Born in Brooklyn, New York on February 13, 1946, Richard Blumenthal is a graduate of both Harvard College (1967) and Yale Law School (1973). In 1969 he worked as an assistant to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, President Nixon’s urban affairs adviser. Following a stint as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut from 1977-81, Blumenthal ran a private law practice and served as a volunteer counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund from 1981-86. He was a Democratic member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1984-87, a member of the Connecticut State Senate from 1987-90, and Connecticut's attorney general from 1991-2011. In 2010, Blumenthal was elected to the United States Senate, a post he continues to hold.
During his tenure as attorney general, Blumenthal in 1998 helped lead a lawsuit in which 46 U.S. states accused tobacco companies of concealing from the American public the dangers of smoking. He argued that as punishment for that deception, tobacco manufacturers should be forced to reimburse the various state governments for whatever Medicaid funds they had spent on the healthcare of smokers who resided there. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the $246 billion national settlement that brought the case to a close “was structured to allow the major tobacco companies to maintain their market share and raise prices in unison in order to pass settlement costs on to smokers.” Moreover, said CEI, “Blumenthal personally steered $65 million in fees to his own allies and the associates of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland.”
In 2007, CEI dubbed Blumenthal “The Nation’s Worst Attorney General” and gave him an “F” rating, describing him as “a tireless crusader for growing the power of his own ofﬁce and spreading largesse to his cronies.” By contrast, Blumenthal in 2008 was awarded an A+ rating by the notoriously corrupt, pro-socialist, now-defunct community organization ACORN.
Between 2003-09, a number of newspaper articles quoted Blumenthal – who had served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1970-76 – as stating, on multiple occasions, that he had seen active combat duty during the Vietnam War. But in fact, Blumenthal never served in Vietnam; rather, he had applied for “at least five military deferments … to avoid going to war,” according to the New York Times. When reporters asked Blumenthal why he had never previously tried to set the record straight regarding his activities during the Vietnam War era, he said that while “my intention has always been to be completely clear and accurate and straightforward,” he “can’t possibly know what is reported in all” the news articles written about him.
Blumenthal has long embraced the notion that the greenhouse gases associated with human industrial activity are major contributors to potentially catastrophic climate change. In 2003 he joined a lawsuit in which Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly was seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from automobiles and other sources. In 2004 he filed suit against out-of-state utilities whose CO2 emissions were allegedly contributing to global warming. In early 2009 he urged the EPA “to declare carbon dioxide a danger to human health and welfare,” so “we can at last begin addressing the potentially disastrous threat” of “global warming,” which has the capacity “to devastate the planet and human society.” In 2013, Blumenthal impugned “climate change deniers” for failing to acknowledge “the indisputable effects of climate change in causing financial and human disasters.” And in his address to a “People's Climate March” in New York City on September 21, 2014, he said that Americans had a “moral and scientific and political imperative” to address the crisis of climate change.
In 2009, Blumenthal was among approximately 1,000 state legislators who signed a letter, written by the Progressive States Network, which pushed for the implementation of a universal, government-run healthcare system.
In June 2017, Blumenthal and Rep. John Conyers Jr. led a group of 196 congressmen in filing a federal lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
In September 2017, Blumenthal issued a statement in support of “Medicare for All,” a single-payer healthcare bill proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders. “Access to affordable healthcare should be a clear right, not an exorbitant luxury,” said Blumenthal. At a news conference that same month, he noted, approvingly, that “Medicare for All,” if passed, would overturn the Hyde Amendment, thereby permitting the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
In a March 2018 appearance on CNN, Blumenthal criticized the Commerce Department for its announcement that in 2020, U.S. Census forms would include, for the first time since 1950, a question about people's citizenship status. By Blumenthal's telling, such a question “violates the Constitution” and would “shortchange areas of the country where there are a large number of undocumented people.” His concern was that the question would cause many illegal immigrants to skip the upcoming census out of fear of deportation, and that the resultant population undercounts in their districts might: (a) diminish the number of congressional seats allotted to those districts, and (b) cause the federal government to cut back on funding for those same districts.
Blumenthal strongly supports the DREAM Act, legislation designed to grant amnesty and a path-to-citizenship for illegals who first came to the United States as minors. He likewise favors a broader form of “comprehensive immigration reform” that would offer similar benefits to all illegals. In January 2017, Blumenthal claimed that President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities “would be illegal” if enacted. Eleven months later, he condemned “the heartless, immoral, and unconscionable deportations and cruel decisions of this [Trump] administration.”
Blumenthal has worked closely on a number of occasions with the Connecticut chapter of the Hamas-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which he has praised for its “admirable” efforts “to uphold the value of justice and tolerance.” Since 2011, the senator has spoken at several CAIR-Connecticut events alongside fellow invitees like Siraj Wahhaj and Linda Sarsour. At a 2011 CAIR banquet, for instance, Blumenthal thanked the attendees for their “friendship” and “support.” In October 2016, he and CAIR-Connecticut executive director Mongi Dhaouadi held a joint press conference in which they laid out a plan designed to expedite the process of bringing Syrian refugees to the United States. And in February 2017, Blumenthal and Dhaouadi again held a press conference to protest President Trump's decision to place a temporary moratorium on travel to the U.S. by people from seven majority-Muslim nations that were hotbeds of terrorism. “We urge the president, abandon the Muslim ban,” said Blumenthal. “Abandon the religious test.”
In 2014, Blumenthal attended the 8th Annual Leadership Banquet of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, an organization that, at an October 2010 event organized by CAIR, had trained FBI personnel about the dangers of “Islamophobia.” During his re-election campaign in 2016, Senator Blumenthal received $10,000 from the Iranian American Political Action Committee, which seeks to promote policies favorable to the government of Iran.
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