Jim Sensenbrenner

Frank James (Jim) Sensenbrenner, Jr.


  • Juris Doctor, University of Wisconsin Law School (1968). [1]
  • B.A., Political Science, Stanford University (1965). [1]


Frank James (Jim) Sensenbrenner, Jr. has been a member of the Republican Party in the United States House of Representatives since 1979, representing Wisconsin's 5th congressional district. He is the former Chairman of the House Science Committee and the former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and served as the Ranking Republican on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming from 2007 to 2011.

Sensenbrenner, whose $10 million fortune stems from his great-grandfather's invention of the Kotex sanitary napkin, won $250,000 in the lottery in 1997. He also has significant holdings in leading oil companies estimated at between $1,133,985 and $1,783,983. [2]

Rolling Stone Magazine listed Sensenbrenner as one of their “10 Worst Congressmen” in 2006 for his “assault on free speech” and “major role in curtailing civil liberties.” The article lists some of the reasons for his unpopularity including reports that he had lobbyists pay for his transportation, a violation of congressional rules (his total travel expenses are higher than any other congressman). He also approved a bill that made it more difficult for Americans to declare bankruptcy, and refused to consider an exemption from the bill for victims of Hurricane Katrina. He additionally voted against the aid package designed to help Katrina victims. [3]

Stance on Climate Change

Sensenbrenner outlined his views on climate change in an interview with conservative radio show host Jay Weber (listen to the original audio here) and below: [15]

“I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do and our lunar, our rovers on Mars have indicated that there has been a slight warming in the atmosphere of Mars and that certainly was not caused by the internal combustion engine.” [4]

Key Quotes

“I am a leader in the fight against the national energy tax proposal some Congressional leaders are advocating. I call this bad idea 'cap-and-tax' because of the damage it will do to jobs, manufacturing and our economy.” [5]

“The President's science advisor, who is a former Harvard professor named Holdren, is involved in the email scandals and covering up the fact that data has been lost, the fact that contrary opinions to the global warming crowd has been squeezed out of scientific journals … Now this is an international conspiracy.” [6]

Key Deeds

May 21 – 23, 2012

Sensenbrenner was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7.) [14]

In response to Heartland's controversial billboard campaign which portrayed climate scientists as “murderers, tyrants, and madmen,” Sensenbrenner said that he would not be participating in the conference unless they pull the ad. [16], [17]

The Institute has since stated they were ending the billboard campaign which they describe as an “experiment.” [13]

DeSmogBlog researched the co-sponsors behind Heartland's ICCC7 and found that they had collectively received over $67 million from ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers and the conservative Scaife family foundations. [18]

January 28, 2011

Wrote to President Obama urging him to disband the White House Office of Energy and Climate Policy due to what he describes as its “lack of transparency.”[7]

The Office was created by Barack Obama in order to coordinate administration policy on energy and climate change. As of April, 2011 Congress no longer funded the Office. [19]

June, 2010

Sensenbrenner criticized how President Barack Obama's administration handled the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. [8]

Sensenbrenner called the federal government's response to the crisis “erratic” and suggested that the administration's “apparent lack of regulatory oversight” allowed safety problems within BP to go undetected. [8]

Sensenbrenner had owned 3,604 shared of BP worth more than $251,000 before the spill, dropping to $118,000 shortly after. [8]

BP and the government need each other,” Sensenbrenner wrote. “So, I question again, how is the president publicly chastising and threatening BP with criminal actions — a company that has pledged to pay for the damage caused by the oil spill accident and who likely wants this resolved more than anyone — helping to stop the oil?” [9]

May, 2010

Sensenbrenner was ranking member of a House subcommittee hearing by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. While the democrats produced experts in atmospheric science, oceanography, biology, and dendrochronology, Sensenbrenner brought forward climate change skeptic Lord Christopher Monckton, who's primary education appears to be in journalism. [10]

June, 2009

Sensenbrenner was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's Third International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC3) where he spoke on Panel 2: “Economics” with David Tuerck and Gabriel Calzada. [“Third International Conference on Climate Change, Program” (PDF)Heartland Institute. Archived January 23, 2018.]

May 28, 2009

As ranking member of the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, Sensenbrenner was part of a congressional delegation led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that traveled to China to assess the potential for cooperation on international climate change efforts.

At a press conference, Sensenbrenner said:

“It's business as usual for China. The message that I received was that China was going to do it their way regardless of what the rest of the world negotiates in Copenhagen.”

Sensenbrenner appeared to have based his comments on remarks made by Chinese economist Pan Jiahua who directs the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

He accused Professor Pan of “denigrating the Waxman-Markey [energy and climate] bill,” and claimed that Professor Pan said “China has been too aggressive in reducing their [sic] emissions.”

Sensenbrenner insinuated that Professor Pan was “speaking for the thinking of China,” and concluded that Pan's position represented a “significant step backwards.”

Pan later released a statement to the Center for American Progress where he characterized Sensenbrenner's selective reading of his comments as “improper and unethical,” and designed to “frighten the American public and halt U.S. progress on solving the problem of global warming.” [11]


  • Republican Party — Member since 1979. [12]
  • Committee on Science and Technology  — Vice Chairman. [12]
  • Committee on the Judiciary — Member. [12]
  • Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee  — Chairman. [12]
  • Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subcommittee (Judiciary) — Member. [12]
  • Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee (Science and Technology) — Member. [12]
  • Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee (Science and Technology) — Member. [12]


A list of statements and press releases by Sensenbrenner is available at his website.


  1. HISTORICAL ESSAY: Sensenbrenner Jr., F. James 1943”,” Wisconsin Historical Society. Archived October 18, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/a97da

  2. Paul Blumenthal. “Oil Industry Influence: Personal Finances,” Sunlight Foundation, August 8, 2008.

  3. Tim Dickinson. “The 10 Worst Congressmen,” Rolling Stone, October 17, 2006. Archived March 17, 2010.

  4. Leslie Berliant. “Jim Sensenbrenner: Full of Opinion and Hyperbole on Climate Change Legislation but Very Few Facts,” DeSmogBlog, April 14, 2009.

  5. Global Warming,” Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. Archived September 15, 2012. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/HC6mi

  6. Sensenbrenner Speaks with Jay Weber on Climategate,” Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, December 7, 2009. Archived January 16, 2011. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/oGWS5

  7. SENSENBRENNER URGES END TO WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF ENERGY AND CLIMATE POLICY” (Press Release), Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, January 28, 2011. Archived June 2, 2011. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/KEm3Q

  8. Diana Marrero. “Sensenbrenner slams Obama, BP,” Journal Sentinel, June 10, 2010.

  9. Dennis Condrad. “GOP lawmaker with BP stock has role in spill probe,” Lacross Tribune, June 10, 2010.

  10. “Foundation for Climate Science,” C-Span Video Library, May 6, 2010.

  11. Andrew Light and Julian L. Wong. “Sensenbrenner Distorts Climate Facts: Chinese Climate Expert Pan Jiahua Sets the Record Straight,” Center for American Progress, June 16, 2009.

  12. Biography,” Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. Retrieved May, 2012.

  13. Heartland Institute Ends Experiment with 'Unabomber' Global Warming Billboard,” 7th international conference on climate change, May 4, 2012. Archived May 3, 2012.

  14. “Seventh International Conference on Climate Change, Program,” (PDF) Heartland Institute. Archived January 23, 2018. 

  15. WISN_Jay_Weber_-_Sensenbrenner_interview.mp3” Retrieved from Sensenbrenner.house.gov.

  16. Brendan DeMelle. “Will Heartland Institute's Corporate Funders Tacitly Endorse Comparing Climate Realists to bin Laden and the Unabomber?DeSmog, May 4, 2012.

  17. Brendan DeMelle. “Cue the Defections: Rep. Sensenbrenner First To Pull Out of Heartland Institute's Denial-a-Palooza Conference,” DeSmog, May 4, 2012.

  18. Brendan DeMelle. “Heartland Denial-a-Palooza Sponsors Have Received $67 Million From ExxonMobil, Koch and Scaife Foundations,” DeSmog, May 22, 2012.

  19. Robin Bravender. “Budget deal axes 'czars' already gone,” Politico, April 12, 2011. Archived October 17, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/t9r4I

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