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. From 1970-76, Blumenthal served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, where, according to NBC News, he “engag[ed] in Washington drills and local projects like campground repairs.” 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 Connecticut 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.”
Between 2003-09, a number of newspaper articles quoted Blumenthal as stating, on multiple occasions, that he had seen active combat duty as a Marine during the Vietnam War. But in fact, Blumenthal never served in Vietnam. Rather, prior to his tour of duty in the Marines Reserves, 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.
Blumenthal has worked closely on a number of occasions with radical Islamist organizations. For example, he has praised the Connecticut chapter of the Hamas-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its “admirable” efforts “to uphold the value of justice and tolerance.” And since 2011, he has spoken at several CAIR-Connecticut events alongside fellow invitees like Siraj Wahhaj and Linda Sarsour. Below are some specific examples of Blumenthal’s dealings with Islamists:
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.”
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.
In April 2018, Blumenthal was one of 12 U.S. senators who sought to punish the Sinclair Broadcast Group – widely perceived as a conservative media company – which (a) consisted of 193 television stations and 614 channels in 89 markets nationwide, and (b) had recently announced plans to acquire the Tribune Media Company’s 42 TV stations in 33 markets, a merger that, if completed, would extend Sinclair’s reach to 72% of all American households. The twelve senators included Blumenthal, Independent Bernie Sanders, and 10 other Democrats: Tammy Baldwin, Cory Booker, Maria Cantwell, Edward Markey, Jeff Merkley, Patty Murray, Tina Smith, Tom Udall, Elizabeth Warren, and Ron Wyden.
In his response to the letter, Pai said he “must respectfully decline” the senators’ request “in light of my commitment to protecting the First Amendment and freedom of the press.” “I understand that you disliked or disagreed with the content of particular broadcasts,” he added, “but I can hardly think of an action more chilling of free speech than the federal government investigating a broadcast station because of disagreement with its news coverage or promotion of that coverage.”
In a December 11, 2019 appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball, Blumenthal stated that he thought up to ten Senate Republican senators would vote to convict President Trump on the impeachment charges that had been filed by the House of Representatives. “I would give the high end probably five to ten,” he said. “I think that’s a realistic number. But, and I want to emphasize the but, we need to keep in mind what’s unpredictable here. Remember the Watergate case, where the Nixon tapes emerged, seemingly by chance…and that was the end of his presidency. So, never underestimate the possibility of unpredicted evidence. And so, I think that one to ten number may increase as we see more of the evidence. It is a very, very fluid situation.”
In a December 13, 2019 appearance on CNN’s The Situation Room, Blumenthal condemned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s assertion that he would be coordinating with the White House about the upcoming Senate impeachment trial:
“It is improper. He said not only is he coordinating but taking his cues from the White House. He seems to be abandoning all pretense or semblance of objectivity and independence. It’s also unprecedented. In every one of the past proceedings, Republicans and Democrats have worked together…. I think it’s really regrettable the majority leader is already undermining the credibility of this proceeding in the eyes of the American people. I think he should change the tone and substance of his approach. Realistically he is more than just the foreman of the jury as some of our House colleagues characterized him. The foreman of a jury has only one vote, and Mitch McConnell potentially controls a lot of votes through the sway and influence he has over his fellow Republicans. That’s why he should really take himself out of this coordination with the White House, meeting with lawyers. He’s undermining the credibility of the Senate, not just himself.”
In November 2020, Blumenthal exhorted social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to censor conservative content even more extensively than they were already doing. Breitbart.com described the nature of that existing censorship as follows: “Through its system of ‘third party fact checkers,’ Facebook … empowers news organizations like Washington Post and USA Today to ‘fact check’ the stories of their conservative and independent competitors, potentially causing them to be suppressed on the platform. Moreover, victims of erroneous or malicious fact-checks cannot appeal to Facebook, but [can only appeal] to the fact checkers themselves.” Against that backdrop, Blumenthal, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about censorship on social media, said: “According to the internal records that are on record now, leaked by NBC News, Facebook has removed fact checks and forgiven infractions for conservative pages and pundits such as Breitbart, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Gateway Pundit, based on a fear of accusations of bias.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied: “What we do sometimes is apply some judgement on whether the repeat offender policies would render too harsh of a penalty, but that’s different from overturning a specific fact check, and it’s not done for the reasons that you said.”
In the same Senate hearing, Blumenthal specifically called on Facebook to terminate the account of former Trump White House official Steve Bannon. The senator also made the following statements to Zuckerberg:
On December 11, 2021 in New Haven, Connecticut — the city where the Connecticut branch of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) is headquartered — Blumenthal delivered a speech at a ceremony hosted by the Connecticut People’s World Committee (CPWC), an affiliate of the CPUSA and the Marxist People’s World news website. The event, which was used in part to recruit new members to both the CPWC and the CPUSA, featured the presentation of CPWC’s annual “Amistad Award” to State Sen. Julie Kushner (Democrat-Danbury), Pastor Rodney Wade of Waterbury, and Service Employees International Union activist Azucena Santiago. The awardees were “recognized for their commitment to organizing priorities that address racial equity, climate change, voting rights, and the common good,” said CPWC partner AFT [American Federation of Teachers] Connecticut in an online post about the ceremony. “They were also selected for fighting for the rights of essential—and all, regardless of immigrations status—workers during the [COVID-19] pandemic.” (For video of the event, click here.)
“I’ve known and worked with all of them. They are extraordinary examples of courage, grace under pressure, ferocious fighting for the rights or working people, and for Democracy,” Blumenthal said of the awardees. “I know we’re looking back at past achievements, but I want to tell you that the fight ahead is even more challenging than almost anything we have encountered before because we are at a time when more than any other time in our history, we need to make ‘good trouble’ in the tradition of John Lewis.”
Exclaiming that “I am really excited and honored to be with you today and share in this remarkable occasion,” Blumenthal used his speech to tout President Joe Biden‘s “Build Back Better plan” generally, and a number of particular Democrat agenda items specifically. “There’s a lot to be working for in economic justice, in racial equity, in establishing a $15 minimum wage,” said the senator, “and holding corporations accountable for the basic treatment of the American people. We need to look at our entire tax system, beginning with Build Back Better.” Thanking those in attendance for helping him fight for “an equitable, fair America,” Blumenthal added: “Our opponents are trying to restrict Democracy. They are threatening the right to vote in state after state, congressional district after district all around the country, and the John Lewis Voting rights Act.” “These fights ahead of us go to the core of the lifeblood of our Democracy,” he stated, noting that he was “inspired today” (at the CPWC event) to redouble his own efforts to abolish the Senate filibuster rule that stood in the way of Democrats being able to forcibly pass all manner of legislation without any Republican support whatsoever.
Blumenthal was invited to the CPWC event by Communist Party members and ceremony emcees Lisa Bergmann and Ben McManus. Bergmann, who blamed corporations for the “imperialism that exists in our world that is undermining the labor and environment,” introduced Blumenthal to the attendees. And after Blumenthal had finished speaking, Bergmann told those in the audience: “If you are not already part of the Communist Party, we invite you to participate and contribute and join. There’s more and more people talking about socialism in this country as it becomes more and more clear that capitalism is not going to work for our future.” In a similar spirit, McManus urged the attendees to “join the Communist Party in this epic time as we make good trouble to uproot systemic racism, retool the war economy, tax the rich, address climate change, secure voting rights, and create a new socialist system that puts people, peace, and planet before profits.”
On February 1, 2021, Blumenthal and his wife together purchased — through a fund overseen by the senator’s wealthy in-laws, the Malkin family — between $500,000 and $1,000,000 worth of shares in the stock trading app Robinhood. That very same day, Senator Blumenthal asked Congress and consumer protection groups to investigate the “meme stock” craze whereby speculators had used the Robinhood platform to artificially inflate the share price of GameStop, a retailer of video games, consumer electronics, and gaming merchandise. Blumenthal chose not to probe the matter himself, even though he was chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection.
Months later, in four separate transactions conducted between October 29 and December 8, 2021, the Blumenthals sold between $1,265,000 and $2,550,000 worth of their Robinhood shares. This included between $265,000 and $550,000 worth of shares which they sold on December 8 — sales that Senator Blumenthal did not disclose until 56 days later, on February 2, 2022. Federal law that requires members of Congress to disclose large financial transactions within 30 days, and to disclose such transactions by their spouses within 45 days.
On February 28, 2022, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a watchdog group, requested that the Senate Select Committee on Ethics conduct an investigation into Mr. Blumenthal’s failure to disclose the aforementioned transactions in a timely manner. “Blumenthal’s stock trades raise conflict of interest concerns, and to make matters worse, Blumenthal failed to disclose his trades as required by the very laws intended to reveal conflicts of interest,” wrote FACT executive director Kendra Arnold in a letter to Senators Chris Coons (D – Delaware) and James Lankford (R – Oklahoma), respectively the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Ethics panel. “There is the ability for the senator to use non-public information for his personal profit, for instance timing when to buy and sell stocks,” Arnold added. “On the other side of this, the senator may take or refrain from taking official action to benefit his personal investments, which of course leads to questioning the credibility of the Senate…. Senator Blumenthal’s stock trades and any failure to comply with federal law must be investigated and appropriate sanctions imposed.”
On March 3, 2022, Blumenthal disclosed to the Senate Ethics Committee that an investment fund controlled by his in-laws had purchased between $1 million and $2 million in shares of four separate tech companies — Microsoft, Amazon, Intel, and Google parent company Alphabet — on January 31, just days before the senator denied owning any individual private stocks at all. Moreover, three of those tech companies — Microsoft, Amazon, and Intel — had contributed money to Blumenthal’s political campaign(s). Blumenthal’s denial apparently rested on the notion that his wife, and not he, was the true owner of the stock portfolio — in light of the fact that the trades had been made through the aforementioned investment fund controlled by the wife’s family. But the head of the watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) rejected Mr. Blumenthal’s defense. “There is no distinction between him owning individual stocks and the family trust owning them, which is proven by the fact that he must disclose them,” said Kendra Arnold, the executive director of FACT.
Of the aforementioned $1 million to $2 million in tech-company stocks purchased in January 2022 by the investment fund controlled by Blumenthal’s in-laws, somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 was Intel stock. A little over three weeks later, the senator voted in favor of the America COMPETES Act, legislation calling for $52 billion in subsidies to semiconductor manufacturers — subsidies that were likely to benefit Intel, one of the world’s largest semiconductor producers. “This is another example why there is strong public support for restricting stock purchases by senators and House members,” said Tom Fitton, president of “This is another example why there is strong public support for restricting stock purchases by senators and House members,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton in May 2022. “And, by the way, ‘disclosing’ conflicts doesn’t erase them.”
On May 2, 2022, Politico reported that an unidentified individual had leaked an initial draft of a 5-4 majority opinion, written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in which the Court had decided to strike down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. “No draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending,” said Politico. Whereas Roe had guaranteed federal constitutional protections for abortion rights, the new ruling would return responsibility for those rights to each individual state. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito wrote in his opinion, adding: “We hold that Roe and Casey [a 1992 decision that largely reaffirmed the rights set forth in Roe] must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Outraged by the news of the Court’s decision, Blumenthal spoke at a pro-abortion rally on May 9, 2022, where he exhorted Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 to circumvent the Court ruling and permanently safeguard abortion rights for women across the United States. This legislation, which Blumenthal himself introduced in the Senate, would legalize abortion-on-demand from the point of conception through the very end of pregnancy.
Blumenthal currently has a net worth of approximately $100 million, largely because his wife is a member of a New York real estate dynasty.
For an overview of Blumenthal’s voting record on a variety of key issues, click here.
Remembering Rich Blumenthal’s Vietnam Deception
By Lloyd Billingsley
January 16, 2017
Further Reading: “Richard Blumenthal” (Ballotpedia.org, VoteSmart.org, KeyWiki.org); “About Senator Blumenthal” (Blumenthal.senate.gov); “Blumenthal: The ‘A’ in AG is for Activist” (Connecticut Post, 8-16-2010); “The Nation’s Top Ten Worst State Attorneys General” (by Hans Bader, 1-24-2007); “Richard Blumenthal’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History” (NY Times, 5-17-2010); “Remembering Rich Blumenthal’s Vietnam Deception” (by Lloyd Billingsley, 1-16-2017).