Jim Moran was born on May 16, 1945 in Buffalo, New York and grew up in Natick, Massachusetts. He earned a BA in economics from the College of the Holy Cross in 1967, and an MPA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970. He then worked as a senior budget analyst at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare from 1969-74; a senior specialist on budgetary and fiscal policy at the Library of Congress from 1974-76; a staffer for Senator Warren Magnuson from 1976-79; and a stockbroker with A.G. Edwards & Sons from 1979-90.
Moran launched his political career when he served as a city council member in Alexandria, Virginia from 1979-84, and as vice mayor of that city from 1982-84. In 1984 Moran sobbingly pleaded no contest to a felony charge of vote-peddling in a case where he had helped a developer friend win a bid for a highly valuable plot of public land. In exchange for a reduced conflict-of-interest misdemeanor charge, Moran received a year’s probation and was forced to resign his city council post. Notwithstanding this scandal, Moran went on to serve as Alexandria’s mayor from 1985-90.
In November 1990 Moran, a Democrat, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Eighth District of Virginia. Soon thereafter he became a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Over the course of his political career, Moran cultivated a reputation for possessing a volatile and violent temper. For details, click here.
In the mid-1990s Moran lost approximately $120,000 from trades and bad investments that his then-wife characterized, during the couple’s divorce proceedings, as “wasting the family assets on his stock market gambling.” In 1996 a destitute Moran was forced to sell his own vehicle; he then used campaign funds to rent himself a new car.
In 1997 Moran co-founded the New Democrat Coalition, an alliance of lawmakers depicting themselves as moderates with regard to economic and budgetary issues, but voting as leftists on social issues.
In 1998 Moran received a $447,000 loan with very favorable terms from the MBNA Corporation, a bank holding company, before signing on as a lead sponsor on a bankruptcy bill that stood to benefit MBNA. When the apparent conflict-of-interest was publicly revealed four years later, it triggered a Federal Elections Commission investigation into whether or not the loan was legal.
In 1999 Terry Lierman, a registered lobbyist whom the Schering-Plough Corporation had hired to push Congress to defend its monopoly on the popular allergy drug Claritin, approached Moran regarding this (Claritin) matter. Soon thereafter, on June 30 of that year, Moran co-sponsored legislation that would benefit the company by extending its patent on Claritin and preventing generic drug manufacturers from offering less-costly alternatives. The next month he sent a letter to other Democratic lawmakers, seeking their support for the measure as well. That same summer, Moran accepted $25,000 from Lierman. The secret promissory note accompanying the transaction had no maturity date and did not indicate when the principal had to be repaid except to stipulate that Lierman could call in the loan at any time—meaning that, as investigative journalist Matthew Vadum puts it, “it was less a promissory note than a ‘get-out-of-jail free’ card ready to be made public in case of emergency.”
In 2002 financial disclosure statements, Moran revealed that he had accepted a $50,000 loan in January 2001 from his “old friend” James Kimsey, co-founder of America Online. Moran claimed that he had repaid the loan plus 15 percent interest over a three-month period, with no accompanying quid pro quo.
In 2003 Moran suggested that America’s Jewish community bore much responsibility for the U.S. invasion of Iraq: “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this. The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should.” Four years later, he made a similar statement about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby organization.
In 2005 Moran became a member of the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus.
In 2006, Moran, in a discussion about the Democrats’ chances of taking control of Congress that year, vowed that “when I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I’m going to earmark the sh*t out of it.” From 2007-09, Moran’s younger brother, Brian, ran for governor of Virginia and received many campaign donations from contractors who were awaiting earmarks from Jim Moran.
In the mid-2000s, Moran, who had married a wealthy third wife, used her assets to become an active stock trader again. As of 2007, Moran had a net worth of approximately $12.7 million. In 2010, however, the couple separated and eventually divorced. By 2012, Moran’s financial disclosure report showed him owning no assets other than a money-market account worth $15,000 or less.
On September 17, 2009, when the House of Representatives voted by a 345-75 margin to defund the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN, Moran was one of the 75 Democrats who stood with ACORN and opposed the measure.
At a 2009 political rally, Moran portrayed some of Virginia’s leading Republican figures—gubernatorial candidate Robert McDonnell, lieutenant governor candidate Bill Bolling, and attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli—as conservative extremists who bore striking similarities to Islamic fundamentalists. “I mean, if the Republicans were running in Afghanistan,” said Moran, “they’d be running on the Taliban ticket as far as I can see.”
In 2010, the House Ethics Committee investigated Moran and several other members of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee for providing earmarks to companies that had donated large sums of money to their campaigns. Though the Committee ultimately cleared Moran and the others, watchdog groups such as the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington were not persuaded of Moran’s innocence. Their suspicions proved to be well founded, as evidenced by the fact that just a few months after the ethics investigation, a major donor to Moran and the other investigation targets pled guilty to campaign finance fraud.
In his 2011 book Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweitzer reports that Moran made stock trades based on inside information which he had gained from a meeting on September 16, 2008—during that year’s financial collapse—with then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Says Schweitzer: “September 17, 2008, was by far Moran’s most active trading day of the year. He dumped shares in Goldman Sachs, General Dynamics, Franklin Resources, Flowserve Corporation, Ecolabs, Edison International, Electronic Arts, DirecTV, Conoco, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Apple, CVS, Cisco, Chubb, and a dozen more companies.”
In a January 2011 interview with an Arab television network, Moran attributed the Republican Party’s success in the 2010 midterm elections to America’s ubiquitous racism: “It happened for the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States. It happened because the Southern states, the slaveholding states, didn’t want to see a president who was opposed to slavery. In this case, I believe, a lot of people in the United States don’t want to be governed by an African-American, particularly one who is liberal, who wants to spend money and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society.”
In 2012 Moran’s son Patrick, while serving as field director of his father’s re-election campaign, was forced to resign after he was caught on video encouraging an undercover reporter to forge documents in order to cast phony ballots in the upcoming Virginia election. The incident was particularly embarrassing for Congressman Moran, a vocal opponent of voter ID laws. Further, the elder Moran had been previously caught on film demanding that his constituents show their IDs in order to gain admittance to a local town hall meeting.
In early 2012 Moran denounced GOP Rep. Allen West, a black conservative, for his blunt criticisms of President Obama. According to Moran: “[West] just seems clueless now that he has climbed aboard ship. He’s climbed this ladder of opportunity that was constructed by so many of his ancestors’ sweat, sacrifice, blood, you know, they did everything they could for his generation to be successful. But now that he’s climbed on board ship, instead of reaching down and steadying the ladder, he wants to push it off.” In addition, Moran lauded President Obama as “our Lion King” and likened his Republican detractors to the “hyenas in the background trying to cause trouble” for the president.
Over the course of his career in Congress, Moran made numerous anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks, while demonstrating a degree of solidarity with enemies of the Jewish state. For example:
On January 15, 2014, Moran announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of his current term.
During his years in Congress, Moran received many donations from high-ranking officials and/or board members of Islamist organizations. Specifically, from 1990-2014 he received a total of $20,625 in contributions from individuals affiliated with the SAAR Foundation (SAFA Trust Group), the International Institute of Islamic Thought, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Students Association, the North American Islamic Trust, the United Association for Studies and Research, the Islamic Association for Palestine, the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In February 2015, Moran joined the Washington, D.C. law firm of McDermmott, Will, and Emery as a senior legislative advisor. In April 2016, Virginia Tech that Moran had joined the faculty of its School of Public and International Affairs.
For an overview of Moran’s voting record on numerous key issues during his congressional career, click here.
For additional information on Jim Moran, click here.