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Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Esq.

Self Description

December 2007: "For more than 20 years, Sheldon Whitehouse has served the people of Rhode Island: championing health care reform, standing up for our environment, helping solve fiscal crises, and investigating public corruption. Now, he's putting his experience as a seasoned prosecutor and policymaker to work for Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate, where his election helped bring new leadership to Congress and set our country on a different course.

With Rhode Islanders calling for a new direction in Iraq, Senator Whitehouse is fighting to keep pressure on the President to take action to bring our troops home. He cosponsored the Feingold-Reid amendment, which would end virtually all funding for the war by March 2008; traveled to Iraq as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee to meet with American military officials and Iraqi leaders; and met with President Bush to urge him directly to begin redeploying U.S. forces.

Whitehouse has made reforming our broken health care system a hallmark of his career. He founded the Rhode Island Quality Institute, a collaborative effort between health care providers, insurers, and government that has pioneered efforts to expand the use of electronic prescriptions and improve the quality of care delivered in the state's intensive care units. In the Senate, Whitehouse made health care reform the subject of the first legislation he introduced since taking office. The trio of bills is aimed at encouraging health quality reforms, building a national health IT infrastructure, and linking health care payments to health care quality.

Whitehouse has been a strong advocate for environmental protection, health, and conservation throughout his career. He has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court to protect public wetlands from development; sued to block Bush administration efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act; and led the investigation into a devastating oil spill in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. Whitehouse also launched the first-ever attempt by a state, eventually successful, to hold paint manufacturers responsible for allowing toxic levels of lead to accumulate in Rhode Island homes, a public health crisis that has poisoned more than 37,000 children in the state. In the Senate, he is a cosponsor of legislation that would significantly reduce global warming pollutants, and has pushed for further inquiry into the security implications of climate change.

A former United States Attorney for Rhode Island, Senator Whitehouse has played a notable role in the Senate Judiciary Committee's ongoing investigation into the unprecedented firings of several federal prosecutors late in 2006. Whitehouse cosponsored successful legislation to restore the Senate's role in the confirmation of nominees for U.S. Attorney vacancies, and has called repeatedly for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign his office in light of increasing evidence of politicization within the Department of Justice.

A graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Whitehouse served as a policy advisor and counsel in the Office of the Governor of Rhode Island before being nominated by President Bill Clinton to be Rhode Island's U.S. Attorney in 1994. He was elected Attorney General in 1998, where he served from 1999-2003. On November 7, 2006, Rhode Islanders elected Whitehouse to the Senate, where he is a member of the Special Committee on Aging, the Budget Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Select Committee on Intelligence.

He lives in Providence with his wife, Sandra, a marine biologist and environmental advocate, and their two children."

Third-Party Descriptions

May 2010: "But most of the more than 1,400 pages of legislation offer little that is tangible to regular consumers — a point that was highlighted by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, in pushing for another amendment that would gave states the right to limit credit card interest rates, regardless of where the issuing bank is located."

November 2008: '“The Bush administration overstepped in its exertion of executive privilege, and may very well try to continue to shield information from the American people after it leaves office,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, who sits on two committees, Judiciary and Intelligence, that are examining aspects of Mr. Bush’s policies.'

August 2008: 'The senators said the new guidelines would allow the F.B.I. to open an investigation of an American, conduct surveillance, pry into private records and take other investigative steps “without any basis for suspicion.” The plan “might permit an innocent American to be subjected to such intrusive surveillance based in part on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or on protected First Amendment activities,” the letter said. It was signed by Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.'

March 2008: "Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, has sponsored a good bill that would require operatives to present better evidence when they challenge a voter’s eligibility, such as verifiable proof that a prospective voter has moved or died. The bill would not deter legitimate efforts to keep ineligible people from voting, but it should greatly reduce the use of voter challenges as an Election Day dirty trick."

January 2008: "The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe — disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks — but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government. One by one, states are renouncing the use of touch-screen voting machines. California and Florida decided to get rid of their electronic voting machines last spring, and last month, Colorado decertified about half of its touch-screen devices. Also last month, Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio secretary of state, released a report in the wake of the Cuyahoga crashes arguing that touch-screens “may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process.” She was so worried she is now forcing Cuyahoga to scrap its touch-screen machines and go back to paper-based voting — before the Ohio primary, scheduled for March 4. Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat of Florida, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, have even sponsored a bill that would ban the use of touch-screen machines across the country by 2012."

December 2007: "The ban on harsh interrogation was proposed by three Democratic senators — Dianne Feinstein of California, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin — and one Republican senator, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska."


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Organization Executive (past or present) Justice Department/Department of Justice (DOJ) Organization Dec 9, 2007
Organization Executive (past or present) Rhode Island (State Government) Organization Dec 9, 2007
Member of (past or present) US Senate Organization Dec 9, 2007
Student/Trainee (past or present) University of Virginia (UVA) Organization Dec 9, 2007
Student/Trainee (past or present) Yale University Organization Dec 9, 2007
Appointed/Selected by President William ("Bill") Jefferson Clinton Person Dec 9, 2007
Opponent (past or present) Alberto R. Gonzales Esq. Person Dec 9, 2007

Articles and Resources

Date Resource Read it at:
May 17, 2010 Senate Votes for a Clear Credit Score

QUOTE: The Senate, by a voice vote, approved a proposal by Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, to require that credit reports include the numerical score, which by the most common measure ranges from 300 to 850.

New York Times
Oct 28, 2009 Critics: DEA crackdown denies some patients pain medication

QUOTE: Heightened efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration to crack down on narcotics abuse are producing a troubling side effect by denying some hospice and elderly patients needed pain medication...

Washington Post
Nov 13, 2008 Bush, Out of Office, Could Oppose Inquiries

QUOTE: a precedent suggesting that former presidents wield lingering powers to keep matters from their administration secret. Now, as Congressional Democrats prepare to move forward with investigations of the Bush administration, they wonder whether that claim may be invoked again.

New York Times
Aug 21, 2008 New Guidelines Would Give F.B.I. Broader Powers

QUOTE: A Justice Department plan would loosen restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to allow agents to open a national security or criminal investigation against someone without any clear basis for suspicion...Little is known about its precise language, but civil liberties advocates say they fear it could give the government even broader license to open terrorism investigations.

New York Times
Mar 05, 2008 A Clean, Fair Fight

QUOTE: The Senate is considering two bills, one to outlaw so-called vote caging and another to rein in duplicitous robo-calls. Congress should pass both bills well before Election Day.

New York Times
Feb 23, 2008 Waterboarding Is Focus of Justice Dept. Inquiry

QUOTE: The Justice Department['s] internal ethics office was investigating the department’s legal approval for waterboarding of Qaeda suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency and was likely to make public an unclassified version of its report.

New York Times
Feb 23, 2008 Justice Probes Authors Of Waterboarding Memos

QUOTE: An internal watchdog office at the Justice Department is investigating whether Bush administration lawyers violated professional standards by issuing legal opinions that authorized the CIA to use waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques...

Washington Post
Jan 30, 2008 Mukasey Hints at Wider CIA Probe

QUOTE: [New] testimony [from Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey ] indicated that the CIA tapes probe, which Mukasey launched earlier this month, could go beyond the tape destruction itself to examine the actions of the current and former CIA employees who carried out coercive interrogations.

Washington Post
Jan 07, 2008 Can You Count on Voting Machines?

QUOTE: n the last three election cycles, touch-screen machines have become one of the most mysterious and divisive elements in modern electoral politics. Introduced after the 2000 hanging-chad debacle, the machines were originally intended to add clarity to election results. But in hundreds of instances, the result has been precisely the opposite: they fail unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices “flip” from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish.

New York Times
Dec 07, 2007 Lawmakers Back Limits on Interrogation Tactics

QUOTE: The vote to require all American interrogators to abide by the Army Field Manual, which prohibits coercive methods, came during negotiations of the Senate and House intelligence committees over the annual intelligence authorization bill. It will not be the last word on the subject; the full House and Senate must still pass the bill, and it would likely face a veto by President Bush.

New York Times