Jim Nussle

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James Allen "Jim" Nussle (R - Manchester) was born June 27, 1960 in Des Moines, Iowa. He was the United States Representative for the First Congressional District of Iowa from 1990 to 2006. He did not run for re-election in 2006, in order to pursue a bid as the Republican candidate for Iowa Governor; he lost this bid, 54%-44% to Secretary of State Chet Culver.

He was confirmed to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in September 2007.

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Biography

He attended High School in Denmark (his PAC was at one time called "Great Dane PAC"). He was later educated at Luther College in Decorah, then attended law school at Drake University in Des Moines. He was elected as Delaware County Attorney before entering the House. When Tom Tauke made an unsuccessful run against Senator Tom Harkin during the 1990 election, Nussle ran as the Republican candidate for Tauke's seat and won. He remained in Congress until 2006, when he resigned his seat to run for Governor.

Nussle's first election to the House was the closest election for him during his entire tenure in the House. He and challenger Eric Tabor had been in a virtual dead heat in the time leading up to the election. Just before the election, Tabor became embroiled in a controversy regarding absentee ballots that family members had cast. This controversy caused some votes to not be counted at the end, and also cost Tabor other votes as well. Tabor did not concede the election to Nussle until the day after the election.

In 1992, Nussle ran against fellow House member David "Dave" Nagle for what was the 2nd district of Iowa. This was because Iowa's House delegation was being reduced from six down to five Representatives. The areas that Nussle and Nagle had represented in Congress was combined for the 1992 election. Nussle won, even though he had only one term under his belt to Nagle's three.

Nussle's first exposure to national attention came when he made a speech from the well of the House while wearing a paper bag over his head to protest the "shameful" ethical behavior involved in the House banking scandal. Nussle, and the rest of the Gang of Seven cast themselves as young, idealistic conservatives, looking to reduce corruption in congressional politics.

He became Chairman of the House Budget Committee in 2001, the first such Iowa politician to serve as chair of this committee. At the time, the Congressional Budget Office estimated there would be 5.6 trillion dollar surplus over the next decade. After five years of chairing house budgets, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts a cumulative deficit of $1.3 trillion from 2005 to 2014; a part of his chairmanship involves unfunded mandates; he has to explain his role in making the Iowa Legislature raise taxes to meet fund these mandates. This is developing as a major campaign issue.

Nussle and his first wife, Leslie Jeanne (Harbison) Nussle, divorced in 1996. They have two children, born in 1988 and 1991; the oldest one has Down's syndrome.

The ugly details leading his divorce and remarriage to his present wife were widely and negatively reported by the Iowa press and are an issue in the election. Nearly everyone in Iowa knows Jim and Karen were the guilty parties.

In 2001, he married Karen Chiccehitto Nussle. She worked on the communications staff for Speaker Newt Gingrich, then later revolving-doored out to the lobbying firm of Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, a subsidiary of the foreign-owned WPP Group.

Nussle's voting record has been very conservative, despite representing a district with a slight Democratic lean.

Gubernatorial bid

When Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack announced that he would not seek a third term as Governor, Jim Nussle joined the race; however, he was defeated by Chet Culver (D).

On June 2, 2005 while in Davenport, Iowa Nussle announced his run for Governor of Iowa in the 2006 elections. After his announcement, Nussle departed to make a number of campaign stops across the state of Iowa. Some of his advisors for this campaign are Vicky Vermaat, Marlys Popma and Andrew Dorr.

His only serious primary challenger, Bob Vander Plaats, withdrew from the race to endorse Nussle and become his running mate. Early on, Vander Plaats alluded to Nussle's divorce and how he would use it in the campaign; giving him the nod for Lt. Governor keeps his mouth shut.

On February 21, 2006, The Iowa Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Nussle for not reporting any in-kind donations from the federal “Nussle for Congress Committee”.

Connections to Jack Abramoff

At the conviction of Jack Abramoff, the Nussle machine donated $6,000 in contributions from Abramoff clients to charity. While none of the money came from Abramoff directly, the Abramoff pattern of bribery and election fraud is based on indirect payments.

Illegal immigration

Nussle voted with the rest of the Iowa Congressional delegation for the House bill, the so-called "Sensenbrenner bill", which makes it a felony to be an illegal immigrant or to give aid and confort to such illegals source.

Contrary to what many non-Iowans think, Iowa does have a problem with such illegals. These are mainly Hispanics working in agricultural industrial jobs (abbatoirs and the such), though Postville is rather famous for its Eastern European workers (Russians, Poles and the such). The Iowa Republican establishment is quite conflicted over these people; rank-and-file Republicans are strongly opposed, but the officeholders are hot and heavy into undocumented workers enriching their Republican friends.

Bush endorsement

President Bush travelled to Des Moines on April 11, 2006 to campaign for Nussle. If Nussle loses the election (and he may), people will point to this as just one of the mistakes he has made.

Flip-flops on Abortion

On September 7, 2006, Nussle said that he would sign a bill banning all abortions (except to save the life of the mother). Earlier in the campaign, he answered a survey from Project Vote Smart saying that he favored abortion rights only during the first trimester with exceptions for rape and saving the life of the mother.

Committees

  • Budget (Chairman)
  • Ways and Means

Future

Nussle and his former chief of staff, Steve Greiner, formed a consulting firm in Jan. 2007. Consulting Strategies LLC is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, with an office in Washington DC.

External Links

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