Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Spencer Bachus Spencer Bachus

NEXT :
This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Almanac

Search

Enter your search query or use our Advanced People Search. Need Help? View our search tips

View Saved Lists
View Saved Lists
Republican

Rep. Spencer Bachus (R)

Spencer Bachus Contact
Back to top
Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-4921

Address: 2246 RHOB, DC 20515

Spencer Bachus Committees
Back to top
Spencer Bachus Biography
Back to top
  • Elected: 1992, 11th term.
  • District: Alabama 6
  • Born: Dec. 28, 1947, Birmingham
  • Home: Columbus
  • Education:

    Auburn U., B.A. 1969, U. of AL, J.D. 1972

  • Professional Career:

    Owner, Lumber Co.; Practicing atty., 1972–92; AL Repub. Party chmn., 1991–92.

  • Military Career:

    Natl. Guard, 1969–71.

  • Political Career:

    AL Senate, 1983–84; AL House of Reps., 1984–87.

  • Religion:

    Baptist

  • Family: Married (Linda); 3 children

The congressman from the 6th District is Rep. Spencer Bachus, a Republican elected in 1992. He survived a near-death experience with serious allegations of insider trading that could have ended his political career in 2012. He announced in September 2013 that he wouldn't seek reelection. Read More

The congressman from the 6th District is Rep. Spencer Bachus, a Republican elected in 1992. He survived a near-death experience with serious allegations of insider trading that could have ended his political career in 2012. He announced in September 2013 that he wouldn't seek reelection.

A Birmingham native, Bachus owned a sawmill company and for two decades was a trial lawyer. An early beneficiary of the region’s transition away from its southern Democratic roots, Bachus (BACK-us) was the first Republican elected to the state school board in more than 100 years. He won a seat in the state legislature in 1982, and was also the campaign manager for Guy Hunt when Hunt was elected governor in 1986. After running unsuccessfully for attorney general in 1990, Bachus became Republican state chairman. When the 6th District was radically redrawn in 1992, he won a Republican runoff and defeated incumbent Ben Erdreich, a moderate Democrat.

Bachus has a conservative voting record and has been an aggressive lawmaker whose habit of negotiating across party lines to pass bills has sometimes gotten him into hot water with fellow conservatives. As the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, he angered Republicans in 2007 during debate on a bill to ban predatory mortgage lending practices when he cut a deal with then committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass. Bachus was also deeply involved in the government’s response to the housing foreclosure crisis and the collapse of the financial markets. On what became a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry, he was the only House Republican to participate in the initial September 2008 discussions, and he entered into a tentative agreement with Democrats. The move angered House GOP leaders, who opposed the deal and wanted modifications to satisfy the party’s conservative wing. As a result, Bachus was replaced by then-Minority Whip Roy Blunt during the final negotiations on the legislation, an outcome Bachus called “very frustrating.”

Having lost the confidence of then-Minority Leader John Boehner, who felt Bachus was too quick to compromise with the Democrats, he was at risk of being ousted from his leadership role on the committee, and speculation swirled about who would succeed him. But he showed skill as a survivor, which included a promise to toe the party line. He also rallied other influential Republicans to his side, including Virginia Republican Eric Cantor, who replaced Blunt as whip. Bachus made further amends in the 111th Congress (2009-10) by naming conservative firebrands Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Scott Garrett of New Jersey to chair two key subcommittees. Then in 2009, his rehabilitation reached new heights when he declared that he knew of 17 “socialists” in Congress. Pressed to produce proof, he identified only one by name–Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a political independent. Frank complained that Bachus had become “a wholly owned subsidiary” of the conservative House Republican Study Committee.

In 2010, Bachus criticized the Obama administration for failing to move faster to develop legislation to control mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which he said had been “hooked on easy money and cheap credit.” As an alternative to the 2009 Democratic financial overhaul bill crafted by Frank, Bachus unsuccessfully proposed a streamlined bankruptcy process as well as ending federal conservatorship for Fannie and Freddie. The Dodd-Frank bill ultimately passed. Shortly after taking over as chairman from Frank in 2010, Bachus vowed to conduct a “title by title” review of the legislation “to correct, replace, or repeal the job killing provisions that unnecessarily punish small businesses and community banks that did nothing to cause the financial crisis.”

Bachus finds it difficult to stifle his impulse to legislate for long, and that invariably involves compromise. He cooperated with Democrats on a bill to deter abuses by credit card companies and in 2009 backed an effort to tighten credit rating agency regulations. At a July 2009 hearing, he rattled fellow Republicans when he recounted at length a private conversation he had had with Frank in which Bachus candidly told the chairman that action probably was needed to rein in bank executives’ large bonuses. Earlier, Bachus helped to enact changes in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which provided consumers additional access to their credit reports.In 2006, he pushed enactment of the controversial ban on Internet gambling.

In the 1990s, Bachus showed another side as an able investigator on the committee. He discovered that the Community Development Financial Institute, which President Bill Clinton established in 1994, directed $11 million in loans to four banks with ties to then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton without proper documentation. The two top CDFI officials resigned as a consequence. He is also something of a maverick on foreign policy, and has been an unlikely crusader for international debt relief for poor Third World nations.

Representing one of the most conservative congressional districts in the nation, it looked like Bachus could keep his House seat for as long as he wanted it. Then in November 2011, a hard-hitting 60 Minutes exposé on insider trading in Congress targeted Bachus for alleged unethical conduct. The CBS segment reported that after attending a sensitive briefing with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about a coming global financial meltdown, Bachus bought stock options that would go up in value if the market collapsed. A Bachus spokesman told CBS that Bachus does not trade stocks based on non-public information. While CBS reported that Bachus didn’t break any laws, the appearance of impropriety was damaging politically. In February 2012, the House overwhelmingly voted to curb insider trading in Congress, and just hours after the vote, The Washington Post reported that the Office of Congressional Ethics was investigating Bachus over the insider trading allegations.

The report came just as Bachus faced a primary challenge from two other Republicans. His biggest challenger, state Sen. Scott Beason, wrote a tough state immigration law that won plaudits from Alabama conservatives, and he criticized Bachus for fostering a cozy relationship with banks. The super PAC, Campaign for Primary Accountability, spent more than $200,000 trying to defeat Bachus, making robocalls and airing television ads that accused him of profiting from his position as the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee. Bachus defended his integrity and pointed out that he had refused congressional pay raises since 2002. He also portrayed himself as a staunch conservative, telling The Birmingham News that he’d continue to “fight the failed socialist economic policies” of President Obama. His reelection chances also improved when the Office of Congressional Ethics cleared him of wrongdoing in the insider trading matter.

In the end, Bachus beat Beason, 61%-28%, and went on to easily win in the general election, defeating Democrat Penny Bailey by better than 2-to-1. In the 113th Congress (2013-14), Bachus was term-limited as Financial Services chairman and replaced by Rep. Hensarling, R-Texas. Hensarling subsequently named Bachus “chairman emeritus” of the committee.

Show Less
Spencer Bachus Election Results
Back to top
2012 General
Spencer Bachus (R)
Votes: 219,262
Percent: 71.3%
Penny Bailey (D)
Votes: 88,267
Percent: 28.7%
2012 Primary
Spencer Bachus (R)
Votes: 63,360
Percent: 61.45%
Scott Beason (R)
Votes: 28,673
Percent: 27.81%
David Standridge (R)
Votes: 8,120
Percent: 7.87%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (98%), 2008 (98%), 2006 (100%), 2004 (100%), 2002 (90%), 2000 (88%), 1998 (72%), 1996 (71%), 1994 (79%), 1992 (52%)
Spencer Bachus Votes and Bills
Back to top NJ Vote Ratings

National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 44 (L) : 55 (C) 32 (L) : 67 (C) 40 (L) : 60 (C)
Social 48 (L) : 50 (C) 34 (L) : 66 (C) 39 (L) : 58 (C)
Foreign 24 (L) : 68 (C) 30 (L) : 66 (C) 37 (L) : 62 (C)
Composite 40.5 (L) : 59.5 (C) 32.8 (L) : 67.2 (C) 39.3 (L) : 60.7 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC9083
LCV113
CFG6159
ITIC-83
NTU7166
20112012
COC100-
ACLU-0
ACU8083
ADA00
AFSCME0-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote:
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
Read More
 
Browse The Almanac
Congressional Leadership
and Committees

House Committees
Senate Committees
Joint Committees
Leadership Roster
About Almanac
almanac cover
The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
Members: Buy the book at 25% off retail.
Order Now
Need Help?

Contact Us:

202.266.7900 | membership@nationaljournal.com