JOHN ASHCROFT Biography - Polititians


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Name: John David Ashcroft                                                                             
Born: 9 May 1942 Chicago, Illinois                                                                   
John David Ashcroft (born May 9, 1942) is an American politician who was the 79th                     
United States Attorney General. He served during the first term of President                         
George W. Bush from 2001 until 2005. Ashcroft was previously the Governor of                         
Missouri (1985 – 1993) and a U.S. Senator from Missouri (1995 – 2001). He is the                 
author of several books, including: On My Honor: The Beliefs that Shape My Life,                     
Lessons from a Father to his Son, and most recently, Never Again: Securing                           
America and Restoring Justice.                                                                       
Ashcroft was born in Chicago, Illinois, to James Robert Ashcroft and Grace P.                         
Larsen. His father was a minister in an Assembly of God congregation, and served                     
as the the President of Evangel University from 1958-1974, while his mother was                       
a housewife whose parents had immigrated to the United States from Norway.                           
Ashcroft went to school in Springfield, Missouri, and upon graduating high                           
school attended Yale University. At Yale he was a member of Sigma Tau Gamma                           
Fraternity, he graduated in 1964, and continued his education receiving a J.D.                       
degree from the University of Chicago in 1967.                                                       
After finishing school Ashcroft briefly taught business law and worked as an                         
administrator at Southwest Missouri State University.                                                 
In 1972, Ashcroft unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Southwest Missouri,                             
narrowly losing the Republican primary to Gene Taylor. After the primary,                             
Missouri Governor Christopher Bond appointed Ashcroft as state auditor, the                           
office Bond had vacated to assume the governorship.                                                   
In 1974 Ashcroft was narrowly defeated for re-election by Jackson County                             
Executive George W. Lehr, who argued that Ashcroft, who was not an accountant,                       
was not qualified to serve as state auditor. Jack Danforth, who was then in his                       
second term as state attorney general, hired Ashcroft as an assistant Missouri                       
attorney general. During his tenure as assistant AG, Ashcroft shared an office                       
suite with future Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas; and it would be Thomas,                     
who would eventually administer Ashcroft's oath of office as US attorney general                     
in 2001.                                                                                             
In 1976 Danforth was elected to the United States Senate, and Ashcroft was                           
elected to replace him as attorney general. Ashcroft was re-elected in 1980, and                     
was elected governor in 1984 .                                                                       
After a successful first term, Ashcroft was re-elected In 1988, becoming the                         
first (and, to date, the only) Republican elected to consecutive gubernatorial                       
terms in Missouri history. During his second term, from 1991 to 1992, Ashcroft                       
served as Chairman of the National Governors Association.                                             
As Governor, Ashcroft helped enact tougher standards and sentencing for gun                           
crimes, increased funding for local law enforcement, and tougher standards and                       
punishment for people bringing guns into schools. While Ashcroft was in office:                       
The number of full-time law enforcement officers in Missouri increased 3,825 (63%)                   
from 1985 to 1992.                                                                                   
Capacity at Missouri corrections facilities increased by 72% from 9,071 in 1985                       
to 15,630 in 1993.                                                                                   
Missouri was above average in the length of time criminals had to serve for all                       
sentences according to Gail Hughes, deputy director for the state Corrections                         
Department, citing the 1991 yearbook published by the Criminal Justice Institute.                     
The national average for time served for all crimes was 23.7 months, while in                         
Missouri the average length of a sentence was 28.9 months.                                           
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, prison time as a percentage of the                       
time sentenced to jail was 73% in 1993 and increased to 86% in 1997.                                 
The number of juveniles who were arrested for committing a crime increased by 16.3%                   
between from 1985 and 1992.                                                                           
Though Ashcroft initially opposed the legislation, while he was                                       
governor, Missouri enacted its first hate crimes legislation, creating penalties                     
for ethnic intimidation and crimes committed for motives based on race, color,                       
religion, or national origin, and penalties for institutional vandalism for                           
damages to ethnically-related buildings and property.                                                 
The legislature enacted the Missouri Victim's Bill of Rights, which allows crime                     
victims to be informed of and present at criminal proceedings, the right to                           
restitution, the right to protection from the defendant and the right to be                           
informed of the escape or release of a defendant.                                                     
In 1994 Ashcroft was elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri, again succeeding                       
a retiring John Danforth. Ashcroft won 60% of the vote against Democratic                             
Congressman Alan Wheat. As Senator:                                                                   
He was a leading opponent of the Clinton Administration's Clipper encryption                         
He voted to prohibit those convicted of felony or misdemeanor domestic violence                       
from owning a firearm.                                                                               
He convened the first and only Senate hearing on racial profiling, on March 30,                       
2000, with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), where he stated that racial profiling                       
is unconstitutional and said that he supported the concept of legislation                             
requiring that statistics be kept of police actions.                                                 
In 1999, as chair of the Senate's subcommittee on patents, he played a pivotal                       
role in extending patents for several drugs, most significantly Schering-Plough's                     
allergy medication Claritin.                                                                         
In 2000, he became the first Senate incumbent ever defeated for re-election by a                     
dead man's name on the ballot (it was understood that Mel Carnahan's wife, Jean                       
Carnahan, would assume the position if he won election).                                             
In 1998, Ashcroft briefly considered running for president, but on January 5,                         
1999, he announced that he would not seek the presidency and would instead                           
defend his Senate seat in his 2000 reelection.                                                       
Ashcroft was first challenged in the Republican primary, defeating Marc Perkel.                       
In the general election, Ashcroft faced a challenge from then-Governor Mel                           
Carnahan. In the midst of a tight race, Carnahan died in an airplane crash two                       
weeks prior to the November general election. However, Carnahan's name remained                       
on the ballot due to Missouri state election laws. Lieutenant Governor Roger                         
Wilson became Governor upon Carnahan's death. Wilson announced that should                           
Carnahan be elected he would appoint his widow, Jean Carnahan, to serve in her                       
husband's place; Mrs. Carnahan agreed to this arrangement. Ashcroft suspended                         
all campaigning after the plane crash in light of the tragedy.                                       
Voters elected Mel Carnahan, although dead, by a narrow margin. No one had ever                       
posthumously won election to the Senate, though voters on at least three                             
occasions chose deceased candidates for the House.                                                   
This loss was despite having a larger budget than Carnahan that included                             
controversial contributions from corporations such as Monsanto (headquartered in                     
St. Louis, Missouri), which contributed five times more to Ashcroft than to any                       
other congressional hopeful at the time.                                                             
Following his Senatorial defeat, Ashcroft was nominated as U.S. Attorney General                     
by president-elect George W. Bush in December 2000. Ashcroft was confirmed by                         
the Senate by a vote of 58-42, with most of the Democratic Senators voting                           
against him, alleging previous opposition to desegregation and legal abortion.                       
Former Missouri Senator Thomas Eagleton had commented on Ashcroft's appointment,                     
"John Danforth would have been my first choice. John Ashcroft would have been my                     
last choice."                                                                                         
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Ashcroft was a key supporter of passage of                     
the USA Patriot Act. One of the provisions in that Act was the controversial                         
Section 215, which allows the FBI to make an application for an order from the                       
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for an order requiring production of "any                     
tangible thing" for an investigation to protect against international terrorism                       
or clandestine intelligence activities. Ashcroft referred to American Library                         
Association opposition to Section 215 as "hysteria" in two separate speeches                         
given in September, 2003. During his tenure at Justice, Ashcroft                                     
consistently denied that the FBI or any other law enforcement agency had used                         
the Patriot Act to obtain library circulation records or those of retail sales.                       
On November 9, 2004, following George W. Bush's re-election, Ashcroft announced                       
his resignation from his post as Attorney General, which took effect on                               
February 3, 2005 with the Senate confirmation of White House Counsel Alberto                         
Gonzales as the next Attorney General. Some believe his health was a factor                           
in his decision. His hand-written resignation letter, dated November 2, stated:                       
"The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has                         
been achieved."                                                                                       
In May 2005, Ashcroft laid the groundwork for a strategic consulting firm that                       
bears his name. The Ashcroft Group, LLC officially opened its doors in the                           
Fall of 2005 and as of March 2006 had lined up 21 clients, turning down two for                       
every one accepted.                                                                                   
In 2005 year-end filings, Ashcroft's firm reported collecting $269,000,                               
including $220,000 from Oracle Corporation, which won Department of Justice                           
approval of a multibillion-dollar acquisition less than a month after hiring                         
Ashcroft. The income totals that Ashcroft has reported so far represent in some                       
cases only initial payments.                                                                         
According to government filings, Oracle is one of the Ashcroft Group’s five                         
clients that seek his help in selling data or software with homeland security                         
applications. Another client, Israel Aircraft Industries International, is                           
competing with Chicago's Boeing Company to sell the government of South Korea a                       
billion-dollar airborne radar system. The Ashcroft Group is also registered                           
to represent ChoicePoint, eBay, Exegy, Alanco Technologies, LTU Technologies and                     
TrafficLand, Inc.                                                                                     
In March 2006, the New York Times reported that Ashcroft was setting himself up                       
as something of an "anti-Abramoff", and that in an hour long interview, Ashcroft                     
used the word integrity scores of times. In May 2006, based on                                       
conversations with members of Congress, key aides and lobbyists, The Hill                             
magazine listed Ashcroft as one of top 50 "hired guns" that K Street had to                           
offer. In August 2006, the Washington Post reported that Ashcroft's firm had                         
30 clients, many of which made products or technology aimed at homeland security,                     
and about a third of which the firm has not disclosed, to protect client                             
confidentiality. The firm also had equity stakes in eight client companies. It                       
reported receiving $1.4 million in lobbying fees in the past six months, a small                     
fraction of its total earnings.                                                                       
After the proposed merger of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio                       
Holdings Inc., Ashcroft offered the firm his consulting services, according to                       
spokesman for XM. The spokesman said XM declined Ashcroft's offer to work as                         
a lobbyist for the company. Ashcroft was subsequently hired by the National                           
Association of Broadcasters, which is fiercely opposed to the merger.