Keith Ellison (Minnesota)

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Keith Ellison
Keith Ellison.jpg
U.S. House, Minnesota, District 5
In office
January 3, 2007-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 8
PredecessorMartin Olav Sabo (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 7, 2006
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$5,776,484
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Minnesota House of Representatives
Bachelor'sWayne State University
J.D.University of Minnesota
Date of birthAugust 4, 1963
Place of birthDetroit, Michigan
Net worth$5,503
Office website
Campaign website
Keith Maurice Ellison (b. August 4, 1963, in Detroit, Michigan) is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Minnesota's 5th congressional district. Ellison was first elected to the House in 2006. He won running for re-election in 2012.[1]

Ellison serves as one of the Chief Deputy Whips of the Democratic caucus for the 113th Congress.[2]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Ellison is one of the most reliable Democratic votes, meaning he can be considered a safe vote for the Democratic Party in Congress.


Ellison was born in 1963 in Detroit, Michigan. He earned his B.A. from Wayne State University in 1986 and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1990. Prior to his political career, Ellison worked as an attorney.[3]

In January 2012, Ellison was named a "Top-20 US Progressive" according to The New Statesman, a magazine based in the United Kingdom. Other members of the list include Paul Krugman, Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Rachel Maddow.[4]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Ellison's political career:[3]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Ellison serves on the following committees:[5]

  • Financial Services Committee
    • Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
    • Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations


Ellison served on the following House committees:[6]

  • Financial Services Committee
    • Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations


Campaign themes


The policy positions below were highlighted at Ellison's campaign website.

  • Civil and Human Rights

Excerpt: "Keith supports the rights of all individuals to vote free of undue burden or harassment. Furthermore, he is also a tireless advocate for LGBT equality and the rights of workers to collectively bargain."[7]

  • Economy

Excerpt: "He believes that we need a tax system where the rich pay their share. As a member of the House Financial Service Committee, Keith authored legislation to protect borrowers from being penalized by lenders for defaulting or missing payments on other loans—an unfair practice known as Universal Default."[8]

  • Education, Housing, and Health Care

Excerpt: "Keith believes that we must support children, families, teachers, and communities in the development of high quality educational opportunities. Keith has been a leading voice for safe and affordable housing for low-income Americans and seeks to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens can keep a roof over their heads."[9]

  • Energy and Environment

Excerpt: "Everyone has the right to drink clean water, breathe clean air, and eat food free of harmful toxins. For years, Keith has been actively involved in the environmental justice movement, which brings communities of color and low-income communities into the larger efforts of creating a cleaner world for our children and future generations."[10]

  • Immigration

Excerpt: "Keith supports comprehensive immigration reform such as the STRIVE Act that includes four components: a clear path to citizenship to those who are already in the U.S. working and paying taxes; expedited process for family reunification; workable employment verification system with strict penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants."[11]

  • Peace and Foreign Relations

Excerpt: "Keith firmly believes that peace should be a guiding principle in U.S. policy, both foreign and domestic. He is committed to fostering dialogue, engagement, and non-violent conflict resolution so we leave a safer world for our children and future generations."[12]

  • Veterans

Excerpt: "Every day, America’s men and women in uniform put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms. During his time in Congress, Keith has supported policies that ensure we provide our troops with the support they deserve after returning from duty."[13]

Specific votes

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Ellison 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. He was 1 of 172 Democrats that voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257/167 vote on January 1, 2013.[14]

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.[15] For more information pertaining to Ellison's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[16]

National security

American response in Syria
See also: United States involvement in Syria

On August 29, 2013, more than 50 House Democrats signed a letter written by California Rep. Barbara Lee that called for a congressional resolution on strikes, and cautioned that the dire situation in Syria "should not draw us into an unwise war—especially without adhering to our constitutional requirements."[17][18] The letter also called on the Obama administration to work with the U.N. Security Council “to build international consensus” condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons. Ellison was one of the 50 Democrats in the House to sign the letter.[17][18]




Social issues

Violence Against Women Act

Voted "Yes" Ellison voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act which provides aid to prosecute cases of violent acts against women and men.[19]



See also: Minnesota's 5th congressional district elections, 2012

Ellison won re-election in 2012.[20] He defeated Gary Boisclair and Gregg A. Iverson in the Democratic primary.[21] He defeated Republican challenger Chris Fields in the November general election.

Keith Ellison, "Minnesota Week September 24-28 "[22]
U.S. House, Minnesota District 5 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKeith Ellison Incumbent 74.5% 262,102
     Republican Chris Fields 25.2% 88,753
     NA Write-in 0.3% 1,114
Total Votes 351,969
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State, "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election" (dead link)
Minnesota's 5th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngKeith Ellison Incumbent 89.6% 30,609
Gregg Iverson 6.3% 2,143
Gary Boisclair 4.1% 1,397
Total Votes 34,149

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Ellison is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Ellison raised a total of $5,776,484 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 16, 2013.[26]

Keith Ellison (Minnesota)'s Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 5) Won $2,053,544
2010 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 5) Won $1,397,497
2008 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 5) Won $1,530,396
2006 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 5) Won $795,047
Grand Total Raised $5,776,484


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Ellison's reports.[27]

Keith Ellison (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[28]4/15/2013$56,569.76$185,609.42$(155,490.40)$86,688.78
July Quarterly[29]7/15/2013$86,688.78$193,311.43$(139,967.94)$140,032.27
Running totals


Breakdown of the source of Ellison's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Ellison won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Ellison's campaign committee raised a total of $2,053,544 and spent $2,160,554.[30]

Cost per vote

Ellison spent $8.25 per vote received in 2012.


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

Ellison won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Ellison's campaign committee raised a total of $1,397,497 and spent $1,295,839.[31]


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.[32]

Ellison most often votes with:

Ellison least often votes with:

Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Ellison is a "far-left Democrat," as of June 14, 2013.[33]

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Ellison missed 340 of 5,229 roll call votes from Jan 2007 to Apr 2013, which is 6.5% of votes during that period. This is worse than the median of 2.2% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving.[34]

Congressional Staff Salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Ellison paid his congressional staff a total of $1,022,608 in 2011. Overall, Minnesota ranked 26th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[35]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Ellison's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between -$12,994 and $24,000. This averages to $5,503, which is a 1.3796% decrease since 2010. This is lower than the $5,107,874 average net worth for Democratic representatives in 2011.[36]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Ellison's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $-47,994 to $18,999, which is lower than the average net worth of Democrats in 2010 of $4,465,875.[37]

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, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


According to the data released in 2013, Ellison was ranked the 47th most liberal representative during 2012.[38]


According to the data released in 2012, Keith Ellison was ranked one of the most liberal representatives during 2011. This ranking is shared with 18 other representatives. It is also the most liberal ranking held by any Minnesota representative.[39]

Percentage voting with party


Keith Ellison voted with the Democratic Party 94% of the time, which ranked 129th among the 201 House Democratic members as of June 2013.[40]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Keith + Ellison + Minnesota + House

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

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Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to the United States Congress. He has four children.[41]

External links


  1. Politico "2012 Election Map"
  2. Office of the Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer "Hoyer Announces Whip Team for the 113th Congress," January 4, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Biographical Guide to Members of Congress "Keith Ellison" Accessed December 10, 2011
  4. New Statesman "Who's left? The top 20 US progressives," January 11, 2012
  5., "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress"
  6. U.S. Congress House Clerk "House of Representatives Committee Assignments" Accessed December 8, 2011
  7. Ellison's Campaign website, Issues
  8. Ellison's Campaign website, Issues
  9. Ellison's Campaign website, Issues
  10. Ellison's Campaign website, Issues
  11. Ellison's Campaign website, Issues
  12. Ellison's Campaign website, Issues
  13. Ellison's Campaign website, Issues
  14. U.S. House "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  15. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  16. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 Office of Barbara Lee, "Lee Letter to President Obama," accessed September 2, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Washington Post, "More than 50 House Democrats also want Syria strike resolution," accessed September 2, 2013
  19. On the Issues, "Ellison on Civil Rights", accessed September 11, 2013
  20. Open Secrets "Keith Ellison Cycle Fundraising 2011-2012" Accessed February 10, 2012
  21. CBS "Primary Results 2012" Accessed May 30, 2013
  22. YouTube channel
  23. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  24. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  25. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  26. Open Secrets "Keith Ellison" Accessed May 16, 2013
  27. Federal Election Commission "Ellsion 2014 Summary reports," Accessed July 18, 2013
  28. FEC "April Quarterly," Accessed July 18, 2013
  29. FEC "July Quarterly," Accessed July 18, 2013
  30. Open Secrets " 2012 Re-Election Cycle," Accessed February 15, 2013
  31. Open Secrets "Keith Ellison 2010 Re-Election Cycle," Accessed December 11, 2011
  32. OpenCongress, "Keith Ellison," Accessed August 5, 2013
  33. Gov Track "Keith Ellison," Accessed June 14, 2013
  34. GovTrack, "Keith Ellison" Accessed April 2013
  35. LegiStorm, "Keith Ellison," Accessed October 8, 2012
  36., "Keith Ellison (D-Minn), 2011,"
  37., "Keith Ellison (D-Minn), 2010," Accessed October 8, 2012
  38. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  39. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  40. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  41. Official House Site "Biography," Accessed December 10, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Martin Olav Sabo
U.S. House of Representatives - Minnesota, District 5
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minnesota House of Representatives
Succeeded by