Richard Shelby

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Richard Shelby
Richard Shelby.JPG
U.S. Senate, Alabama
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 27
PredecessorJeremiah Denton (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 4, 1986
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$17,860,313
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives
Alabama State Senate
Bachelor'sUniversity of Alabama 1957
OtherLLB, University of Alabama School of Law, 1963
BirthdayMay 6, 1934
Place of birthBirmingham, AL
Net worth$6,396,023
Office website
Campaign website
Richard Shelby (b. May 6, 1934, in Birmingham, Alabama) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Alabama. Shelby was first elected to the Senate in 1986.

Shelby most recently won re-election in 2010. He defeated William Barnes (D) in the general election.

Shelby began his political career by serving in the Alabama State Senate from 1970 to 1978. He was then elected to the U.S. House in 1978 and served in that position until his election to the Senate in 1986.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Shelby is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.


Shelby was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1957 and then received his LLB in 1963. He then worked as city prosecutor for Tuscaloosa until he began his public service as a member of the Alabama State Senate in 1970. After the state senate, he joined the United States House of Representatives and has served in the U.S. Senate since 1987.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Shelby's academic, professional and political career:[1]

  • 1957: Graduated from University of Alabama
  • 1963: Graduated from University of Alabama School of Law
  • 1963-1971: City prosecutor, Tuscaloosa
  • 1966-1970: United States Commissioner, Northern District of Alabama
  • 1970-1978: Alabama State Senate
  • 1979-1987: U.S. House of Representatives
  • 1987-Present: U.S. Senator from Alabama
  • 1994: Switched from Democratic to Republican

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Shelby serves on the following committees in the 113th Congress:[2]

  • Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
    • Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Department of Homeland
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Members
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    • Subcommittee on Department of Defense
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
  • Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment
    • Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development
  • Rules and Administration


  • Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Defense
    • Subcommittee on Energy And Water Development
    • Subcommittee on Homeland Security
    • Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, Ranking Member
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
  • Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Ranking Member
  • Rules and Administration
  • Aging

Key votes

113th Congress


The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1%) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14% of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session.[3] The Senate has confirmed 16,878 out of 19,009 executive nominations received thus far (88.8%). For more information pertaining to Shelby's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[4]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "No" Shelby voted against the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[5]

Drones filibuster

See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border, without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists have been critical that President Obama did not offer a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[6][7][8]

According to the website Breitbart, Shelby was 1 of 30 Republican senators who did not support the filibuster.[9][10]

The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[11]


Farm bill

Voted "No" On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[12] It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop.[13] However, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[13] Shelby voted with 22 other Republican senators against the bill.

2014 Budget

Voted "Yes" On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[14][15] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[15] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[16] It included a 1% increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts. Shelby voted with the 17 Republican and the 55 Democratic members in favor of the bill.[14][15]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "No" During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[17] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Shelby voted with the Republican Party against the bill.[18]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" Shelby voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[19]


Mexico-U.S. border

Neutral/Abstain Shelby did not vote on Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[20]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "Yes" Shelby voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[21]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "No" Shelby voted against the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was one of five Republicans that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the Senate by an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[22]


On The Issues Vote Match

Richard Shelby's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of all Congressional members based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Shelby is a Moderate Populist Conservative. Shelby received a score of 38 percent on personal issues and 54 percent on economic issues.[23]

On The Issues organization logo.
On The Issues Vote Quiz
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Opposes Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Opposes
Expand ObamaCare Strongly Opposes Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Opposes
Vouchers for school choice Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Favors
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Opposes Stricter punishment reduces crime Opposes
Support & expand free trade Strongly Opposes Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Strongly Opposes
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Opposes Maintain US sovereignty from UN Strongly Opposes
Prioritize green energy Strongly Opposes Expand the military Opposes
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Strongly Opposes Stay out of Iran Strongly Opposes
Privatize Social Security Opposes Never legalize marijuana Strongly Opposes
Note: Information last updated in 2014.[23]


A Washington Post investigation in February 2012 revealed that 33 members of Congress helped direct more than $300 million in earmarks to public projects in close proximity to commercial and residential real estate owned by the lawmakers or their family members.[24] According to the report, Shelby has earmarked more than $100 million toward rebuilding downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he owns an office building. The street in front of the building will be redone as part of phase two of the project.[25]



On November 2, 2010, Richard Shelby won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated William Barnes (D) in the general election.[26]

U.S. Senate, Alabama General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRichard Shelby incumbent 65.2% 968,181
     Democratic William Barnes 34.7% 515,619
     N/A Write-in 0.1% 1,699
Total Votes 1,485,499

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Shelby is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Shelby raised a total of $17,860,313 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 25, 2013.[31]

Richard Shelby's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 US Senate (Alabama) Won $8,557,473
2004 US Senate (Alabama) Won $9,302,840
Grand Total Raised $17,860,313


Breakdown of the source of Shelby's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Shelby won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Shelby's campaign committee raised a total of $8,557,473 and spent $2,647,169.[32]

His top 5 contributors between 2005-2010 were:

U.S. Senate election, Alabama, 2010 - Richard Shelby Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $8,557,473
Total Spent $2,647,169
Total Raised by General Election Opponent $5,870
Total Spent by General Election Opponent $5,871
Top contributors to Richard Shelby's campaign committee
Travelers Companies$108,250
JPMorgan Chase & Co$72,950
Blackstone Group$50,000
Radiance Technologies$45,750
General Electric$45,000
Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee
Securities & Investment$749,788
Lawyers/Law Firms$376,550
Real Estate$296,800
Finance/Credit Companies$283,400

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have personally benefited from their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics pioneered by the Government Accountability Institute:

  • The Net Worth Metric
  • The K-Street Metric (coming soon)
  • The Donation Concentration Metric (coming soon)
  • The Stock Oversight and Trades Metric (coming soon)

PGI: Net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Shelby's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $4,962,044 and $7,830,003. That averages to $6,396,023, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican senators in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. Shelby ranked as the 24th most wealthy senator in 2012.[33] Between 2004 and 2012, Shelby's calculated net worth[34] decreased by an average of 10 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2014, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[35]

Richard Shelby Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:-77%
Average annual growth:-10%[36]
Comparatively, the average citizen experienced a yearly decline in net worth of 0.94%.[37]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership, and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Shelby is a "rank-and-file Republican" as of June 2013.[38]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[39]

Shelby most often votes with:

Shelby least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Shelby missed 168 of 8,797 roll call votes from January 1987 to March 2013. This amounts to 1.9%, which is worse than the median of 1.7% among current senators as of March 2013.[40]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Shelby paid his congressional staff a total of $1,610,938 in 2011. He ranked 6th on the list of the lowest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranked sixth overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Alabama ranked 50th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[41]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Shelby ranked 19th in the conservative rankings among U.S. senators in 2012.[42]


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Shelby ranked 26th in the conservative rankings among U.S. senators.[43]

Voting with party


The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus. According to the website, Shelby has voted with the Republican Party 82.9% of the time, which ranked 39th among the 45 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[44]


Shelby is married to Annette Nevin Shelby. They have two sons.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Richard + Shelby + Alabama + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Richard Shelby News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. Biographical Director of the United States Congress, "Richard C. Shelby," accessed October 14, 2011
  2. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress," accessed January 17, 2013
  3. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  4. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  5. Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  6. CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  7. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  8. ABC News, "Rand Paul wins applause from GOP and liberals," March 7, 2013
  9. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet the GOP senators who refused to stand with Rand," March 7, 2013
  10. Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  11. Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  12., "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 )," accessed February 12, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 NY Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  16. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  17. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  18., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  19. Project Vote Smart, "HR 325 - To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  20. Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  21. Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  22. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  23. 23.0 23.1 On The Issues, "Richard Shelby Vote Match," accessed June 18, 2014
  24. Washington Post, "Congressional earmarks sometimes used to fund projects near lawmakers' properties," February 6, 2012
  25. Washington Post, "Mapping the earmarks," February 6, 2012
  26. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  27. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
  28. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998," accessed March 28, 2013
  29. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1992," accessed March 28, 2013
  30. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1986," accessed March 28, 2013
  31. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Richard Shelby," accessed March 25, 2013
  32. Open Secrets, "Richard Shelby 2010 Election Cycle," accessed October 14 2011
  33. OpenSecrets, "Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala), 2012," accessed March 4, 2013
  34. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  35. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  36. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  37. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  38. Gov Track, "Richard Shelby," accessed June 7, 2013
  39. OpenCongress, "Richard Shelby," accessed July 30, 2013
  40. GovTrack, "Richard Shelby," accessed April 2, 2013
  41. LegiStorm, "Richard Craig," accessed August 6, 2012
  42. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 21, 2013
  43. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," accessed February 23, 2012
  44. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed June 6, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Jeremiah Denton
U.S. Senate - Alabama
Succeeded by