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Revision as of 03:31, 2 April 2014

Jeff Sessions
Jeff Sessions.jpg
U.S. Senate, Alabama
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 18
PredecessorHowell Heflin (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2008
First electedNovember 5, 1996
Next primaryJune 3, 2014
Next general November 4, 2014
Campaign $$12,724,180
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Alabama Attorney General
Bachelor'sHuntingdon College, 1969
J.D.University of Alabama, 1973
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1973-1986
Date of birthDecember 24, 1946
Place of birthSelma, AL
Net worth$7,080,031
Office website
Jeff Sessions (b. December 24, 1946, in Selma, Alabama) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Alabama. Sessions was first elected to the Senate in 1996.

Sessions most recently won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. He defeated Vivian Davis Figures (D) in the general election.

Prior to his election to the Senate, Sessions served as Alabama Attorney General from 1994 to 1996.

Sessions is seeking re-election in 2014.

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


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

  • 1969: Graduated from Huntingdon College, Montgomery
  • 1973: Graduated from University of Alabama School of Law, Tuscaloosa
  • 1973-1975: Practiced law in Russellville
  • 1973-1977: U.S. Army reserves, attained the rank of captain
  • 1977-1981: Practiced law in Mobile
  • 1981-1993: United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama
  • 1994-1996: Alabama Attorney General
  • 1997-Present: U.S Senator from Alabama

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Sessions serves on the following Senate committees:[2]


  • Armed Services
    • Subcommittee on Airland
    • Subcommittee on SeaPower
    • Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Ranking Member
  • Budget, Ranking Member
  • Environment and Public Works
    • Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
    • Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy
    • Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
    • Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, Ranking Member
    • Subcommittee on Water and Power
  • Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Ranking Member
    • Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
    • Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security


Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[3] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Sessions's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[4]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "No" Sessions 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 criticized President Obama for not offering 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, Sessions was one 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

Nay3.png 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 will kick in when prices drop; however, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[13] Sessions voted with 22 other Republican senators against the bill.

2014 Budget

Nay3.png 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 increased the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel by 1 percent, increased Head Start funding for early childhood education by $1 billion, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts.

Sessions voted with 25 other Republican members against 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 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.[17] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Sessions voted with the Republican Party against the bill.[18]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "No" Sessions 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.[19]


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "Yes" Sessions 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.[20]

Social Issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "No" Sessions 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.[21]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Sessions 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.[22]

Senate Judiciary Committee

Sessions was first appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly after he was sworn in on January of 1997.[23]

Sessions serves as the Republican Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. He also serves on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Crime and Drugs, Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, and Terrorism and Homeland Security.[24]

Denied a federal judgeship

When Sessions was a US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, former President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a judgeship in that district in 1985. It was during a confirmation hearing in 1986 that Sessions was denied a federal judgeship when the committee was deadlocked on a 9-9 vote which prevented him from having a confirmation vote on the Senate floor.[25]

It was during his 1986 confirmation hearing that Sessions was accused by a fellow African-American US Attorney for displaying racial insensitivity. This was before his confirmation hearing when Sessions prosecuted three civil rights workers for voter fraud, alleging that the three workers tampered with ballots. The case was used by civil rights groups in opposing the confirmation of Jeff Sessions.[25]

Thomas Figures, a former Assistant US Attorney that worked under Sessions, accused the former US Attorney of calling him "boy" in conversations which led to the allegations of racial insensitivity against him. Another Assistant US Attorney that worked under Sessions, Edward Vulevich, challenged Figures' testimony.[25]

The accusations leveled on Sessions led former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden to pressure former President Reagan to drop his nomination for Sessions. Many legal experts considered this one of the first instances when confirmation hearings for federal judges turned into the very partisan battles that exist currently in the Senate.[25]



See also: United States Senate elections in Alabama, 2014

Sessions sought re-election in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Alabama. He is running unopposed in the Republican primary on June 3, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


On November 4, 2008, Jeff Sessions won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Vivian Davis Figures (D) in the general election.[26]

U.S. Senate, Alabama General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJeff Sessions incumbent 63.4% 1,305,383
     Democratic Vivian Davis Figures 36.5% 752,391
     N/A Write-in 0.1% 2,417
Total Votes 2,060,191

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Sessions is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Sessions raised a total of $12,724,180 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 25, 2013.[29]

Jeff Sessions's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2008 US Senate (Alabama) Won $6,370,595
2002 US Senate (Alabama) Won $6,353,585
Grand Total Raised $12,724,180


Candidates for Congress are required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Sessions' reports.[30]

MLB donations

In August 2013, the Federal Election Commission required the Sessions campaign to return a $5,000 from the Major League Baseball PAC. The MLB broke FEC regulations by donating the maximum allowed donation, $5,000, twice during the 2014 cycle.[39]


Breakdown of the source of Sessions' campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Sessions won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. During that re-election cycle, Sessions' campaign committee raised a total of $6,370,595 and spent $3,906,680.[40]

His top 5 contributors between 2003-2008 were:


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Sessions is a "rank-and-file Republican" as of June 2013.[41]

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.[42]

Sessions most often votes with:

Sessions least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Sessions missed 110 of 5,168 roll call votes from January 1997 to March 2013. This amounts to 2.1%, which is worse than the median of 1.7% among current senators as of March 2013.[43]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Sessions paid his congressional staff a total of $2,339,784 in 2011. He ranked 19th on the list of the lowest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranked 25th 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.[44]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Sessions' net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $3,399,062 and $10,761,000. That averages to $7,080,031, which is higher than the average net worth of Republican senators in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. Sessions ranked as the 22nd most wealthy senator in 2012.[45]

Jeff Sessions Yearly Net Worth
YearAvg. Net Worth% Difference from previous year

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. Sessions ranked 22nd in the conservative rankings among U.S. senators in 2012.[46]


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Sessions ranked 12th in the conservative rankings among U.S. senators.[47]

Voting with party


Sessions voted with the Republican Party 87.9% of the time, which ranked 26th among the 45 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[48]


Sessions and his wife, Mary Blackshear, have three children.

Recent news

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

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

Jeff Sessions News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. Biographical Director of the United States Congress, "Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III," accessed October 20, 2011
  2. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 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. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
  13. New York 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. Senate.gov, "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. Senate Judiciary, "List of previous members"
  24. Senate Judiciary Committee, "List of Subcommittees"
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 "ABC News" The Racial Controversy That Cost Sen. Sessions a Judgeship in 1986, June 2, 2009
  26. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  27. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
  28. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
  29. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Jeff Sessions," accessed March 25, 2013
  30. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions Summary Report," accessed July 22, 2013
  31. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions April Quarterly," accessed July 22, 2013
  32. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions July Quarterly," accessed July 22, 2013
  33. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions October Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions Year-End," accessed June 2, 2014
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions April Quarterly," accessed June 2, 2014
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions Pre-Primary," accessed June 2, 2014
  37. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions July Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2014
  38. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  39. The Washington Post, "FEC cries foul at Major League Baseball donations," accessed August 23, 2013
  40. Open Secrets, "Jeff Sessions 2008 Election Cycle," accessed October 22, 2011
  41. Gov Track, "Jeff Sessions," accessed June 7, 2013
  42. OpenCongress, "Jeff Sessions," accessed July 30, 2013
  43. GovTrack, "Jeff Sessions," accessed April 2, 2013
  44. LegiStorm, "Jeff Sessions," accessed August 6, 2012
  45. OpenSecrets.org, "Jeff Sessions (R-Ala), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  46. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 21, 2013
  47. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," February 23, 2012
  48. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Howell T. Heflin
U.S. Senate - Alabama
Succeeded by