.] I guess the verification system didn't work.
Mr. Balko [flummoxed] : I believe that all took place well before the age of
Mr. Bachus: Okay. Was it? I wonder why it's still on the site today [ [http://www.theagitator.com/archives/027874.php#027874 The Agitator » Blog Archive » Rep. Bachus and the Intertrons ] ] [ [http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_house_hearings&docid=f:37553.wais Transcript, 110th House Financial Services Committee Hearing, 2007-06-08] ] .
* [http://bachus.house.gov/ U.S. Congressman Spencer Bachus] official U.S. House site
* [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Spencer_Bachus Profile] at
* [http://www.spencerbachus.com/ Spencer Bachus for U.S. Congress] official campaign site
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