Byron Dorgan



Byron Leslie Dorgan (born May 14, 1942) is the junior United States Senator from North Dakota. He is a member of the North Dakota Democratic NPL Party, the North Dakota affiliate of the Democratic Party. In the Senate, he is Chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee and Vice Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs.

Born in Regent, North Dakota, Dorgan earned a B.S. from the University of North Dakota in 1964 and an M.B.A. from the University of Denver in 1966. He served as tax commissioner of North Dakota from 1969 until 1980, when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, of which he was a member from 1981 until 1992, being reelected every two years.

In 1992 he ran for the Senate when the Democratic incumbent, Kent Conrad, did not run. Dorgan won the election. He took office a few weeks early, in December 1992, when the governor appointed him to fill the rest of the term of Conrad, who had won a special election to fill the rest of the term of deceased senator Quentin N. Burdick. Dorgan was reelected in 1998 and 2004.

As chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, Dorgan is one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate. In recent years he has been increasingly sought by the national media for comment on political issues. He is a strong opponent of the U.S. policy towards Cuba. He has introduced, with varying levels of success, several amendments to end the prohibition on travel to Cuba and to terminate funds for anti-Castro broadcasting. Dorgan has also opposed most bills liberalizing trade policies between the United States and other countries. He has a mixed record on lawsuit reform, voting against the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and the Class Action Lawsuit Fairness Act of 2005, but voting in favor of the failed Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act and legislation to shield gun manufacturers and distributors from lawsuits.

In 2006 he was a major supporter of Net Neutrality legislation in the Senate.

He is briefly featured in Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, in which he discusses the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He was not being interviewed by Moore.

His book Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-Dead Politics Are Selling Out America, about the impact of outsourcing on the economy of the United States, was published in 2006. On October 4th, 2006, he appeared on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central to discuss his book, and his views on American labor.

Dorgan is married to the former Kimberly Olson. They have had four children, Scott, Brendon, Haley, and Shelly, who is deceased.

In November 2005, Dorgan was accused of receiving campaign contributions arranged by controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Because Dorgan is the top Democrat on the committee investigating Abramoff, questions were raised about a possible conflict of interest.

In a statement released on November 28, 2005, Dorgan responded by asserting that he has never personally met Jack Abramoff, nor has he ever received money from Abramoff. Dorgan did acknowledge receiving money from Abramoff's clients, but the donations began prior to their involvement with Abramoff. Dorgan's statement went on to say that he has supported the programs that benefited Abramoff's clients years prior to the contribution.

Dorgan's statement pointed out other errors in the news reports, such as correcting who made a call to the Department of the Interior and for what purpose. The news reports claimed that one of Dorgan's staff members made the call in order to express support for the program that benefited Abramoff's clients, whereas in reality it was a staff member for the Chairman of the Interior Subcommittee who made the call, and the call was made in opposition to the program.

On December 13, 2005 Dorgan announced that he was returning all donations from Abramoff's clients as a precaution that the contributions may have been directed or requested by Abramoff.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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