- Former Representative of New York's 9th Congressional District
- Was one of the Congress’ most prominent supporters of socialized medicine
- Declared that “every single Republican I have ever met in my entire life is a wholly owned subsidiary of the [health] insurance industry”
- Launched a 2010 campaign to investigate Glenn Beck and other conservative commentators
- Was involved in a 2011 sex-messaging scandal that forced him to resign from Congress
Born in September 1964, Anthony Weiner grew up in Brooklyn, New York. After receiving his B.A. at SUNY Plattsburgh in 1985, he worked as an aide for then-New York congressman Charles Schumer from 1985 to 1991. In 1991 Weiner was elected to the New York City Council, where he served until Schumer gave up his House of Representatives seat to campaign (successfully) for a spot in the U.S. Senate in 1998. That year, Weiner secured the Democratic nomination to succeed Schumer in the House, and he would serve as the Representative for New York's 9th District for the next 13 years. In 2005, Weiner campaigned unsuccessfully to become the mayor of New York City. That same year, he was fined $47,000 by the Federal Election Commission for having taken “excessive contributions from 183 individual contributors for the 2000 primary and general elections.”
From the time he first entered politics, Weiner was an advocate for Israel. He criticized such entities as Amnesty International and the New York Times for their bias against the Jewish state.
In the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Weiner was an avid supporter of then-candidate Hillary Clinton. He traveled with Mrs. Clinton on the campaign trail and eventually revealed that he was romancing Clinton’s personal aide, Huma Abedin, to whom he became engaged in July 2009. The couple married in July 2010.
A proponent of universal health care, Weiner was a prominent backer of the United States National Health Care Act, a bill (introduced in the House of Representatives by John Conyers in October 2009) calling for the creation of a single-payer health care system. During the health care debates of 2009 and 2010, Weiner was one of Congress’ most vocal proponents of a public option -- i.e., a government-run health insurance plan, like Medicare, that would compete alongside private insurers in a new Health Insurance Exchange. Angry at Republican opponents of healthcare reform, Weiner -- from the House floor on February 24, 2010 -- derided "every single Republican I have ever met in my entire life" as being "a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry." It was later reported that the healthcare industry had been the second-biggest contributor to Weiner’s congressional campaign in 2008.
In March 2010, Weiner accused “right-wing” media of having disseminated "an enormous amount of disinformation" about the recently passed healthcare legislation.
Weiner is a supporter of “Net neutrality,” a policy that would give the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) power to regulate the Internet. In April 2010, broadcaster Glenn Beck was one of the most vocal opponents of Net neutrality, depicting it as a “government takeover” connected to the Marxist group, Free Press. When a federal appeals court ruled in early 2010 that the FCC lacked the authority to penalize Internet providers, Weiner -- who was vice-chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet -- stated: “This is a bad day for innovation and a sad day for consumers. Congress should now act to establish that the FCC has the power to enforce Net neutrality.”
In May 2010, Weiner -- also a member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection -- wrote letters to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission requesting an investigation into the “unholy alliance” between Goldline International (a precious-metals dealer with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau) and a number of conservative commentators on whose programs Goldline advertised. Alleging that Goldline "grossly overcharges" investors for gold coins and "takes advantage of fears about President Barack Obama's stewardship of the economy," Weiner particularly targeted Glenn Beck, depicting the broadcaster's “dishonest business practices” as “an unfortunate by-product of the Tea Party movement.”
Weiner’s campaign against Goldline and Beck also extended to prominent conservative media personalities such as Fred Thompson, Dennis Miller, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larson, Monica Crowley, and Mike Huckabee. Beck posted a website, weinerfacts.com, to keep track of Weiner and his allegations.
In November 2010 Weiner spoke out in favor of the DREAM Act, which would allow illegal-alien students to attend college at the reduced tuition rates normally reserved for in-state legal residents, and to earn conditional permanent residency and a path to citizenship. Said Weiner to a gathering of DREAM Act supporters: "[W]e have something that all the Teabag [Tea Party] Movement in the world doesn't have. We have justice on our side, and we're going to fight for it every single day."
In a December 2010 interview with Megyn Kelly of Fox News, Weiner was asked how he could justify the imposition of an estate tax (a.k.a. “death tax”) on the assets of a deceased person – assets that already had been taxed during that person’s lifetime. He replied, “You aren’t paying anything in that case, because you’ll be dead.” Ms. Kelly then reminded Weiner that the dead person’s estate was in fact paying the tax, thereby leaving “less for [his] children.” Weiner replied that it was unjust for “people who inherit money” to be “taxed at a lower rate than if they worked 70 hours to earn it” -- likening such heirs to people who “get very lucky at the casino.”
In March 2011 it was reported that Weiner was seeking to obtain a health-law waiver that would exempt his constituents in New York City from the mandates of the health-care reform plan which he had so ardently supported a year earlier.
On May 27, 2011, the seeds of an enormous controversy were sown when a photo of a sexually aroused man in his underwear was sent, via Weiner's Twitter account, to a 21-year-old Seattle woman whom the congressman followed on Twitter. But the photo was also posted to Weiner's public Twitter account; it was then removed almost immediately thereafter, and Weiner tweeted that his account had been "hacked." On May 28, 2011, a Twitter user who had seen the photograph during its brief posting, shared it with his followers and alerted the conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, whose website, BigGovernment.com, published it.
When reporters asked Weiner about the incident, the congressman denied that he had ever sent that particular photo to anyone, though he conceded that he “can't say with certitude” whether or not he himself was the person in the picture. Claiming that a hacker was to blame for the entire incident, Weiner told reporters that he had hired a private security company to look into the matter – rather than ask the FBI or the Capitol police to investigate the alleged hacking.
After the scandal initially broke on May 28, 2011, former porn star Ginger Lee, who had exchanged scores of sexual emails with Weiner over a long period of time, began receiving calls from the media. Weiner counseled Lee to lie about the matter, offering to have a "professional PR-type person" from his "team" call to give her "advice." The congressman also sent Lee a proposed statement for her to give to the press: "... I have never met Rep. Weiner and he has never sent me anything innappopriate (sic) ..."
On June 2, 2011, Weiner announced that he would not answer any more media questions about the matter.
On June 6, 2011, BigGovernment.com posted additional photographs and e-mails which had been sent by Weiner to an unidentified woman. Moreover, Radaronline and Star published transcripts of sexually explicit conversations that had taken place between Weiner and young women he had met online through Facebook. Unable to ignore the new revelations, a tearful Mr. Weiner held a press conference where he acknowledged having sent the original photograph, and he confirmed that it was in fact a picture of him. He also admitted to having sent other inappropriate and explicit photos and messages to women he had met over the Internet. "I came here to accept the full responsibility for what I've done," he said. "I am deeply regretting what I have done, and I am not resigning."
Also at the press conference, Weiner said: “At no time did I or any member of my staff try to do anything to cover anything up. There was no coaching of any sort going on.” In light of his documented coaching of Ginger Lee, however, the congressman's statement was untrue.
One of the women with whom Weiner had engaged in sexually explicit text-messaging and phone conversations, 40-year-old Lisa Weiss, reported that most of the pair's communications had occurred during Weiner's work hours -- and that Weiner had used his office phone for at least some of those correspondences.
In the days subsequent to the June 6, 2011 press conference, additional explicit and inappropriate photos of Weiner, which the congressman had sent to at least one woman, became public. These included photos which he had taken of himself at the House of Representatives' gymnasium.
On June 11, 2011, Weiner checked into a rehabilitation center for an unspecified form of "treatment." But a growing number of fellow high-ranking Democrats, including President Obama, suggested that the congressman should resign. Finally, on June 16, 2011, Weiner announced his resignation at a televised New York press conference.
Weiner's Congressional Voting Record
For an overview of Rep. Weiner's voting record on key legislation during his Congressional career, click here.
Return to Politics
At midnight on May 21, 2013, Weiner posted a two-minute, 16-second YouTube video formally announcing his candidacy for the office of New York City mayor. “I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I have also learned some tough lessons,” Weiner said in the video. He added: “I am running for mayor because I have been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life, and I hope I get a second chance to work for you.” Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, offers a testimonial to her husband, declaring, “We love this city and no one will work harder to make it better than Anthony.”