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Richard Blumenthal
Richard Blumenthal Official Portrait.jpg
Official portrait, 2011
United States Senator
from Connecticut
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Serving with Chris Murphy
Preceded by Chris Dodd
23rd Attorney General of Connecticut
In office
January 9, 1991 – January 5, 2011
Governor Lowell Weicker
John Rowland
Jodi Rell
Preceded by Clarine Nardi Riddle
Succeeded by George Jepsen
Member of the Connecticut Senate
from the 27th district
In office
November 4, 1987 – January 3, 1991
Preceded by Anthony Truglia
Succeeded by George Jepsen
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 145th district
In office
April 11, 1984 – November 4, 1987
Preceded by Anthony Truglia
Succeeded by Nicholas Pavia
United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut
In office
1977–1981
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Peter Dorsey
Succeeded by Alan Nevas
Personal details
Born (1946-02-13) February 13, 1946 (age 78)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse
Cynthia Malkin
(m. 1982)
Children 4, including Matt
Education Harvard University (AB)
Trinity College, Cambridge
Yale University (JD)
Signature
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1970–1976
Rank USMC-E5.svg Sergeant
Unit Marine Forces Reserve insignia (transparent background).png U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Richard Blumenthal (/ˈblmənθɑːl/ bloo-MƏN-thahl; born February 13, 1946) is an American lawyer and politician who is the senior United States senator from Connecticut, a seat he has held since 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he is one of the wealthiest members of the Senate, with a net worth over 0 million. He was Attorney General of Connecticut from 1991 to 2011.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Blumenthal attended Riverdale Country School, a private school in the Bronx. He graduated from Harvard College, where he was chair of the editorial board of The Harvard Crimson. He studied for a year at Trinity College, Cambridge, in England before attending Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. From 1970 to 1976, Blumenthal served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, attaining the rank of sergeant. After law school, Blumenthal passed the bar and served as administrative assistant and law clerk for several Washington, D.C. figures. From 1977 to 1981, he was United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. In the early 1980s he worked in private law practice, including as volunteer counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Blumenthal served one term in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1985 to 1987; in 1986 he was elected to the Connecticut Senate and began service in 1987. He was elected Attorney General of Connecticut in 1990 and served for 20 years. During this period political observers speculated about him as a contender for governor of Connecticut, but he never pursued the office. Blumenthal announced his 2010 run for the U.S. Senate after incumbent Senator Chris Dodd announced his retirement. He faced Linda McMahon, a professional wrestling magnate, in the 2010 election, winning with 55% of the vote. He was sworn in on January 5, 2011. After Joe Lieberman retired in 2013, Blumenthal became Connecticut's senior senator. He was reelected in 2016 with 63.2% of the vote, becoming the first person to receive more than a million votes in a statewide election in Connecticut, and reelected again in 2022.

Early life and education

Blumenthal was born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Jane (née Rosenstock) and Martin Blumenthal. At age 17, Martin Blumenthal immigrated to the United States from Frankfurt, Germany; Jane was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, graduated from Radcliffe College, and became a social worker. Martin Blumenthal had a career in financial services and became president of a commodities trading firm. Jane's father, Fred "Fritz" Rosenstock, raised cattle, and as youths Blumenthal and his brother often visited their grandfather's farm. Blumenthal's brother David Blumenthal is a doctor and health care policy expert who became president of the Commonwealth Fund.

Blumenthal attended Riverdale Country School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. He then attended Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1967 with an A.B. degree magna cum laude and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, he was editorial chairman of The Harvard Crimson. Blumenthal was a summer intern reporter for The Washington Post in the London Bureau. He was selected for a Fiske Fellowship, which allowed him to study at the University of Cambridge in England for one year after graduation from Harvard.

In 1973, Blumenthal received his J.D. degree from Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. At Yale, he was classmates with future President Bill Clinton and future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One of his co-editors of the Yale Law Journal was future United States Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. He was also a classmate of future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and radio host Michael Medved.

Early political career

Blumenthal served as administrative assistant to Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff, as aide to Daniel P. Moynihan when Moynihan was Assistant to President Richard Nixon, and as a law clerk to Judge Jon O. Newman, U.S. District Court of the District of Connecticut, and to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

Before becoming attorney general, Blumenthal was a partner in the law firm of Cummings & Lockwood, and subsequently in the law firm of Silver, Golub & Sandak. In December 1982, while still at Cummings & Lockwood, he created and chaired the Citizens Crime Commission of Connecticut, a private, nonprofit organization. From 1981 to 1986, he was a volunteer counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

At age 31, Blumenthal was appointed United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, serving from 1977 to 1981. As the chief federal prosecutor of that state, he successfully prosecuted many major cases involving organized crime, white collar criminals, civil rights violators, consumer fraud, and environmental pollution.

In 1982, he married Cynthia Allison Malkin. She is the daughter of real estate investor Peter L. Malkin. Her maternal grandfather was lawyer and philanthropist Lawrence Wien.

In 1984, when he was 38, Blumenthal was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives, representing the 145th district. In 1987, he won a special election to fill a vacancy in the 27th district of the Connecticut Senate, at age 41. Blumenthal resided in Stamford, Connecticut.

In the 1980s, Blumenthal testified in the state legislature in favor of abolishing Connecticut's death penalty statute. He did so after representing Joseph Green Brown, a Florida death row inmate who was found to have been wrongly convicted. Blumenthal succeeded in staving off Brown's execution just 15 hours before it was scheduled to take place, and gained a new trial for Brown.

Attorney General of Connecticut

Blumenthal was elected the 23rd Attorney General of Connecticut in 1990 and reelected in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006. On October 10, 2002, he was awarded the Raymond E. Baldwin Award for Public Service by the Quinnipiac University School of Law.

Tenure

Pequot land annexation bid

In May 1995, Blumenthal and the state of Connecticut filed lawsuits challenging a decision by the Department of the Interior to approve a bid by the federally recognized Mashantucket Pequot for annexation of 165 acres of land in the towns of Ledyard, North Stonington and Preston. The Pequot were attempting to have the land placed in a federal trust, a legal designation to provide them with land for their sovereign control, as long years of colonization had left them landless. Blumenthal argued that the Interior Department's decision in support of this action was "fatally, legally flawed, and unfair" and that "it would unfairly remove land from the tax rolls of the surrounding towns and bar local control over how the land is used, while imposing [a] tremendous burden." The tribe announced the withdrawal of the land annexation petition in February 2002.

Interstate air pollution

In 1997, Blumenthal and Governor John G. Rowland petitioned the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address interstate air pollution problems created from Midwest and southeastern sources. The petition was filed in accordance with Section 126 of the Clean Air Act, which allows a state to request pollution reductions from out-of-state sources that contribute significantly to its air quality problems.

In 2003, Blumenthal and the attorneys general of eight other states (New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont) filed a federal lawsuit against the Bush administration for "endangering air quality by gutting a critical component of the federal Clean Air Act." The suit alleged that changes in the act would have exempted thousands of industrial air pollution sources from the act's New Source Review provision and that the new rules and regulations would lead to an increase in air pollution.

Tobacco

While attorney general, Blumenthal was one of the leaders of a 46-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry, which alleged that the companies involved had deceived the public about the dangers of smoking. He argued that the state of Connecticut should be reimbursed for Medicaid expenses related to smoking. In 1998, the tobacco companies reached a $246 billion national settlement, giving the 46 states involved 25 years of reimbursement payments. Connecticut's share of the settlement was estimated at $3.6 billion.

In December 2007, Blumenthal filed suit against RJ Reynolds, alleging that a 2007 Camel advertising spread in Rolling Stone magazine used cartoons in violation of the master tobacco settlement, which prohibited the use of cartoons in cigarette advertising because they entice children and teenagers to smoke. The company paid the state of Connecticut $150,000 to settle the suit and agreed to end the advertising campaign.

Microsoft lawsuit

In May 1998, Blumenthal and the attorneys general of 19 other states and the District of Columbia filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft, accusing it of abusing its monopoly power to stifle competition. The suit, which centered on Microsoft's Windows 98 operating system and its contractual restrictions imposed on personal computer manufacturers to tie the operating system to its Internet Explorer browser, was eventually merged with a federal case brought by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) under Attorney General Janet Reno.

A 2000 landmark federal court decision ruled that Microsoft had violated antitrust laws, and the court ordered that the company be broken up. In 2001, the federal appeals court agreed, but rather than break up the company, it sent the case to a new judge to hold hearings and determine appropriate remedies. Remedies were later proposed by Blumenthal and eight other attorneys general; these included requiring that Microsoft license an unbundled version of Windows in which middleware and operating system code were not commingled.

In 2001, the Bush administration's DOJ settled with Microsoft in an agreement criticized by many states and other industry experts as insufficient. In November 2002, a federal court ruling imposed those same remedies. announced on January 6, 2010, that he would retire from the Senate at the end of his term, Blumenthal told the Associated Press that he would run in the election for Dodd's seat in November 2010. Later that day, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden called Blumenthal to express their best wishes.

The same day, Public Policy Polling released a poll they took on the two preceding evenings, including races where Blumenthal was paired against each of the three most-mentioned Republicans contending for their party's nomination for the seat. He led by at least 30% in each hypothetical race: against Rob Simmons (59%–28%), against Linda McMahon (60%–28%), and against Peter Schiff (63%–23%), with a 4.3% margin of error cited. Rasmussen Reports also polled after Blumenthal announced his candidacy and found a somewhat more competitive race, but with Blumenthal holding a strong lead.

A February poll by Rasmussen found that Blumenthal held leads of 19 against Simmons and 20 against McMahon, and that Republicans had made up little ground since the initial Rasmussen poll after Blumenthal announced. On May 21, Blumenthal received the Democratic nomination by acclamation.

The New York Times reported that Blumenthal misspoke on at least one occasion by saying he'd served with the military "in Vietnam". Video emerged of him speaking to a group of veterans and supporters in March 2008 in Norwalk, saying, in reference to supporting troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, "We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam." There were also other occasions where he accurately described his military service. At a 2008 ceremony in Shelton, Connecticut, he said, "I served during the Vietnam era... I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse."

Blumenthal's commanding officer in 1974 and 1975, Larry Baldino of Woodbridge, addressed the controversy in a letter to the editor in the New Haven Register. Baldino wrote that the misleading statement was too "petty" to be the basis for supporting or not supporting Blumenthal. Baldino further called Blumenthal "good-natured" and "one of the best Marines with whom I ever worked".

Days after the nomination, Quinnipiac University Polling Institute polling indicated that Blumenthal held a 25-point lead over McMahon. The Cook Political Report changed its assessment of the race to Leans Democratic, making Blumenthal the favored candidate over McMahon.

Blumenthal won the November 2 election, defeating McMahon 55% to 43%.

2016

CT 16Sen results no title
Results of the 2016 U.S. Senate election in Connecticut by town

August Wolf, a bond salesman and former Olympian, was the only declared Republican candidate running against Blumenthal in the 2016 Senate election.

In August 2015, economist Larry Kudlow threatened to run against Blumenthal if Blumenthal voted in favor of the Iran Nuclear Deal.

According to a pair of Quinnipiac polls on October 15, 2015, Blumenthal had a 34-point lead over Kudlow and a 35-point lead over Wolf.

Blumenthal was reelected with 63% of the vote against Republican state representative Dan Carter, becoming the first person in Connecticut's history to receive over a million votes in a single election.

2022

In November 2020, Blumenthal announced that he would seek reelection in 2022. In the general election, he defeated Leora Levy, who defeated former Connecticut House Minority Leader Themis Klarides in the Republican primary.

Tenure

Richard Blumenthal portrait
Blumenthal during the 112th Congress

Blumenthal was sworn into the 112th United States Congress on January 5, 2011. He announced plans to return to Connecticut every weekend to join a "listening tour" of his home state.

Navy Distinguished Public Service Medal Awardee Richard Blumenthal
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus presents the Navy Distinguished Public Service Medal to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in 2012.

In March 2012, Blumenthal and New York Senator Chuck Schumer gained national attention after they called upon Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to investigate practices by employers to require Facebook passwords for employee applicants and workers.

Blumenthal worked with Senator Mark Kirk to eliminate pensions for members of Congress who are convicted of felonies while serving in office.

In Blumenthal v. Trump, Blumenthal and Representative John Conyers Jr. led a group of 196 congressmen in filing a federal lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the US Constitution.

In the wake of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Blumenthal blamed Trump, saying that Trump "incited, instigated and supported" the attack. He called for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Blumenthal also requested an investigation into the lack of response from law enforcement and the military.

In December 2021, Blumenthal gave a speech honoring three local labor activists at an awards ceremony in New Haven that was hosted by the Connecticut People's World Committee, an affiliate of the Connecticut Communist Party. After criticism from national Republican politicians and conservative media outlets, Blumenthal said that he is "a strong supporter and believer in American capitalism" and would not have attended had he known of the group's Communist ties.

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Armed Services
    • Subcommittee on Airland
    • Subcommittee on Personnel
    • Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
    • Subcommittee on SeaPower
  • Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Investigations (Chairman)
    • Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights
    • Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action and Federal Rights
    • Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
    • Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law
    • Subcommittee on the Constitution
  • Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • Special Committee on Aging

Caucus memberships

  • Expand Social Security Caucus
  • Senate Oceans Caucus
  • Senate Ukraine Caucus

Legislation sponsored

The following is an incomplete list of legislation that Blumenthal has sponsored:

  • Affordable College Textbook Act (S. 1864; 115th Congress)

Political positions

The American Conservative Union gave him a 3% lifetime conservative rating in 2019.

Agriculture

In March 2019, Blumenthal was one of 38 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue warning that dairy farmers "have continued to face market instability and are struggling to survive the fourth year of sustained low prices" and urging his department to "strongly encourage these farmers to consider the Dairy Margin Coverage program."

In May 2019, Blumenthal and eight other Democratic senators sent Perdue a letter criticizing the USDA for purchasing pork from JBS USA, writing that it was "counterproductive and contradictory" for companies to receive funding from "U.S. taxpayer dollars intended to help American farmers struggling with this administration's trade policy." The senators requested the department "ensure these commodity purchases are carried out in a manner that most benefits the American farmer's bottom line—not the business interests of foreign corporations."

In June 2019, Blumenthal and 18 other Democratic senators sent a letter to USDA Inspector General (IG) Phyllis K. Fong requesting that the IG investigate USDA instances of retaliation and political decision-making and asserting that not to conduct an investigation would mean these "actions could be perceived as a part of this administration's broader pattern of not only discounting the value of federal employees, but suppressing, undermining, discounting, and wholesale ignoring scientific data produced by their own qualified scientists."

Antitrust, competition and corporate regulation

In June 2019, Blumenthal was one of six Democrats led by Amy Klobuchar to sign letters to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice recounting that many of them had "called on both the FTC and the Justice Department to investigate potential anticompetitive activity in these markets, particularly following the significant enforcement actions taken by foreign competition enforcers against these same companies" and requesting that both agencies confirm whether they had opened antitrust investigations into each of the companies and that both agencies pledge to publicly release any such investigations' findings.

Arbitration clauses

Blumenthal is one of Congress's most vocal critics of arbitration clauses and class action waivers. He was the leading Senate sponsor of the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, alongside Representative Hank Johnson, which would ban the use of the clauses in consumer contracts. Blumenthal additionally introduced separate legislation with Representative Conor Lamb aimed to prohibit Amtrak from enforcing such clauses in its customer agreements.

Aviation safety

Blumenthal called for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to temporarily ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in the United States until an investigation into the cause of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 is complete.

Child care

In 2019, Blumenthal and 34 other senators introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, a bill that created 770,000 new child care jobs and ensured families under 75% of the state median income did not pay for child care with higher-earning families having to pay "their fair share for care on a sliding scale, regardless of the number of children they have." The legislation also supported universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year-olds and changed the child care workforce compensation and training to aid both teachers and caregivers.

Children's programming

In 2019, following the Federal Communications Commission's announcement of rules changes to children's programming by modifying the Children's Television Act of 1990, Blumenthal and eight other Democratic senators signed a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that expressed concern that the proposed changes "would limit the reach of educational content available to children and have a particular damaging effect on youth in low-income and minority communities" and asserted that the new rules would see a reduction in access to valuable educational content through over-the-air services.

Disaster relief

In April 2018, Blumenthal was one of five Democratic senators to sign a letter to FEMA administrator Brock Long calling on FEMA to enter an agreement with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development that would "stand up the Disaster Housing Assistance Program and address the medium- and longer-term housing needs" of evacuees of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The senators wrote that "FEMA's refusal to use the tools at its disposal, including DHAP, to help these survivors is puzzling—and profoundly troubling" and that hundreds of hurricane survivors were susceptible to being left homeless in the event that FEMA and HUD continued to not work together.

Economy

In March 2019, Blumenthal led five Democratic senators in signing a letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting it "use its rulemaking authority, along with other tools, in order to combat the scourge of non-compete clauses rigging our economy against workers" and arguing that incomplete clauses "harm employees by limiting their ability to find alternate work, which leaves them with little leverage to bargain for better wages or working conditions with their immediate employer." The senators added that the FTC had the responsibility of protecting both consumers and workers and needed to "act decisively" to address their concerns over "serious anti-competitive harms from the proliferation of non-competes in the economy."

Encryption

On March 3, 2020, Blumenthal cosponsored a bill to make it difficult for people and organizations to use encryption under the EARN-IT Act of 2020

Environment

In June 2019, Blumenthal was one of 44 senators to introduce the International Climate Accountability Act, legislation that would prevent Trump from using funds in an attempt to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and directing the Trump administration to instead develop a strategic plan for the United States that would allow it to meet its commitment under the Paris Agreement.

Foreign relations

Central America

In April 2019, Blumenthal was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to Trump encouraging him "to listen to members of your own Administration and reverse a decision that will damage our national security and aggravate conditions inside Central America", asserting that Trump had "consistently expressed a flawed understanding of U.S. foreign assistance" since becoming president and that he was "personally undermining efforts to promote U.S. national security and economic prosperity" by preventing the use of Fiscal Year 2018 national security funding. The senators argued that foreign assistance to Central American countries created less migration to the U.S., citing the funding's help in improving conditions in those countries.

China

In April 2018, Blumenthal stated his support for "strong efforts to crack down on intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices by China or any other nation", but said that Trump was implementing "trade policy by tweet, reaction based on impulse and rash rhetoric that can only escalate tensions with all economic powers and lead to a trade war" and that U.S. actions through trade without a strategy or an endgame seemed "highly dangerous" to the American economy.

In June 2018, Blumenthal cosponsored a bipartisan bill that would reinstate penalties on ZTE for export control violations in addition to barring American government agencies from either purchasing or leasing equipment or services from ZTE or Huawei. The bill was offered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 and was in direct contrast to the Trump administration's announced intent to ease sanctions on ZTE.

In August 2018, Blumenthal and 16 other lawmakers urged the Trump administration to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act against Chinese officials who are responsible for human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region. They wrote, "The detention of as many as a million or more Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in 'political reeducation' centers or camps requires a tough, targeted, and global response."

In May 2019, Blumenthal was a cosponsor of the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act, a bipartisan bill reintroduced by Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin that was intended to disrupt China's consolidation or expansion of its claims of jurisdiction over both the sea and air space in disputed zones in the South China Sea.

In July 2019, Blumenthal was a cosponsor of the Defending America's 5G Future Act, a bill that would prevent Huawei from being removed from the "entity list" of the Commerce Department without an act of Congress and authorize Congress to block administration waivers for U.S. companies to do business with Huawei. The bill would also codify Trump's executive order from the previous May that empowered his administration to block foreign tech companies deemed a national security threat from conducting business in the United States.

Middle East

In March 2017, Blumenthal co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.270), which made it a federal crime, punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories if protesting actions by the Israeli government.

In March 2019, Blumenthal was one of nine Democratic senators to sign a letter to Salman of Saudi Arabia requesting the release of human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair and writer Raif Badawi, women's rights activists Loujain al-Hathloul and Samar Badawi, and Dr. Walid Fitaih. The senators wrote, "Not only have reputable international organizations detailed the arbitrary detention of peaceful activists and dissidents without trial for long periods, but the systematic discrimination against women, religious minorities and mistreatment of migrant workers and others has also been well-documented."

In October 2022, Saudi Arabia, with Russia, announced a cut of 2 million barrels a day of oil production at the OPEC+ meeting. Blumenthal accused Saudi Arabia of undermining U.S. efforts and helping to boost 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. In an opinion piece, he and Ro Khanna proposed to promptly pause the massive transfer of American warfare technology to Saudi Arabia and take a tougher stance against the kingdom.

Government shutdown

In March 2019, Blumenthal and 38 other senators signed a letter to the Appropriations Committee opining that contractor workers and by extension their families "should not be penalized for a government shutdown that they did nothing to cause" while noting that there were bills in both chambers of Congress that would provide back pay to compensate contractor employees for lost wages, urging the Appropriations Committee "to include back pay for contractor employees in a supplemental appropriations bill for FY2019 or as part of the regular appropriations process for FY2020."

Guns

Blumenthal Guns (34368837663) (cropped)
Blumenthal speaks in favor of gun control in 2017

As of 2010, Blumenthal had a "F" rating from the National Rifle Association for his pro-gun-control voting record.

In response to the 2015 San Bernardino attack, Blumenthal gave his support for improved access to mental health resources and universal background checks.

In January 2016, Blumenthal was one of 18 senators to sign a letter to Thad Cochran and Barbara Mikulski requesting that the Labor, Health and Education subcommittee hold a hearing on whether to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fund a study of gun violence and "the annual appropriations rider that some have interpreted as preventing it" with taxpayer dollars. The senators noted their support for taking steps "to fund gun-violence research, because only the United States government is in a position to establish an integrated public-health research agenda to understand the causes of gun violence and identify the most effective strategies for prevention."

In the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, Blumenthal said, "The Senate's inaction on commonsense gun violence prevention makes it complicit in this public health crisis. Prayers and platitudes are insufficient. The American public is beseeching us to act on commonsense, sensible gun violence prevention measures, and we must heed that call."

In October 2016, Blumenthal participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster, speaking in support of the Feinstein Amendment, which would have banned people known to be or suspected of being terrorists from buying guns. That same year, he stated his support for efforts to require toy or fake firearms to have orange parts so they could more easily be distinguished from real guns.

In response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Blumenthal declared in an interview with Judy Woodruff, "we must break the grip of the NRA". He continued, "we can at least save lives. Would it have prevented the Las Vegas atrocity, that unspeakable tragedy? We will never know. But it might have, and we can definitely prevent such mass shootings by adopting these kinds of commonsense measures."

In 2018, Blumenthal was a cosponsor of the NICS Denial Notification Act, legislation developed in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that would require federal authorities to inform states within a day after a person failing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System attempted to buy a firearm.

In January 2019, Blumenthal was one of 40 senators to introduce the Background Check Expansion Act, a bill that would require background checks for either the sale or transfer of all firearms including all unlicensed sellers. Exceptions to the bill's background check requirement included transfers between members of law enforcement, loaning firearms for either hunting or sporting events on a temporary basis, providing firearms as gifts to members of one's immediate family, firearms being transferred as part of an inheritance, or giving a firearm to another person temporarily for immediate self-defense.

In June 2019, Blumenthal was one of four senators to cosponsor the Help Empower Americans to Respond (HEAR) Act, legislation that would ban suppressors being imported, sold, made, sent elsewhere or possessed and grant a silencer buyback program as well as include certain exceptions for current and former law enforcement personnel and others. The bill was intended to respond to the Virginia Beach shooting, where the perpetrator used a .45-caliber handgun with multiple extended magazines and a suppressor.

Health care

In February 2019, Blumenthal and 22 other Democratic senators introduced the State Public Option Act, a bill that would authorize states to form a Medicaid buy-in program for all residents and thereby grant all denizens of the state the ability to buy into a state-driven Medicaid health insurance plan if they wished. Brian Schatz, a bill cosponsor, said the legislation would "unlock each state's Medicaid program to anyone who wants it, giving people a high-quality, low-cost public health insurance option", and that its goal was "to make sure that every single American has comprehensive health care coverage."

In June 2019, Blumenthal was one of eight senators to cosponsor the Territories Health Equity Act of 2019, legislation that would remove the cap on annual federal Medicaid funding and increase federal matching rate for Medicaid expenditures of territories along with more funds being provided for prescription drug coverage to low-income seniors in an attempt to equalize funding for American territories Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands with that of U.S. states.

In June 2019, Blumenthal and 14 other senators introduced the Affordable Medications Act, legislation intended to promote transparency by mandating that pharmaceutical companies disclose the amount of money going to research and development, marketing and executives' salaries. The bill also abolished the restriction that stopped the federal Medicare program from using its buying power to negotiate lower drug prices for beneficiaries and hinder drug company monopoly practices used to keep prices high and disable less expensive generics entering the market.

In August 2019, Blumenthal was one of 19 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar requesting data from the Trump administration in order to help states and Congress understand the potential consequences in the event that the Texas v. United States Affordable Care Act (ACA) lawsuit prevailed in courts, claiming that an overhaul of the present health care system would form "an enormous hole in the pocketbooks of the people we serve as well as wreck state budgets". That same month, Blumenthal, three other Senate Democrats, and Bernie Sanders signed a letter to Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless in response to Novartis falsifying data as part of an attempt to gain the FDA's approval for its new gene therapy Zolgensma, writing that it was "unconscionable that a drug company would provide manipulated data to federal regulators in order to rush its product to market, reap federal perks, and charge the highest amount in American history for its medication."

Housing

In April 2019, Blumenthal was one of 41 senators to sign a bipartisan letter to the housing subcommittee praising the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 4 Capacity Building program as authorizing "HUD to partner with national nonprofit community development organizations to provide education, training, and financial support to local community development corporations (CDCs) across the country" and expressing disappointment that Trump's budget "has slated this program for elimination after decades of successful economic and community development." The senators wrote that they hoped the subcommittee would support continued funding for Section 4 in Fiscal Year 2020.

Immigration

In August 2018, Blumenthal was one of 17 senators to sign a letter spearheaded by Kamala Harris to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen demanding that the Trump administration take immediate action in attempting to reunite 539 migrant children with their families, citing each passing day of inaction as intensifying "trauma that this administration has needlessly caused for children and their families seeking humanitarian protection."

In April 2019, Blumenthal was one of six Democratic senators to sign a letter to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan expressing concern over memos by Marine Corps General Robert Neller in which Neller critiqued deployments to the southern border and funding transfers under Trump's national emergency declaration as having posed an "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency" and noted that other military officials had recently stated that troop deployment did not affect readiness. The senators requested Shanahan explain the inconsistencies and that he provide both "a staff-level briefing on this matter within seven days" and an explanation of how he would address Neller's concerns.

In June 2019, following the Housing and Urban Development Department's confirmation that DACA recipients did not meet eligibility for federal backed loans, Blumenthal and 11 other senators introduced The Home Ownership Dreamers Act, legislation that mandated that the federal government was not authorized to deny mortgage loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the Agriculture Department solely due to an applicant's immigration status.

In June 2019, Blumenthal and six other Democratic senators led by Brian Schatz sent letters to the Government Accountability Office along with the suspension and debarment official and inspector general at the US Department of Health and Human Services citing recent reports that showed "significant evidence that some federal contractors and grantees have not provided adequate accommodations for children in line with legal and contractual requirements" and urging government officials to determine whether federal contractors and grantees were in violation of contractual obligations or federal regulations and should thus face financial consequences.

In July 2019, following reports that the Trump administration intended to end protections of spouses, parents and children of active-duty service members from deportation, Blumenthal was one of 22 senators to sign a letter led by Tammy Duckworth arguing that the program allowed service members the ability "to fight for the United States overseas and not worry that their spouse, children, or parents will be deported while they are away" and that the program's termination would cause personal hardship for service members in combat.

In July 2019, Blumenthal and 15 other Senate Democrats introduced the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, which mandated that ICE agents get approval from a supervisor before engaging in enforcement actions at sensitive locations except in special circumstances and that agents receive annual training in addition to being required to annually report enforcement actions in those locations.

Infrastructure

In June 2019, Blumenthal was one of eight senators to sponsor the Made in America Act, legislation that would mandate that federal programs that had funded infrastructure projects not currently subject to Buy America standards use domestically produced materials. Bill cosponsor Tammy Baldwin said the bill would strengthen Buy America requirements and that she was hopeful both Democrats and Republicans would support "this effort to make sure our government is buying American products and supporting American workers."

Journalism

In July 2019, Blumenthal cosponsored the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act, a bill introduced by Ben Cardin and Rob Portman that would create a new memorial that would be privately funded and constructed on federal lands within Washington, D.C., in order to honor journalists, photographers, and broadcasters who died in the line of duty.

LGBT rights

In September 2014, Blumenthal was one of 69 members of the US House and Senate to sign a letter to then-FDA commissioner Sylvia Burwell requesting that the FDA revise its policy banning donation of corneas and other tissues by men who have had relations with another man in the preceding 5 years.

In June 2019, Blumenthal was one of 18 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting an explanation of a State Department decision not to issue an official statement that year commemorating Pride Month or the annual cable outlining activities for embassies commemorating Pride Month. They also asked why the LGBTI special envoy position had remained vacant and asserted that "preventing the official flying of rainbow flags and limiting public messages celebrating Pride Month signals to the international community that the United States is abandoning the advancement of LGBTI rights as a foreign policy priority."

Maternal mortality

In May 2019, Blumenthal was one of six senators to cosponsor the Healthy MOMMIES Act, legislation that would expand Medicaid coverage in an attempt to provide comprehensive prenatal, labor and postpartum care with an extension of the Medicaid pregnancy pathway from 60 days to a full year following birth to assure new mothers access to services unrelated to pregnancy. The bill also directed Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program's Payment and Access Commission to report its data regarding doula care coverage under state Medicaid programs and develop strategies aimed at improving access to doula care.

Net neutrality

In May 2014, days before the FCC was scheduled to rewrite its net neutrality rules, Blumenthal was one of 11 senators to sign a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler charging Wheeler's proposal with destroying net neutrality instead of preserving it and urging the FCC to "consider reclassifying Internet providers to make them more like traditional phone companies, over which the agency has clear authority to regulate more broadly."

In March 2018, Blumenthal was one of ten senators to sign a letter spearheaded by Jeff Merkley lambasting a proposal from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that would curb the scope of benefits from the Lifeline program during a period where roughly 6.5 million people in poor communities relied on Lifeline to receive access to high-speed internet, claiming that it was Pai's "obligation to the American public, as the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to improve the Lifeline program and ensure that more Americans can afford access, and have means of access, to broadband and phone service." The senators also advocated insuring that "Lifeline reaches more Americans in need of access to communication services."

WASHINGTON, DC -- JULY 25 2016 Senators addresses crowds outside the Capitol protesting the GOP health bill. (35776941730)
Protest against the GOP health bill at the United States Capitol in July 2017

Railroad safety

In June 2019, Blumenthal was one of ten senators to cosponsor the Safe Freight Act, a bill that would mandate all freight trains have one or more certified conductors and one certified engineer on board who can collaborate on how to protect both the train and people living near the tracks. The legislation was meant to correct a rollback of the Federal Railroad Administration on a proposed rule intended to establish safety standards.

SafeSport

In February 2022, on a Nightline program on criticisms of the United States Center for SafeSport titled "Sports misconduct watchdog faces crisis of confidence", Blumenthal said: "There is simply no way that SafeSport can be given a passing grade", that "these young athletes deserve better protection", and that SafeSport does not have his confidence and trust. He and Senator Jerry Moran said that they believe that more transparency is required from SafeSport, which does not make its investigative findings or arbitration decisions public, to protect young athletes, and that SafeSport must make its work public.

Special Counsel investigation

In March 2019, after Attorney General William Barr released a summary of the Mueller report, Blumenthal said the issue was about "obstruction of justice, no exoneration there, and the judgment by William Barr may have been completely improper" and that he did not "deeply respect and trust the Barr summary, which was designed to frame the message before the information was available." After the Justice Department publicly released the redacted version of the report the following month, Blumenthal said, "What's demonstrated in powerful and compelling detail in this report is nothing less than a national scandal. This report is far from the end of the inquiry that this country needs and deserves. It is the beginning of another chapter."

In April 2019, Blumenthal was one of 12 Democratic senators to sign a letter led by Mazie Hirono that questioned Barr's decision to offer "his own conclusion that the President's conduct did not amount to obstruction of justice" and called for both the Justice Department's inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility to launch an investigation into whether Barr's summary of the Mueller report and his April 18 news conference were misleading.

Telecommunications

In April 2019, Blumenthal was one of seven senators to sponsor the Digital Equity Act of 2019, legislation establishing a $120 million grant program that would fund both the creation and implementation of "comprehensive digital equity plans" in each U.S. state along with providing a $120 million grant program to give support toward projects developed by individuals and groups. The bill also gave the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) the role of evaluating and providing guidance toward digital equity projects.

Personal life

On June 27, 1982, Blumenthal married Cynthia Malkin. They were engaged during her senior year at Harvard and married the following year. She is the daughter of Peter L. Malkin and maternal granddaughter of Lawrence Wien. They have four children. Their son Matt Blumenthal was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives from the 147th district in 2018.

Blumenthal's wealth exceeds $100 million, making him one of the Senate's richest members. His family's net worth derives largely from his wife; the Malkins are influential real estate developers and property managers with holdings including an ownership stake in the Empire State Building.

On April 8, 2023, while at a parade celebrating the UConn Huskies men's basketball team winning the 2023 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament championship, another attendee inadvertently fell on Blumenthal, causing a minor fracture of his femur. He underwent surgery, which he said was successful, and left the hospital on April 10.

Electoral history

Connecticut Legislature

Connecticut 145th State House District General Election, 1984
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal 4,863 68.18
Republican Johan M. Andersen III 2,270 31.82
Total votes 7,133 100.00
Democrat hold
Connecticut 27th State Senate District General Election, 1988
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal (incumbent) 21,947 65.88
Republican Ted Lewis 11,366 34.12
Total votes 33,313 100.00
Democrat hold

Connecticut Attorney General

Connecticut Attorney General General Election, 1990
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal 572,972 59.18
Republican E. Gaynor Brennan Jr. 395,289 40.82
Total votes 968,261 100.00
Connecticut Attorney General General Election, 1994
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal 446,434 43.60
A Connecticut Party (1990) Richard Blumenthal 232,879 22.74
Total Richard Blumenthal (incumbent) 679,313 66.34
Republican Richard E. Arnold 344,627 33.66
Total votes 1,023,940 100.00
Democrat hold
Connecticut Attorney General General Election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal (incumbent) 631,588 68.55
Republican Santa Mendoza 282,289 30.64
Libertarian Richard J. Pober 7,537 0.82
Total votes 921,414 100.00
Democrat hold
Connecticut Attorney General General Election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal (incumbent) 632,351 65.65
Republican Martha Dean 330,874 34.35
Total votes 963,225 100.00
Democrat hold
Connecticut Attorney General General Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal (incumbent) 782,235 74.08
Republican Robert Farr 256,018 24.25
Green Nancy Burton 17,684 1.67
write-in John M. Joy 4 0.00
Total votes 1,055,941 100.00
Democrat hold

U.S. Senator

Connecticut US Senator (Class III) General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal 605,204 52.52
Working Families Richard Blumenthal 30,836 2.68
Total Richard Blumenthal 636,040 55.19
Republican Linda McMahon 498,341 43.24
Independent Warren B. Mosier 11,275 0.98
Independent Dr. John Mertens 6,735 0.58
Total votes 1,152,391 100.00
Democrat hold
Connecticut US Senator (Class III) General Election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal 920,766 57.68
Working Families Richard Blumenthal 87,948 5.48
Total Richard Blumenthal (incumbent) 1,008,714 63.19
Republican Dan Carter 552,621 34.62
Libertarian Richard Lion 18,190 1.14
Green Jeffery Russell 16,713 1.05
Total votes 1,596,238 100.00
Democrat hold
Connecticut US Senator (Class III) General Election, 2022
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard Blumenthal (incumbent) 724,785 57.45
Republican Leora Levy 536,020 42.54
Write-in 80 0.0
Total votes 1,260,885 100.00
Democrat hold

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Richard Blumenthal para niños

  • List of Jewish American jurists
  • List of Jewish members of the United States Congress
  • List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States (Seat 2)
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