|U.S. Senate, Oklahoma|
|January 3, 2017|
|Years in position||9|
|Predecessor||Don Nickles (R)|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 2, 2010|
|First elected||November 2, 2004|
|Next general||November 8, 2016|
|Representative, United States House of Representatives|
|Bachelor's||Accounting, Oklahoma State University, 1970|
|M.D.||University of Oklahoma Medical School, 1983|
|Birthday||March 14, 1948|
|Place of birth||Casper, WY|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Career
- 3 Committee assignments
- 4 Issues
- 4.1 Legislative actions
- 4.1.1 113th Congress
- 4.1.2 National security
- 4.1.3 Economy
- 4.1.4 Immigration
- 4.1.5 Healthcare
- 4.1.6 Social Issues
- 4.1.7 Opinion of Harry Reid
- 4.1.8 Previous congressional sessions
- 4.2 Oncologist
- 4.3 Wastebook
- 4.4 Senate Judiciary Committee
- 4.5 Executive branch "czars"
- 4.6 Presidential preference
- 4.1 Legislative actions
- 5 Elections
- 6 Campaign donors
- 7 Analysis
- 8 Personal
- 9 Recent news
- 10 External links
- 11 References
In November 2013, Coburn's office announced that he had been diagnosed with a recurrence of prostate cancer and was undergoing treatment. Coburn will be retiring at the end of 2014, two years before his term ends. The governor is not allowed to appoint a replacement, so a special election will be held, possibly during the November 2014 general election.
Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Coburn is one of the most reliable Republican votes, meaning he can be considered a safe vote for the Republican Party in Congress.
Coburn was born in Casper, Wyoming. He attended Oklahoma State University for his undergraduate degree and then spent eight years working as a manufacturing manager for Coburn Optical Industries' Opthalmic Division. Coburn returned to his alma mater for medical school and graduated with his M.D. in 1983.
Below is an abbreviated outline of Coburn's academic, professional and political career:
- 1970: Graduated from Oklahoma State University
- 1970-1978: Worked as manufacturing manager, Coburn Opthalmic Division, Coburn Optical Industries
- 1983: Graduated from Oklahoma State University Medical School
- 1995-2001: U.S. House of Representatives
- 2005-Present: U.S Senator from Oklahoma
Coburn serves on the following Senate committees:
- Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
- Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment
- Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development
- Subcommittee on Economic Policy
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations, and the District of Columbia
- Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce
- Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight
- Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
- United States Senate committee on Intelligence (Select)
Coburn served on the following Senate committees:
- Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy
- Subcommittee on Health Care
- Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia
- Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security
- Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
- Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
- Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law
- Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts
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. The Senate has confirmed 16,878 out of 19,009 executive nominations received thus far (88.8%). For more information pertaining to Coburn's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.
John Brennan CIA nomination
Coburn voted for 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.
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.
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."
Coburn slammed President Obama over extending unemployment benefits. He said, "I think we’ve abandoned truth in Washington. The president has abandoned truth. They’re deceitful in what they speak often times, whether it’s the rollout of ObamaCare, or any other subject. They’re not truthful." Coburn has said the jobs programs are a waste of federal money and that extended benefits would ultimately hurt people in the long run.
- See also: United States budget debate, 2013
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 funds 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. The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Coburn voted with the Republican Party against the bill.
Coburn said on October 1, 2013, that he will continue accepting his salary and plans to "spend it and tithe it" as he always has.
No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013
Coburn voted against 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.
Coburn voted for 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.
Government shutdown over Obamacare
During the debate in September 2013 on whether or not Republican members should attempt to force a government shutdown over the funding of the Affordable Care Act, Coburn publicly stated that did not believe such a tactic would come to fruition. He stated:
- "We are not about to shut the government down over the fact that we cannot, only controlling one house of Congress, tell the president that we are not going to fund any portion of this, because we can’t do that."
Violence Against Women (2013)
Coburn voted against 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.
Opinion of Harry Reid
At a New York Young Republican Club meeting in October 2013, Coburn was discussing camaraderie in the U.S. Senate. He specifically mentioned a good relationship with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), but when it came to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Coburn's sentiments were not so positive. According to attendees, Coburn referred to Reid as an "absolute a--hole."
Previous congressional sessions
Coburn voted for 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. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.
Coburn revealed on January 28, 2014, that his new insurance under Obamacare did not cover his oncologist, but said he was receiving excellent care. A spokesperson for Coburn confirmed that since he enrolled in the new health insurance plan under Obamacare, his coverage was reduced, and he lost coverage for his cancer specialist. He said he will continue to pay out of his own pocket to see the oncologist.
“I’m doing well from a health standpoint, got great docs. Fortunately — even though my new coverage won’t cover my specialist — I’m going to have great care and I have a great prognosis,” Coburn said.
Coburn publishes an annual document called "Wastebook" to catalog wasteful government spending. Listed below are some instances of wasteful spending detailed in 2013's Wastebook.
- Department of Defense leaving 2,000 MRAP's -- Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles -- behind in Afghanistan to be destroyed rather than sent to other bases. Each MRAP cost $500,000 to build.
- The State Department spent $630,000 to attract followers to its Facebook and Twitter accounts
- NASA is spending $3 million to study how Congress works
- The National Endowment for the Humanities spent nearly a million dollars over three years to explore the origins of popular romance in multi-media.
- Taxpayers have so far spent $319 million to build the Healthcare.gov website, estimates project that more than twice that will be spent on publicity and marketing.
Senate Judiciary Committee
Executive branch "czars"
Coburn, along with fellow Senate Judiciary Committee member Russ Feingold, held a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution on October 6, 2009. The meeting examined the legality of executive branch "czars."
Both Senators Coburn and Feingold examined in-depth what were the appointment powers the President had and the legal entitlement to those powers under the Constitution. Also, Coburn examined if the appointment process of czars violated the advise and consent clause used for executive branch officials.
During the hearing, Coburn mentioned the Obama Administration's promise on open and transparent government during the 2008 presidential campaign. With the appointment of over 40 people to serve as czars, Coburn raised questions about the promise of transparency in the Obama White House. Senator Coburn also criticized Executive Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg for avoiding to appear in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee along with top Obama Administration officials. Witnesses who appeared in front of Coburn defended Feinberg for not attending the hearing, claiming that his work as an executive pay czar falls within the legislative, not executive branch of federal government.
Coburn also claimed that there are no checks and balances towards the power executive branch czars have. He expressed concern that czars are given the right to federal funding for their own staffs without Congressional approval.
Coburn will not be seeking re-election in 2016. He will be retiring at the end of 2014, two years before his term ends. The governor is not allowed to appoint a replacement, so a special election will be held, possibly during the November 2014 general election.
Comprehensive donor information for Coburn is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Coburn raised a total of $7,737,836 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 22, 2013.
|Tom Coburn's Campaign Contribution History|
|2010||US Senate (Oklahoma)||$2,644,376|
|2004||US Senate (Oklahoma)||$5,093,460|
|Grand Total Raised||$7,737,836|
|Tom Coburn (2016) Campaign Finance Reports|
|Report||Date Filed||Beginning Balance||Total Contributions|
for Reporting Period
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand|
|April Quarterly||April 15, 2013||$120,399.32||$4,093.99||$(1,868.33)||$122,624.98|
|July Quarterly||July 15, 2013||$122,624.98||$-727.63||$(19,450.60)||$102,416.75|
|October Quarterly||October 15, 2013||$102,416||$0||$(380)||$105,232|
|Year-End Quarterly||December 31, 2013||$105,232||$0||$(2,595)||$1,019,986|
Coburn won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Coburn's campaign committee raised a total of $2,644,376 and spent $3,067,121.
|U.S. Senate, Oklahoma, 2010 - Tom Coburn Campaign Contributions|
|Total Raised by General Election Opponent||$0|
|Total Spent by General Election Opponent||$0|
|Top contributors to Tom Coburn's campaign committee|
|Club for Growth||$70,650|
|Blue Cross/Blue Shield||$17,500|
|Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee|
|Oil & Gas||$189,900|
Ideology and leadership
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.
Coburn most often votes with:
Coburn least often votes with:
Lifetime voting record
According to the website GovTrack, Coburn missed 111 of 2,580 roll call votes from January 2005 to April 2013. This amounts to 4.3%, which is worse than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.
Congressional staff salaries
The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Coburn paid his congressional staff a total of $2,629,706 in 2011. He ranked 12th on the list of the highest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranked 44th overall of the highest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Oklahoma ranked 35th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Coburn's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $1,861,121 to $5,470,000. That averages to $3,665,560.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican Senate members in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. Coburn ranked as the 37th most wealthy senator in 2012.
|Tom Coburn Yearly Net Worth|
|Year||Avg. Net Worth||Avg. Citizen Net Worth|
According to an analysis by the Washington Post, Coburn reported buying $25,000 in bonds in a genetic-technology company close to the time that he released a hold on legislation supported by the firm.
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. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.
Coburn ranked 12th in the conservative rankings in 2012.
Coburn ranked 1st in the conservative rankings in 2011.
Voting with party
The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus. According to the website, Coburn has voted with the Republican Party 91.1% of the time, which ranked 17th among the 45 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.
Coburn and his wife, Carolyn, have three children.
Battles with cancer
In November 2013, Coburn's office confirmed that the senator was undergoing treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer. Coburn has previously been treated for prostate cancer in 2011. He has also battled colon cancer and melanoma.
This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Tom + Coburn + Oklahoma + Senate
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Social media:
- Political profiles:
- Financial (federal level):
- Interest group ratings:
- Issue positions:
- Public statements:
- Voting record:
- Works by or about:
- Media appearances:
- Media coverage:
- Collected news and commentary at U.S. News & World Report
- Tom Coburn's article on expanding Medicaid
- Biographical Director of the United States Congress, "Tom Coburn," accessed October 24, 2011
- The Washington Post, "Coburn diagnosed with prostate cancer," accessed November 8, 2013
- The Hill, "Okla. Sen. Coburn to retire at end of 2014," accessed January 17, 2014
- Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "Biography," accessed April 2, 2014
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
- Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
- USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
- ABC News, "Rand Paul wins applause from GOP and liberals," March 7, 2013
- Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet the GOP senators who refused to stand with Rand," March 7, 2013
- Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
- Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
- The Hill, "Coburn: Obama has 'abandoned truth'," accessed January 7, 2014
- The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
- Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
- Washington Post, "Which lawmakers will refuse their pay during the shutdown?," accessed October 2, 2013
- 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
- Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- National Review, "Coburn: Senate cannot defund Obamacare," accessed September 22, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- Politico, "Report: Tom Coburn called Harry Reid 'absolute a--hole,'" accessed October 29, 2013
- U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
- Politico, "Obamacare: Tom Coburn loses cancer doctor," accessed January 28, 2014
- Fox News, "Funding for Facebook friends? Coburn catalogues worst of government waste," December 18, 2013
- "Senate Judiciary", "List of previous members"
- New York Times, "Senators Take On Czar Wars," October 7, 2009
- "Fox News", "Czar Wars," October 8, 2009
- "Associated Press", "Senators question the use of administration 'czars'," October 6, 2009
- The Hill, "Sen. Coburn endorses Romney for president," March 5, 2012
- Roll Call, "In Oklahoma, open seats could come sooner," accessed January 16, 2014
- The Hill, "Okla. Sen. Coburn to retire at end of 2014," accessed January 17, 2014
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 8, 1994," accessed March 28, 2013
- Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Tom Coburn," accessed April 22, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Tom Coburn Summary Report," accessed August 5, 2013, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Tom Coburn April Quarterly," accessed August 5, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Tom Coburn July Quarterly," accessed August 5, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Tom Coburn October Quarterly," accessed February 21, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Tom Coburn Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 21, 2014
- Open Secrets, "Tom Coburn 2010 Election Cycle," accessed October 29, 2011
- GovTrack, "Tom Coburn," accessed June 7, 2013
- OpenCongress, "Sen. Tom Coburn," accessed August 22, 2013
- GovTrack, "Tom Coburn," accessed April 17, 2013
- LegiStorm, "Tom Coburn"
- Open Secrets, "Coburn, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
- Washington Post, "Members of Congress trade in companies while making laws that affect those same firms," June 23, 2012
- National Journal, "2012 Congressional vote ratings," March 7, 2013
- National Journal, "Searchable vote ratings tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
- OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed June 6, 2013
|U.S. Senate - Oklahoma
| Succeeded by|
State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City (capital)
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor and Inspector | Superintendent of Public Instruction | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Director of Wildlife Conservation | Commissioner of Labor | Commissioner of Corporations |