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Richard John "Rick" Santorum (born May 10, 1958) is a former United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvaniamarker. Santorum is a member of the Republican Party and was the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the number-three job in the party leadership of the Senate.

Santorum is considered a social and fiscal conservative He is particularly known for his stances on the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Social Security, intelligent design, homosexuality, and the Terri Schiavo case.Santorum was defeated 59% to 41% in the 2006 U.S. Senate election by Democratic candidate Bob Casey, Jr. This was the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent Senator since 1980.

In March 2007, Santorum joined the law firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC. He will primarily practice law in the firm’s Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. offices, where he will provide business and strategic counseling services to the firm's clients. In addition to his work with the firm, Santorum also serves as a Senior Fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and is a contributor to Fox News Channel.

Early life, education, and legal career

Santorum was born in Winchester, Virginiamarker, and raised in Berkeley Countymarker West Virginiamarker and Butler Countymarker, Pennsylvania, the son of Aldo Santorum (born 1923) and Catherine Dughi (born 1918). Both his father and maternal grandfather were from Italy.

Both of Santorum's parents worked at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Butler, and the family lived on the VA hospital post. His father, Aldo, was an immigrant from Italymarker, and became licensed as a psychologist in August 1974. After attending schools in the Butler Area School District where he gained the nickname "Rooster", allegedly because he "always had a few errant hairs on the back of his head that refused to stay down" (because of an orthodontic head brace), and he was "dogged and determined like a rooster and never backed down".

Santorum graduated from Carmel High Schoolmarker in Mundelein, Illinoismarker in 1976., where his father transferred within the VA hospital system. He lists his residency as Penn Hillsmarker, Pennsylvania, and maintains a home in Leesburg, Virginiamarker, for his work in Washington, D.C.markerSantorum earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Political Science, from Pennsylvania State Universitymarker in 1980, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Pittsburghmarker in 1981. He is a member of Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity.

In 1986, Santorum earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the Penn State Dickinson School of Law, was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar, and began practicing law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker. While working at the law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, he represented the World Wrestling Federation, arguing that professional wrestling should be exempt from federal anabolic steroid regulations because it was not a sport. Santorum left private practice after first being elected to the House in November 1990.

Santorum and his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, have seven children: Elizabeth Anne (born 1991); Richard John ("Johnny"), Jr. (born 1993); Daniel James (born 1995); Sarah Maria (born 1998); Peter Kenneth (born 1999); Patrick Francis (born 2001); and Isabella "Bella" Maria (born 2008). Bella was subsequently diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a serious genetic disorder which is fatal before birth in 90 per cent of cases. In 1996, their son Gabriel Michael was born prematurely and lived for only two hours (a sonogram taken before Gabriel was born revealed that his posterior urethral valve was closed and that the prognosis for his survival was therefore poor). Karen Santorum wrote a book about the experience: Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum. In it, she writes that the couple brought the deceased infant home from the hospital and introduced the dead child to their living children as "your brother Gabriel" and slept with the body overnight before returning it to the hospital. The anecdote was also written about by Michael Sokolove in a 2005 New York Times Magazine story on Santorum. Karen is also the author of a book on etiquette for children.

Santorum and his family attend Latin Mass at a Roman Catholic Church near Washington, D.C. Occasionally, when not attending Latin Mass, they attend mass at St. Francis De Sales Church in Purcellville, Virginiamarker. On November 12, 2004, Santorum and his wife were invested as Knight and Dame of Magistral Grace of the Knights of Malta in a ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New Yorkmarker.

Political career

Santorum first became actively involved in politics volunteering for the late Senator John Heinz.

After getting his Juris Doctorate in 1981, Santorum became an administrative assistant to Republican State Senator J. Doyle Corman (until 1986). He was director of the Pennsylvania Senate's local government committee from 1981 to 1984, then-director of the Pennsylvania Senate's Transportation Committee until 1986.

In 1990, at age 32, Santorum was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 18th District, located in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburghmarker. He scored a significant upset, defeating a seven-term Democratic incumbent, Doug Walgren. Although the 18th was heavily Democratic, Santorum attacked Walgren for living outside the district for most of the year. He was reelected in 1992, in part because the district lost its share of Pittsburgh as a result of redistricting. In Congress, as a member of the Gang of Seven, Santorum worked to expose congressional corruption by outing the guilty parties in the House banking scandal.

A barn painted with Santorum's logo and slogan.
The barn was used in a 1994 political ad.
In 1994, at the age of 36, Santorum was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating the incumbent Democrat, Harris Wofford, who was 32 years his senior. The theme of Santorum's 1994 campaign, as portrayed on his campaign's signs, was "Join the Fight!" Santorum was re-elected in 2000 defeating Congressman Ron Klink by a 52.4% to 45.5% margin.

In a 2002 PoliticsPA Feature story designating politicians with yearbook superlatives, he was named the "Most Ambitious"

As Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, Santorum directed the communications operations of Senate Republicans and was a frequent party spokesperson. He was the youngest member of the Senate leadership and the first Pennsylvanian to hold such a prominent position since Senator Hugh Scott was Republican leader in the 1970s. In addition, Santorum served on the Senate Agriculture Committee; the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Senate Special Committee on Aging; and the Senate Finance Committee, of which he was the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy.

In January 2005, Santorum announced his intention to run for United States Senate Republican Whip, the second highest post in the Republican caucus after the 2006 election. The move came because it was presumed the incumbent whip, Mitch McConnell of Kentuckymarker, was viewed as having the inside track to succeeding Bill Frist of Tennesseemarker as Senate Republican leader.

During the lame-duck session of the 109th Congress, Santorum was one of only two senators who voted against Robert Gates to become Secretary of Defense. He cited his opposition to Gates' advocacy of engaging Iranmarker and Syriamarker to solve the problem, claiming that talking to "radical Islam" would be a grievous error.

During his third term re-election campaign for his Senate seat against Bob Casey, Jr., Santorum introduced the term "Islamic fascism", while questioning "his opponent's ability to make the right decisions on national security at a time when 'our enemies are fully committed to our destruction.'"

Political ideology

He is known for his "confrontational, partisan “in your face” style of politics and government."

In September 2005, in an effort to publicly re-align himself with the conservative legacy, Santorum gave a speech that outlined the successes and failures — but, more centrally, the future — of conservatism, at the Heritage Foundation's First International Conservative Conference on Social Justice. In November 2005, he adapted his speech into an op-ed piece for the political website outlining his vision for "Compassionate Conservatism".

Associated Press reported that on July 20, 2006, Santorum stated that "Islamic fascism rooted in Iran is behind much of the world's conflict, but he is opposed to military action against the country", in a speech where he "also defended the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.". The Senator indicated that "effective action against Iran" would require America's fighting "for a strong Lebanon, a strong Israel, and a strong Iraq."

On September 7, 2006, Santorum outlined his views on foreign policy in an op-ed piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and discussed Islamic fascism, and closed with a nationalistic rally cry:

Legislation and issues

Santorum has attracted both support and criticism because of his socially conservative and outspoken views, primarily because of his stances on same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and abortion. His views on social and cultural issues are presented in his 2005 book, It Takes a Family, published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute of Wilmingtonmarker, Delawaremarker.

In September 2006, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) included Santorum in their second annual report on members of Congress with ethics issues, titled "Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch)". He was also in the first report. According to the report, "Santorum’s ethics issues stem from the manner in which he funded his children’s education and his misuse of his legislative position in exchange for contributions to his political action committee and his re-election campaign."

After the report was issued, Melanie Sloan was asked if she could prove that Santorum received money from organizations because of his work with them. She said, "I don't have proof that there's a direct exchange, but the timing of the contributions are enough to warrant an investigation."

Santorum has been active in addressing the issues of welfare reform and government accountability. He is a self-described conservative who favors legislation that would restrict or prohibit abortion. Santorum has said he is personally against abortion and has expressed disapproval of homosexuality, issues that he believes should be decided by elected officials rather than the Supreme Courtmarker: "what I’d like to do is have these kinds of incredibly important moral issues be decided by the American public, not by nine unelected, unaccountable judges."

Illegal immigration

Santorum opposed the recent Senate proposal that addressed illegal immigration. Instead, Santorum believes that the US should first act to enforce currently existing laws. He has openly stated his strong opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants. He supports the construction of a barrier along the U.S.-Mexican border, an increase in the number of border patrol agents on the border, and the stationing of National Guard troops along the border. He also believes that illegal immigrants should be deported immediately when they commit crimes, and that illegal immigrants should not receive benefits from the government. Finally, the former senator believes that English should be established as the national language in the United States.

Intelligent design

In 2001, Santorum tried unsuccessfully to insert language which came to be known as the "Santorum Amendment" into the No Child Left Behind bill that sought to promote the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in public schools. The amendment, crafted with the assistance of the Discovery Institute, would have required schools to discuss possible controversies surrounding scientific topics, and gave the theory of evolution as an example, opening the door for intelligent design as an opposing theory to be presented in science classrooms. A federal court in Santorum's own state, along with the majority of scientific organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, say the Institute has manufactured the controversy they want to teach by promoting a false perception that evolution is "a theory in crisis", portraying it as being the subject of wide controversy and debate within the scientific community.

Though not included in the final version of the Act made law, the language from the amendment was included in a report attached to the Act known as the Conference Report. The Discovery Institute and many intelligent design proponents, including two Ohio Congressmen, have repeatedly invoked this to suggest that intelligent design should be included in public school science standards as an alternative to evolution.

In a 2002 Washington Times op-ed article Santorum wrote that intelligent design "is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes." By 2005 Santorum had adopted the Discovery Institute's Teach the Controversy approach, stating in an interview with National Public Radio "I'm not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom. What we should be teaching are the problems and holes, and I think there are legitimate problems and holes in the theory of evolution", a statement which mirrors the Teach the Controversy strategy, the most recent iteration of the intelligent design movement. The day after the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District decision that intelligent design is not science and is essentially religious in nature came down, Santorum announced that he was resigning from the advisory board of the Thomas More Law Center which had defended the Dover school board. Most recently Santorum wrote the foreword for the March 2006 book, Darwin's Nemesis: Phillip Johnson And the Intelligent Design Movement a collection of essays largely by Discovery Institute fellows honoring the "father" of the intelligent design movement, Phillip E. Johnson.

Workplace Religious Freedom Act

Santorum and U.S. Senator John Kerry, (D-MAmarker), were the lead sponsors of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA), which would require employers to accommodate the religious observances of their employees as long as such accommodations would not impose an "undue hardship" on the employer. Thus, employers would be required to afford employees flexible work shifts so that they could observe religious holidays and to permit employees to wear religiously required clothing at work. Versions of the WRFA have been introduced in 1997, 2000, and 2003, but have failed to be enacted.

National Weather Service

On April 14, 2005, Santorum introduced the National Weather Service Duties Act of 2005 to "clarify the duties and responsibilities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service (NWS), and for other purposes". This legislation, if enacted, would prohibit the NWS from publishing weather data to the public when private-sector entities, such as AccuWeather, a company based in Santorum's home state, perform the same function commercially. Accuweather employees have contributed at least $5500 to Santorum since 1999, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Opponents of this bill contend that weather data is collected at taxpayer expense, and therefore it should be made freely available to the public, and not provided solely to private corporations that will charge fees for access. They also claim that the vague language in the bill is an attempt to prevent the NWS from issuing free forecasts because such functions are currently provided by the private sector and would be considered competition. Supporters of this bill deny this and say that it does not change the data collection and dissemination functions of NWS.

The bill was never enacted or voted upon, dying in committee.

Statements regarding homosexuality

A controversy arose following Santorum's statements about homosexuality in an interview with the Associated Press that was published on April 20, 2003. In response to a question about how to prevent sexual abuse of children by priests, Santorum said the priests were engaged in "a basic homosexual relationship" with "post-pubescent men", and went on to say that he had "a problem with homosexual acts"; that the right to privacy, as detailed in Griswold v. Connecticut, "doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution"; that, "whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, whether it's sodomy, all of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family"; and that sodomy laws properly exist to prevent acts that "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family". When the Associated Press reporter asked whether homosexuals should not then engage in homosexual acts, Santorum replied, "Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality".

Democratic politicians, including 2004 Democratic presidential candidates, gay rights advocates, and liberal commentators condemned the statements. Republican politicians, religious conservatives, and other conservative commentators supported Santorum and called the condemnations unfair.

Santorum did not retract his remarks, stating that they were intended not to equate homosexuality with incest and pedophilia, but rather as a critique of the specific legal position that the right to privacy prevents the government from regulating consensual acts among adults (such as bigamy, incest, etc.).

Comments about the Boston Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal

In 2005, a controversy developed over comments about Boston, Massachusettsmarker, that Santorum made in a 2002 article about the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Santorum wrote:

These comments came to wider attention through an opinion column in the Philadelphia Daily News on June 24, 2005. Columnist John Baer cited Santorum's article, stating, "I'd remind you this is the same Senate leader who recently likened Democrats fighting to save the filibuster to Nazi."

Santorum's remarks were criticized, especially in Massachusettsmarker. On July 12, 2005, Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory called on Santorum to explain his statement, and reported that Robert Traynham, Santorum's Director of Communications, told him "It's an open secret that you have Harvard Universitymarker and MITmarker that tend to tilt to the left in terms of academic biases. I think that's what the senator was speaking to." Julie Teer, a spokeswoman for Governor of Massachusetts, Republican Mitt Romney, said "What happened with the church sex abuse scandal was a tragedy, but it had nothing to do with geography or the culture of Boston."

Later that day, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) delivered a personal rebuke to Santorum on the Senate floor, saying "The people of Boston are to blame for the clergy sexual abuse? That is an irresponsible, insensitive and inexcusable thing to say." Santorum has stood by his 2002 article and has not apologized.

On July 21, 2005, Rush Limbaugh interviewed Santorum about Kennedy's speech. Santorum said that he was being targeted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which, he said, coordinated with the media to publicize Kennedy's speech. He argued that his statement about Boston was taken out of context from an article he had written three years earlier. Santorum agreed with Limbaugh's summary that it was "no surprise that the center of the Catholic Church abuse took place in very liberal, or perhaps the nation's most liberal area, Boston." Santorum reiterated his broader theme of a cultural connection, saying that it is "no surprise that the culture affects people's behavior. [...] the liberal culture — the idea that [...] sexual inhibitions should be put aside and people should be able to do whatever they want to do, has an impact on people and how they behave." When asked why Boston specifically was mentioned, Santorum pointed out that, in July 2002, the outrage of American Catholics, as well as his own, was focused on the Archdiocese of Boston.

Hurricane Katrina

On September 4, 2005, Santorum spoke to a Pittsburghmarker television station, WTAEmarker, about the evacuation warnings given for Hurricane Katrina:

The campaign of Bob Casey, Jr., his Democratic opponent for the Senate, criticized Santorum's remarks.

On September 6, in a follow-up interview with WTAE, Santorum said,

On September 8, during an interview with public-radio station WITF-FM, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvaniamarker, Santorum said

Santorum was the sponsor of legislation proposed to prevent the National Weather Service from competing with private-sector weather services, as discussed above.

Santorum added a synthetic-fuel tax-credit amendment to a larger bill introduced in the Senate by Charles Grassley, the Iowamarker Republican who headed the Senate Finance Committee. Time Magazine called this tax-credit scheme "a multibillion-dollar scam." The amendment was inserted in the Tax Relief Act of 2006, which provides aid for Hurricane Katrina victims and sets new policies for tax-exempt groups.

Pennsylvania residency and tuition fee

In November 2004, a controversy developed over education costs for Santorum's children. Santorum's legal address is a three-bedroom house in Penn Hills, Pennsylvaniamarker, a suburb of Pittsburghmarker, which he purchased for $87,800 in 1997 and is located next to Mrs. Santorum's parents. But since 2001, he has lived in Leesburg, Virginiamarker, a town about one hour's drive west of Washington, D.C., and about 90 minutes' drive south of the Pennsylvania border, in a house he purchased for $643,000. The Penn Hills Progress, a local paper, reported that Santorum and his wife paid about $2,000 per year in property taxes on their Pennsylvania home ($487.20 per year to Allegheny County, 2006 through 2008, based on a 2007 value of $106,000 , plus Penn Hills School District tax). The paper also found that another couple — possibly renters — were registered voters at the same address.

At the time the issue arose, Santorum's five older children attended the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, with 80 percent of tuition costs paid by the Penn Hills School District. At a meeting in November 2004, the Penn Hills School District announced that it did not believe Santorum met the qualifications for residency status, because he and his family spent most of the year in Virginia. They demanded repayment of tuition costs totaling $67,000.

When news reports showed Sen. Santorum was renting his Penn Hills home, Santorum withdrew his five children from the cyber education program that Penn Hills School District paid for. That saved Penn Hills taxpayers about $38,000 a year . Although Santorum said he would make other arrangements for his children's education, he insisted that he did not owe the school board any back tuition. Once the controversy surfaced, the children were withdrawn from the cyber school and were then home schooled .

On July 8, 2005, a Pennsylvania state hearing officer had ruled that the Penn Hills School District had not filed objections to Santorum's residency in a timely manner and dismissed the complaint. Santorum hailed the ruling as a victory against what he termed "baseless and politically motivated charges". Santorum told reporters that "[n]o one's children — and especially not small, school-age children — should be used as pawns in the 'politics of personal destruction.'" In the 2006 senate campaign, Santorum ran television commercials with Santorum's son saying "My dad's opponents have criticized him for moving us to Washington so we could be with him more."

In September 2006, the Pennsylvania Department of Education agreed to pay the district $55,000 to settle the dispute over money withheld from the district to pay for the children of U.S. Senator Rick Santorum to attend a cyber charter school.

The matter rose again in May 2006. Santorum has said that his family stays during holidays and at times on weekends at the Penn Hills house. But the Progress reported in May that the house appeared unoccupied, and Casey's campaign noted that in a press release. Santorum then accused Casey's campaign of supporting trespassing on his property, saying of Casey "Now that he is a nominee, it is time for him to start acting like a candidate instead of a thug." Casey, in a statement, called the charges "false and malicious." His campaign, in a news release, described Santorum's actions as "weirdness".

In September 2006, Santorum formally asked that the county remove the homestead tax exemption from his Penn Hills residence. He said that he had made similar requests to county officials in conversations in 2005 and earlier in 2006, but to no avail. In his letter, Santorum insisted that he was entitled to the exemption, which is worth about $70 annually, but chose not to take advantage of it because of the political dispute. While homeowners in the county are eligible for a tax savings averaging $70 a year on their primary residences, the county council president noted that Santorum had "said during a televised debate that he spends about 30 days in his Penn Hills house each year.".

Allegheny County Election Office records indicate that, while a registered voter in the county, Santorum had since 1995 voted absentee.Santorum bills for children's school $100K
District pays, though family lives in Virginia. Vera Miller
Staff Writer, Your Penn Hills, A Tribune Review service, October 20, 2004.

The only way for Santorum to not pay for his children's private education was to enroll them in the Penn Hills School District. Virginia state law only requires local school districts to pay for private school tuition fee when a student has disabilities and enrolls in a school that can satisfy his or her needs, according to Charles Pyle, Virginia Department of Education spokesman. Otherwise, children in Virginia must attend their local public schools Santorum bills for children's school $100K
District pays, though family lives in Virginia. Vera Miller
Staff Writer, Your Penn Hills, A Tribune Review service, October 20, 2004.

Santorum's supporters have said that the controversy is politically motivated because the school board is controlled by Democrats (Erin Vecchio, the school board member who first publicly raised the issue, is the chair of the local Democratic Party). They also have said that since Santorum votes in Penn Hills and pays property and school taxes there, he is entitled to the same privileges as any other Penn Hills resident and should not be deprived of these privileges as a result of his service in the U.S. Senate. Non-residency issues have raised questions of hyopcrisy, in that Santorum had previously castigated Representative Doug Walgren for moving away from his district..

Declaration regarding WMD in Iraq

In June 2006, Santorum declared that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) had been found in Iraq. The specific weapons he referred to were chemical munitions dating back to the Iran–Iraq War that were buried in the early 1990s. The report stated that while agents had degraded to an unknown degree, they remained dangerous and possibly lethal. Officials of the Department of Defense, CIA intelligence analysts, and the White House have all explicitly stated that these expired casings are not part of the WMD threat that Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched to contain.

Santorum's declaration was based in part on declassified portions of a classified report from the National Ground Intelligence Center of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. Portions were declassified in a summary that made six key points:

  • Since 2003, Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded or vacant mustard or sarin nerve agent casings.
  • Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist. They have no viable military capability, however.
  • Pre-Gulf War chemical munitions could be sold on the black market. Use of these weapons by terrorists or insurgent groups could have implications for Coalition forces in Iraq.
  • The most likely munitions remaining are sarin and mustard-filled projectile casings.
  • The purity of the agent inside the munitions depends on many factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives, and environmental storage conditions. While agents degrade over time, the residue could be hazardous upon dermal contact.
  • It has been reported in open press that insurgents and Iraqi groups desire to acquire and use chemical weapons.

Animal rights

In 2005 a coalition of animal rights groups, spearheaded by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) mounted a failed effort to push the Pet Animal Welfare Statute of 2005 (PAWS) through Congress. The bill was proposed by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and sponsored by Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (R-PA). PAWS would have reclassified most small and hobby breeders as commercial breeders subjecting them to USDA regulations, allowed home inspections and placed fees and compliance expenses on pet breeders. Fellow Congressmen were told that PAWS was "the puppy mill bill".

This was Santorum's third failed attempt at pet-related legislation.

ACLU suit

In 2005, four teenagers were ejected from a bookstore in Wilmington, Delaware, where Santorum was scheduled for a book signing, after they were overheard expressing critical opinions of the senator.. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit, which was settled in 2007. As a result of the settlement, the Delaware State Police were required to pay legal fees for the plaintiffs and provide training to officers on free speech rights. The Santorum staff members who requested the ejection were required to apologize and to relinquish their salaries for the event—$2,500.00—to plaintiffs in damages.


As a key member of the Gang of Seven (a group of seven freshmen Republican Congressmen), Santorum helped expose a scandal at the House Bank. The Gang of Seven's reform-minded agenda is often cited as a foundation of the 1994 Republican takeover of the House of Representatives.

In 1996, as a U.S. Senator, Santorum served as Chairman of the Republican Party Task Force on Welfare Reform and was the author and key sponsor of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. The legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Though not a named author of the special Schiavo legislation, Santorum played a key role in shepherding the bill through the Senate to a vote on March 20, 2005. Santorum has frequently stated that he does not believe a "right to privacy" exists under the Constitution, even within marriage; he has been especially critical of the Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which held that the Constitution guaranteed the aforementioned right, and on that basis, overturned a law prohibiting the sale and use of contraceptives.

Santorum is also a supporter of partial privatization of Social Security. Since the 2004 presidential election, Santorum has held forums across Pennsylvania on the topic.

In 2005, Santorum sponsored the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which appropriated $10 million aimed at regime change in Iranmarker. The Act passed with overwhelming support. However, Santorum nevertheless voted against the Lautenberg amendment which would have closed the loophole which allows companies like Halliburton to do business with Iran through their foreign affiliates.

Santorum is well known for attracting political enemies on the other side of his aisle. Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraskamarker, after sharing the floor with Santorum for the first three weeks of his first term in the Senate, remarked, "Santorum — That's Latin for asshole".

In reference to the Iraq war in 2006, Santorum drew an analogy with The Lord of the Rings in one of his addresses:

“As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S. “You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

2006 campaign

In 2006, Santorum sought re-election to a third term in the U.S. Senate. His Democratic opponent was State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., the son of popular former governor Robert Casey, Sr.(D) Santorum's seat was a prime target of Democratic efforts to gain Senate seats in the 2006 elections. Casey's candidacy was bolstered by his opposition to abortion, negating one of Santorum's key issues.

Republican strategists took as a bad omen Santorum's primary result in 2006, in which he ran unopposed for the Republican nomination. Republican gubernatorial nominee Lynn Swann, also unopposed, garnered 22,000 more votes statewide than Santorum in the primary, meaning thousands of Republican voters abstained from endorsing Santorum for another Senate term. This may have been partly due to Santorum's support for Arlen Specter, over Congressman Pat Toomey in the 2004 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. Even though Santorum is only slightly less conservative than Toomey, he joined virtually all of the state and national Republican establishment in supporting the moderate Specter. This led many socially and fiscally conservative Republicans to consider Santorum's support of Specter to be a betrayal of their cause.

On May 22, 2006, the polling firm Rasmussen Reports declared that Santorum was the "most vulnerable incumbent" among the Senators running for re-election. However, in August 2006, polling showed Santorum with his highest approval rating in months, 48 percent, a twelve-point jump between July and August. Nearly as many Pennsylvanians, 45 percent, said they had an unfavorable view of the Senator.

For most of the campaign, Santorum was behind by 15 points or more. Most polls during the summer of 2006 showed the race between Casey and Santorum becoming increasingly competitive, but a poll released by Quinnipiac Universitymarker on September 26 showed Casey's margin ballooning back to a double-digit lead.

One day before the Quinnipiac poll was released, a Pennsylvania state judge ruled against a potential third-party candidate, Carl Romanelli of the Green Party. Romanelli fell about 8,900 petition signatures shy of the threshold needed to be placed on the statewide ballot in November. On October 4, 2006, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court also rejected Romanelli's legal challenge. This was a potential blow to the Santorum campaign, as Romanelli was expected to siphon off some Casey voters.

There is also some question as to whether Romanelli and Pennsylvania's Green Party violated federal election laws when they accepted tens of thousands of dollars in donations from people also backing Santorum's campaign.

Santorum found himself mired in controversy over his residency. For many years, he has maintained a modest home in Penn Hillsmarker, a suburb of Pittsburgh, which he claims as his official residence. However, his family lived in the Virginiamarker suburbs of Washington when the Senate was in session. Since this meant Santorum spent most of the year away from Pennsylvania, critics argued it was not unlike the living arrangements he denounced in his 1990 House race against Walgren. Santorum accused Walgren of being out of touch with his Pittsburgh-area district, symbolized by his home in the Virginia suburbs. On NBC's Meet the Press on September 3, 2006, Santorum admitted that he only spends "maybe a month a year, something like that" at his Pennsylvania residence. Santorum also pointed out in the debate that Walgren lived in a single Congressional district and that Walgren only spent 28 days of the entire year in his district, while he represents all of Pennsylvania. As such, he spent much of his time in Virginia but would visit every one of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania every year.

Santorum also drew criticism for enrolling five of his six children in an online "cyber school" in Pennsylvania's Allegheny Countymarker (home to Pittsburgh and most of its suburbs), despite the fact the children lived in Virginia. The Penn Hillsmarker School District was billed $73,000 in tuition for the cyber classes.

At least one of Santorum's television ads called into question his campaign's use of the facts regarding Casey and persons who have donated money to the Casey campaign. According to the ad, some of the persons who have given Casey money are or have been under investigation for various crimes. An editorial in Casey's hometown newspaper, The Scranton Times-Tribune, points out that all but one of the contributions "[was] made to Casey campaigns when he was running for other offices, at which time none of the contributors were known to be under investigation for anything." In fact, two of the persons cited in the Santorum campaign ad have actually given contributions to Mr. Santorum's 2006 Senate campaign. Another died in 2004. However, the Santorum campaign pointed out that the money the Santorum campaign received from those donors was not kept by the campaign, but rather donated to educational institutions.

A heated debate between the candidates occurred on October 11, 2006. There, according to coverage by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the candidates appeared "less statesmanlike than either Gov. Ed Rendell or challenger Lynn Swann, who had debated each other in Pittsburgh the [previous] week".

In late October, during the Lebanon County Republican Committee’s annual dinner at the Lantern Lodge, Santorum said "If we are not successful here and things don’t go right in the election, there’s a good chance that the course of our country could change." "We are in the equivalent of the late 1930s, and this election will decide whether we are going to continue to appease or whether we will stand and fight while we have a chance to win without devastating consequences."

Santorum on August 28 gave to Pennsylvania media at the Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg, a speech he earlier gave to the National Club, claiming that terrorist attacks on America by "radical Islamists" were part of a more than three-century-old plot to restore Shia clerics to power and bring "the 12th Imam" out of hiding.He said, according to the online news service, Capitolwire: “They believe, as all Shias do, in the Hidden Imam, the 12th Imam," the 12th descendant in a straight line from Mohammed the Prophet, who disappeared in 874, at the age of 5. “The Shia believe that he is the Messiah and he is in hiding and that he will return. … They believe … he will return with radical Islam, when Shia dominates the world. Well, for over 1,000 years, ... the East and West fought, up until 1683 ... In 1683, not that long ago, the Islamists had surrounded the gates of Vienna and were on the verge of toppling it after a siege; ... but the West united, and led by the Poles, [King] John Sobieski and the Polish Hussars defeated [the Arab forces] in a one-day battle on the plains outside Vienna.“What was the high-water mark of this 1,000-year war? It was the day before. What was the date the day before? Sept. 11, 1683.”

This speech eventually led to Santorum launching a tour called "The Gathering Storm," comparing himself to the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who alerted his nation and the world to the Nazi menace in the 1930s, and then fought with America, Russia and others to defeat the Germans, Italians and Japan in World War II in the 1940s. The Associated Press' Jennifer Yates wrote on Oct. 27 that Santorum said: "This is a moment, a critical crossroads in American history," as she noted that "Santorum, who invoked Winston Churchill's memoir - "The Gathering Storm" - about the causes of World War II" then told her and audiences: "The parallel is so profound."

Days before, Yates reported, Santorum said: Casey's election and that of other Democrats trying to take over the U.S. House and Senate would be "a disaster for the future of the world."

On the Sunday before the election, Casey responded to the comment, telling Capitolwire: "Who runs a campaign like that? No one believes terrorists are going to be more likely to attack us, because I defeat Rick Santorum. Does even he believe that?"

In that same Harrisburg, Pennsylvania speech, Santorum had to deal with a charge that polls showed hurt him badly with women voters. In his book, "It Takes A Family: "In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don't both need to.”

Santorum wrote that many women have disclosed to him that it is more "socially affirming to work outside the home than to give up their careers to take care of their children.... What happened in America so that mothers and fathers who leave their children in the care of someone else - or worse yet, home alone after school between three and six in the afternoon - find themselves more affirmed by society? Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism."Polls showed many female voters resented this description of why they worked, especially Republican and independent women whose abandonment of Santorum doomed his campaign, reported the online news service Capitolwire, based in Harrisburg.In a question-and-answer session on Aug. 28 at the Pennsylvania speech, Santorum tried again to address the issue and said his problem was that federal taxes now consumed 27 percent of family wages, and the second wage earner in most families made only 25 percent of the first's wages.

“First, I would say, read the book and I think if you read the book, you can answer the question yourself. Because anyone who has read the book instead of the comments pulled out by the Democratic National Committee about the book, which was four sentences, by the way, in a 430-page book, … would tell you I am supportive of families in a variety of different ways. ... What does the average second-earner in the family make? Twenty five percent of the first earner. ... Because of our tax code, we make it virtually impossible to maintain a standard of living and at the same time, be home with your children. ... Number two, look, I believe that women should have choices when it comes to the workforce. And they should be real choices."And look, I came from a family where my mother worked, all her life, made more money than my dad (N.B.: his mother and father were a registered nurse and psychiatrist, respectively). I have more people working in my office who are women, in senior policy positions, than men. So I don’t have a hang-up with women working. I do have a hang-up with the government and others in society not nurturing, supporting and encouraging parents to be home with their kids when they need to be home. And I think we need to do more as a society to help them.”

In the November election, Santorum lost, with 41% of the vote to Casey's 59%, statistically the worst defeat ever for an incumbent Republican Senator in Pennsylvania and the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent Senator since George McGovern lost his reelection bid to James Abdnor in 1980.

Post-Senate career

Before failing to win reelection in 2006, Santorum had frequently been mentioned as a possible 2008 presidential candidate. Such speculation faded when, during the course of the campaign and in light of unimpressive poll numbers, he declared that, if re-elected, he would serve a full term. After he lost, Santorum once again ruled out a presidential run.

In March 2007 Santorum joined Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC. He will primarily practice law in the firm’s Pittsburghmarker and Washington, D.C.marker offices, where he will provide business and strategic counseling services to the firm's clients. He also joined the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a D.C.-based conservative think tank. Santorum is also contributor on the Fox News Channel. Santorum also writes an Op/Ed piece titled "The Elephant in the Room" for the Commentary Page of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Santorum told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he would address many geopolitical issues, and then joked, "I don't do Anna Nicole Smith, that's all."

On February 1, 2008, Santorum announced that he would vote for Mitt Romney in the 2008 Presidential Republican primary race, stating: "If you're a Republican, if you're a Republican in the broadest sense, there is only one place to go right now and that's Mitt Romney.".He has come out as a strong critic of John McCain, questioning his pro-life voting record and whether Sen. McCain holds true conservative values. However, in September 2008, Santorum expressed support for McCain after all, citing Sarah Palin as a step in the right direction: "Knowing McCain, he's choosing someone in whom he sees a lot of himself...He tries to find people who have a similar head as he does, and if he sees him in [Palin]...that gives me a better feel for him and a little more confidence in him."

On April 12, 2007, political action committee America's Foundation, Highmark and a former Highmark vice president were fined by the Federal Election Committee for sponsoring Santorum with corporate money. The problem had been reported by Highmark, which uncovered the matter during an internal review.

Santorum has been mentioned as a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2010. He has since "quietly but efficiently put his fingerprints on a wide-array of conservative causes in the state."

Santorum has said he is considering candidacy for the GOP nomination for President of the United States in the 2012 election. On September 11, 2009, Santorum spoke to a group of Catholic leaders in Orlando, Florida. He told the leaders, "I hate to be calculating, but I see that 2012 is not just throwing somebody out to be eaten, but it's a real opportunity for success." He has also scheduled appearances with political non-profit organizations to take place in Iowa on October 1, 2009.



  1. 1
  2. Butler Senior High School classbook, "The Magnet", 1975
  3. Nation & World: 20 things about Rick Santorum - US News and World Report
  4. "Santorum: Casey lacking on security"
  5. "Santorum says Iran at center of world's conflict" By Kimberly Hefling, The Associated Press.
  6. "ID's backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard." Ruling, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, page 89
  7. "That this controversy is one largely manufactured by the proponents of creationism and intelligent design may not matter, and as long as the controversy is taught in classes on current affairs, politics, or religion, and not in science classes, neither scientists nor citizens should be concerned." Intelligent Judging — Evolution in the Classroom and the Courtroom George J. Annas, New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 354:2277-2281 May 25, 2006
  8. "Some bills seek to discredit evolution by emphasizing so-called "flaws" in the theory of evolution or "disagreements" within the scientific community. Others insist that teachers have absolute freedom within their classrooms and cannot be disciplined for teaching non-scientific "alternatives" to evolution. A number of bills require that students be taught to "critically analyze" evolution or to understand "the controversy." But there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of the theory of evolution. The current controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution is not a scientific one." AAAS Statement on the Teaching of Evolution American Association for the Advancement of Science. February 16, 2006
  9. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District: Conclusion
  10. Allegheny County Assessment
  12. Editorial: Home school / Santorum, not the state, should pay Penn Hills. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 11, 2006.
  13. Santorum tuition OK'd, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 13, 2006.
  14. Santorum has got to be kidding. By Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
  15. James O'Toole, "Santorum asks county to drop tax exemption", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 27, 2006
  16. Santorum campaign: No county tax break. Vera Miller, Staff Writer,Your Penn Hills, A Tribune Review service, September 13, 2006.
  17. Casey for Senate: Santorum exemplifies the worst of Washington, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 22, 2006.
  18. ACLU settles lawsuit stemming from 2005 Santorum event, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Friday, June 29, 2007
  19. Toland, Bill. Santorum, Casey go toe-to-toe in debate. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette', October 13, 2006.
  20. Raffaele, Martha. Santorum: Casey lacking on security. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 27, 2006.
  21. [1]
  22. Santorum weighs in on race: Ex-senator changes his stance on McCain
  23. Santorum fundraising brings fine for Highmark, AP, April 13, 2007.
  24. Santorum Admits to Pondering Run for Republican Presidential Nomination - Asks for Prayers September 12, 2009
  25. Santorum mulling run for White House: Reports September 12, 2009
  26. Santorum reportedly mulling White House bid, By Tony Romm, The Hill, September 13, 2009
  27. Santorum Generates Talk Of White House Run, By Bradley Vasoli, The Bulletin Tuesday, August 18, 2009

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