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Republican

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R)

Jim Sensenbrenner Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-5101

Address: 2449 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (262) 784-1111

Address: 120 Bishops Way, Brookfield WI 53005-6294

Jim Sensenbrenner Staff
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Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
Forsyth, Bart
Chief of Staff
Hagerup, Loni
Deputy Chief of Staff
Holsen, Matt
District Outreach Director
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Miller, Benjamin
Communications Director
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Cole, Sally
Senior Caseworker
Forsyth, Bart
Chief of Staff
Miller, Benjamin
Communications Director
Hagerup, Loni
Deputy Chief of Staff
Holsen, Matt
District Outreach Director
Moore, Andrew
Legislative Assistant
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Washam, Todd
Legislative Assistant
Kinney, Erik
Systems Administrator; Legislative Correspondent
Bos, Amy
Legislative Director
Peterson, Jacob
Office Manager; Legislative Assistant
Conneely, Nora
Staff Assistant
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Jim Sensenbrenner Committees
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Jim Sensenbrenner Biography
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  • Elected: 1978, 18th term.
  • District: Wisconsin 5
  • Born: Jun. 14, 1943, Chicago, IL
  • Home: Menomonee Falls
  • Education:

    Stanford U., A.B. 1965, U. of WI, J.D. 1968

  • Professional Career:

    Staff asst., U.S. Rep. Arthur Younger, 1965; Practicing atty., 1968–69.

  • Political Career:

    WI Assembly, 1968–74; WI Senate, 1974–78.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Episcopalian

  • Family: Married (Cheryl); 2 children

Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, first elected in 1978, is a forceful conservative whose prickly personality can rankle liberals, but he has racked up a number of legislative accomplishments. Read More

Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, first elected in 1978, is a forceful conservative whose prickly personality can rankle liberals, but he has racked up a number of legislative accomplishments.

Sensenbrenner grew up in the Milwaukee area, with strong Wisconsin roots. His great-grandfather was a founder of Kimberly-Clark, which invented the sanitary napkin, and Sensenbrenner is an heir to the paper and cellulose fortune. He reports a net worth of more than $15 million, and on top of that, he won $250,000 in the District of Columbia lottery after buying two tickets while picking up some beer for an office party at a Capitol Hill liquor store. He graduated from Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin Law School and has spent most of his adult life in politics. He served briefly as a staffer in the U.S. House, and then was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 1968 and to the Wisconsin Senate in 1974. (His son, Robert, is now counsel to the House Administration Committee.) When Republican Rep. Bob Kasten ran for governor, Sensenbrenner ran in this district and won the Republican primary by 589 votes.

Sensenbrenner has a rough and often partisan edge, which does not always wear well with his colleagues. He apologized in 2011 for remarks he made about first lady Michelle Obama, who has made fighting the nation’s high obesity rate one of her priorities. Attempting to make a point about hypocrisy at a church bazaar, Sensenbrenner displayed a stunning lack of decorum and sensitivity by saying she had a “big butt.” He later repeated the reference in an airport cell phone conversation that several people overheard. The same year, he briefly suggested impeaching Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with Holder’s refusal to release documents in connection with the controversial “Operation Fast and Furious” gun-tracing program. Fellow Republican Dan Lungren of California told The New York Times in 2006 that Sensenbrenner “treats us all like dogs.”

But Sensenbrenner’s pugnaciousness has endeared him to conservatives—the right-wing magazine Human Events named him as its man of the year in 2006. And his legislative skills have earned him respect on Capitol Hill. He was one of the first to urge that Congress apply to itself the same laws it imposes on the rest of the country. A former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sensenbrenner now heads the panel’s Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee. Despite his conservatism, he occasionally opposes his party on principle. He was one of 17 House Republicans to vote against a 2012 amendment to bar the Obama administration from using taxpayer funds to defend its health care law in court.

When he chaired Judiciary in 2001, Sensenbrenner was instrumental in passing the first congressional authorization of the Department of Justice in many years, citing the vital role that it gave his committee in improving oversight of the department. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington criticized him, however, after the BP oil spill disaster in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. Sensenbrenner owned more than 3,600 shares of the company’s stock but did not recuse himself from an investigation into the company or from votes relating to it. He was not required to do so under House rules, but the group said his involvement created an appearance of impropriety. He also has come under criticism for taking foreign trips financed by outside groups. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2009 that he had visited Liechtenstein five times since 2004.

Sensenbrenner is best known for his work on Judiciary after the September 11 attacks. He pressed for a thorough congressional review of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s proposal for beefed-up investigative powers for law enforcement. Concerned about possible violations of civil liberties, he insisted on a sunset provision for the USA Patriot Act, the anti-terrorism law passed just after the attacks on New York and Washington, ensuring it would expire in four years and give Congress a chance to study its impact. By 2005, he decided that his concerns about civil liberties had been addressed and pushed to make most of the law permanent. Some questionable parliamentary maneuvering during one of his hearings on renewal of the act led Democrats to file an unusual resolution condemning Sensenbrenner for alleged abuse of power. The House rejected the resolution on a party-line vote, and Sensenbrenner refused demands for an apology.

After a difficult conference committee with the Senate, he won an extension of the act for the Bush administration. But Sensenbrenner had differences with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales over the scope of the domestic surveillance program and demanded steps to protect “the freedoms we cherish.” Sensenbrenner pushed in 2011 for a six-year extension, as well as a permanent extension of its so-called “lone wolf” provision allowing the government to monitor terrorists even if they are not suspected of ties to a specific group. The law is unpopular with younger, tea party conservatives who are suspicious of government.

Sensenbrenner worked steadily for years on some bills. One of them was the bankruptcy bill, which passed in 2005 after being held up for years by a Democratic provision preventing abortion protesters from filing for bankruptcy to avoid fines and damages in attacks on abortion clinics. He has backed limitations in tort law on class action, medical malpractice, and asbestos liability, and has sought to increase penalties for frivolous lawsuits. But he has not always followed the party line. In 2003, he said he saw no need to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

Another of Sensenbrenner’s focused efforts has been on immigration. In 2004, he successfully added to the intelligence reorganization bill provisions setting national standards for driver’s licenses. They denied licenses to illegal immigrants, prohibited the use of Mexican matricula consular cards for identification, tightened standards for asylum, and overrode state laws and regulations blocking border barriers. In 2005, the House approved Sensenbrenner’s immigration bill, 261-161, and it became law. He took a skeptical view in January 2013 of bipartisan efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, saying, “Extending amnesty to those who came here illegally or overstayed their visas is dangerous waters.”

The House Republicans’ six-year term limit for senior committee members forced Sensenbrenner to give up the Judiciary gavel in January 2007. In March, Minority Leader John Boehner named Sensenbrenner the ranking Republican on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. A global warming skeptic, Sensenbrenner had voted against the creation of the panel, saying it was nothing more than a publicity stunt, but he promised to participate in the debate. He protested when Republicans abolished the committee—which he would have chaired—in late 2010, saying the panel was still needed as a check on the Obama administration. He continues to attack climate science as a member of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which he also chaired in the late 1990s. He sought to head the committee again in 2013, but lost out to Texas’ Lamar Smith.

Sensenbrenner has been reelected easily every two years. In 2009, he announced his reelection at the same time he made it known that he had prostate cancer. He prided himself on not missing votes, scheduling his cancer treatments around the House schedule, and holding more than 200 town meetings in 2009 and 2010. He cruised to a 69%-27% victory and narrowly missed that mark two years later with a 68%-32% win.

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Jim Sensenbrenner Election Results
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2012 General
James Sensenbrenner (R)
Votes: 250,335
Percent: 67.88%
Dave Heaster (D)
Votes: 118,478
Percent: 32.12%
2012 Primary
James Sensenbrenner (R)
Votes: 89,370
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (69%), 2008 (80%), 2006 (62%), 2004 (67%), 2002 (87%), 2000 (74%), 1998 (91%), 1996 (74%), 1994 (100%), 1992 (70%), 1990 (100%), 1988 (75%), 1986 (78%), 1984 (73%), 1982 (100%), 1980 (78%), 1978 (61%)
Jim Sensenbrenner Votes and Bills
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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 4 (L) : 96 (C) 26 (L) : 73 (C) 30 (L) : 66 (C)
Social 31 (L) : 67 (C) 36 (L) : 64 (C) - (L) : 83 (C)
Foreign 47 (L) : 52 (C) 51 (L) : 48 (C) 32 (L) : 63 (C)
Composite 27.8 (L) : 72.2 (C) 38.0 (L) : 62.0 (C) 25.0 (L) : 75.0 (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
LCV311
CFG7792
ITIC-58
NTU8689
20112012
COC94-
ACLU-0
ACU9296
ADA515
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: N
    • 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: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: N
    • 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
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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.
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