Mark Begich

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Mark Begich
Mark Begich.jpg
U.S. Senate, Alaska
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 6
PredecessorTed Stevens (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Next general November 4, 2014
Campaign $$4,576,337
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Mayor, City of Anchorage
Date of birthMarch 30, 1962
Place of birthAnchorage, AK
Net worth$1,376,522
Office website
Mark Begich (b. March 30, 1962, in Anchorage, Alaska) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Alaska. Begich was first elected to the Senate in 2008. He defeated Ted Stevens (R), Bob Bird (Alaskan Independence), Frederick Haase (L) and Ted Gianoutsos (NPA) in the general election.

Begich began his political career by serving as the Mayor of Anchorage from 2003 to 2009.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Begich is a more moderate left of center Democratic Party vote. As a result, he may break with the Democratic Party line more than his fellow members.

Begich is seeking re-election in 2014.


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

  • 1988-1998: Anchorage Assembly
  • 1995-2002: Alaska Student Loan Corporation
  • 1995-2002: Alaska Commission of Post-secondary Education
  • 2001-2002: University of Alaska Board of Regents
  • 2003-2009: Mayor of Anchorage
  • 2009-Present: U.S. Senator from Alaska

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Begich serves on the following Senate committees:[2]

  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
    • Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Department of Homeland
  • Commerce, Science and Transportation
    • Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
    • Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
    • Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion
    • Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet
    • Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
  • 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
  • Committee on Indian Affairs
  • Veterans' Affairs


  • Armed Services
    • Subcommittee on Personnel
    • Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
    • Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
  • Budget
  • Commerce, Science and Transportation
    • Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
    • Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet
    • Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion
    • Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
    • Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
  • Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight
    • Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security
    • Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia
  • Veterans' Affairs


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 Begich's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[4]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "Yes" Begich 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.[5]


Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" 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.[6] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Begich voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[7]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" Begich 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 suspended 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.[8]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Nay3.png On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years.[9] No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014.[9] Begich was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.[9]

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan brought the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs, and it ordered up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.[9]

The Senate plan differed greatly, and included $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would have left the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.[9]


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "No" Begich voted against 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.[10]


Obamacare subsidy

Begich enrolled in the Obamacare health exchange and turned down a contribution from the federal government. He said, "I want to have the exact same experience and go through the same steps as other Alaskans when it comes to signing up for health care, which is why I have decided to refuse any federal subsidy and have signed up on Alaska’s federally run marketplace."[11]

Begich said that he is not waiting for the president to fix the Affordable Care Act's implementation. He said on "Fox and Friends," "I am not waiting for the president’s promise. I want to see results. Today we’re proposing another solution to that, and I think there is a great opportunity to move forward." He went on, "I’m disappointed in how it’s been implemented and rolled out. There was too many people making decisions that weren’t coordinated. There wasn’t a focus on how this would work."[12]

Social Issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "Yes" Begich 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.[13]

Background checks on gun sales

Nay3.png On April 17, 2013, the U.S. Senate took a vote on and defeated a measure that would have expanded federal background checks for firearms purchases.[14] The vote was 54-46, with supporters falling six votes short of the required 60-vote threshold.[15] Begich was one of the 4 Democratic Senators who voted against the amendment.[16]

As a result of the vote, Begich was targeted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group is running ads in Alaska, Arkansas and North Dakota, three of the states with Democratic senators who voted against the bill on expanded background checks for gun sales.[17]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Begich 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.[18]



See also: United States Senate elections in Alaska, 2014

Begich is seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2014.

The Fiscal Times compiled a list of the seven most vulnerable Senate seats up for election in 2014. The seven included in the list are: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. Going into the 2014 election, all seven seats are held by Democrats.[19]

According to a July 2013 Politico report, Begich raised nearly $1 million in the second quarter, leaving him with over $2 million cash on hand. He raised $948,000 in the first quarter and a total of roughly $4 million so far this election cycle.[20]

Begich defeated Ted Stevens in 2008 to win the seat. However, the potential loss of jobs at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks could cause Begich to take a hit in his bid for re-election.[19]

Polling indicates that Gov. Sean Parnell (R) could be Begich’s strongest opponent, but Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R) is the likeliest opponent. The seat is considered a toss-up.[19]

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Begich is available dating back to 2008. Based on available campaign finance records, Begich raised a total of $4,576,337 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 25, 2013.[22]

Mark Begich's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2008 US Senate (Alaska) Won $4,576,337
Grand Total Raised $4,576,337


Candidates for Congress are required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Begich's reports.[23]


Top recipients of lobbyist contributions

On a list of Top 10 Recipients of Contributions from Lobbyists in 2013 from Open Secrets, Begich ranked 8th on the list with $54,350 in lobbyist contributions.[33]


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

Begich won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. During that re-election cycle, Begich's campaign committee raised a total of $5,161,874 and spent $4,911,772.[34]

His top 5 contributors between 2005-2010 were:


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Begich is a "rank-and-file Democrat" as of June 2013.[35]

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.[36]

Begich most often votes with:

Begich least often votes with:

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.


Begich ranked 41st in the liberal rankings among U.S. senators in 2012.[37]


Begich ranked 42nd in the liberal rankings among U.S. senators in 2011.[38]

Voting with party


Begich voted with the Democratic Party 82.5% of the time, which ranked 45th among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[39]

Lifetime missed votes

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

According to the website GovTrack, Begich missed 35 of 1,274 roll call votes from January 2009 to March 2013. This amounts to 2.7%, 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. Begich paid his congressional staff a total of $2,802,849 in 2011. He ranked 33rd on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 78th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Alaska ranked 47th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[41]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Begich's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $-385,948 and $3,215,995. That averages to $1,415,023, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Begich ranked as the 58th most wealthy senator in 2012.[42]

Mark Begich Yearly Net Worth
YearAvg. Net Worth% Difference from previous year


Begich and his wife, Deborah Bonito, have one child.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Mark + Begich + Alaska + Senate

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

Mark Begich News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. Biographical Director of the United States Congress "Mark Begich," 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. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  7., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  8. 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
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 New York Times "Senate Passes $3.7 Trillion Budget, Setting Up Contentious Negotiations" accessed March 25, 2013
  10. Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  11. Politico, "Mark Begich declines health insurance subsidy," November 11, 2013
  12. Politico, "Mark Begich: I’m not waiting for President Obama," November 14, 2013
  13. Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  14. NPR, "Senate Rejects Expanded Background Checks For Gun Sales," accessed April 19, 2013
  15. Fox News, "Background check plan defeated in Senate, Obama rips gun bill opponents," accessed April 19, 2013
  16. NPR, "Historically Speaking, No Surprise In Senate Gun Control Vote," accessed April 19, 2013
  17. Politico, " Gun control ads have Democrats worrying," May 7, 2013
  18. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Fiscal Times "7 Senate Seats Most at Risk—Hint: They’re All Blue" Accessed February 15, 2013
  20. Politico, "Alaska Senate race 2014: Begich faces tough race, raises $1M," July 15, 2013
  21. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  22. Open Secrets "Career Fundraising for Mark Begich," Accessed March 25, 2013
  23. Federal Election Commission "Mark Begich Summary Report," Accessed July 22, 2013
  24. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Begich April Quarterly," accessed July 22, 2013
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Begich July Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  26. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Begich October Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  27. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Begich Year-End," accessed February 14, 2014
  28. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Begich April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Begich July Quarterly," accessed July 28, 2014
  30. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Begich Pre-Primary," accessed August 12, 2014
  31. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Begich October Quarterly," accessed October 24, 2014
  32. Federal Election Commission, "Mark Begich Pre-General," accessed November 24, 2014
  33. Open Secrets "Top Recipients of Lobbyists Cash in 2013" Accessed July 3, 2013
  34. Open Secrets "Mark Begich 2010 Election Cycle," Accessed October 22 2011
  35. Gov Track "Mark Begich," Accessed June 7, 2013
  36. OpenCongress, "Mark Begich," Accessed July 30, 2013
  37. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 21, 2013
  38. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," February 23, 2012
  39. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  40. GovTrack, "Mark Begich," Accessed April 2, 2013
  41. LegiStorm "Mark Begich"
  42., "Mark Begich (D-Alaska), 2012"
Political offices
Preceded by
Ted Stevens
U.S. Senate - Alaska
Succeeded by