|Chair of the Joint Economic Committee|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Erik Paulsen|
United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2011
Serving with Mitt Romney
|Preceded by||Bob Bennett|
Michael Shumway Lee
June 4, 1971
Mesa, Arizona, U.S.
Sharon Burr ( m. 1993)
|Relations||Thomas Rex Lee (brother)|
Rex E. Lee|
|Education||Brigham Young University ( BA, JD)|
Michael Shumway Lee (born June 4, 1971) is an American politician, author, and attorney who is the senior United States Senator from Utah. A conservative, libertarian-leaning Republican, Lee has served in the Senate since January 3, 2011.
Born in Mesa, Arizona, Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University. Lee is the son of Rex E. Lee, who was Solicitor General under President Reagan, founding dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School and president of Brigham Young University. Lee began his career as a clerk for the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah before serving as a clerk for future Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who was then a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He then entered private practice with the Sidley Austin law firm in Washington D.C. In 2002, Lee returned to his home state to work as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Utah, a position he held until 2005. Subsequently, he joined the administration of Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, serving as the general counsel in the office of the governor from 2005 to 2006. Lee then reentered private practice in Washington D.C., with Howrey LLP.
In 2010, at the beginning of the Tea Party movement, Lee entered the party caucus process to challenge incumbent three-term Republican senator Bob Bennett. Lee defeated Bennett and business owner Tim Bridgewater during the nominating process at the Utah Republican Party Convention, receiving 1,854 votes in the final round. The two highest caucus performers were then put before primary voters, with Lee winning with 51% of the vote. He then defeated Democratic candidate Sam Granato in the senate election with 61% of the vote to Granato's 32%.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Legal career
- 3 Political positions
4 U.S. Senate
- 4.1 Elections
- 4.2 Tenure
- 4.3 Committee assignments
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Electoral history
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Lee was born in Mesa, Arizona on June 4, 1971, the son of Janet (née Griffin) and Rex E. Lee. His family moved to Provo, Utah one year later, when his father became the founding dean of Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School. While Lee spent about half of his childhood years in Utah, he spent the other half in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. His father served first as an Assistant U.S. Attorney General (overseeing the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Ford Administration) from 1975 until 1976, and then as the Solicitor General of the United States (charged with representing the United States government before the Supreme Court during the first term of the Reagan Administration) from 1981 until 1985. Lee is of English, Swiss, and Danish descent on his father's side.  
Growing up, Lee went to school with Senator Strom Thurmond's daughter, Nancy Moore Thurmond, and lived three doors down from Senator Robert Byrd. He was friends with Harry Reid's son Josh. Senator Reid was the Lees' home teacher. Lee recalls as a child how Senator Reid once locked him and Josh in their garage as a practical joke.  According to Lee, the Reid family were the first Democrats he knew well and it was dealing with them that showed him the importance of being able to defend his political views in discussion with those who held other views. 
After graduating from Timpview High School ( Provo, Utah) in 1989, Lee attended Brigham Young University as an undergraduate student, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1994. He served as the president of BYUSA, a prominent student service organization,[ citation needed] and as student body president, during the 1993–1994 school year,  serving together with his father, Rex E. Lee, who was president of BYU at the time. Lee received his Juris Doctor from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1997. 
After graduation from law school in 1997, Lee served as a law clerk to Judge Dee Benson of the United States District Court for the District of Utah. The following year, he clerked for then-Judge Samuel Alito, who was serving at that time on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. After finishing his clerkships, Lee joined the Washington, D.C. office of Sidley Austin, where he specialized in appellate and Supreme Court litigation. Several years later, Lee returned to Utah to serve as an Assistant United States Attorney in Salt Lake City, preparing briefs and arguing cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He served as general counsel to Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. from January 2005 until June 2006, when he returned to Washington to serve a one-year clerkship at the U.S. Supreme Court with Justice Alito.  Lee returned to Utah (and to private practice) in the summer of 2007, joining the Salt Lake office of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm of Howrey LLP. Lee focused on courtroom advocacy and constitutional law.[ citation needed]
As an attorney, Lee also represented Class A low-level radioactive waste facility provider EnergySolutions Inc. in a highly publicized dispute between the company and the Utah public and public officials that caused controversy during his Senate election. Utah's government had allowed the company to store radioactive waste in the state so long as it was low-grade "Class A" material. When the company arranged to store waste from Italy, many objected to the waste being foreign and that it could potentially be more radioactive than permitted. Lee argued that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution allowed the company to accept foreign waste and that the waste could be reduced in grade by mixing it with lower grade materials, while the government of Utah sought to ban the importation of foreign waste using an interstate radioactive waste compact. EnergySolutions eventually abandoned its plans to store Italian radioactive waste in Utah, ending the dispute, with the 10th U.S. Circuit court later ruling that the compact had the power to block foreign radioactive waste from being stored in Utah.  
Senator Mike Lee is a conservative Republican. The New York Times used the NOMINATE system to arrange Republican senators by ideology and ranked Senator Lee as the most conservative member of the Senate.  GovTrack's 2017 analysis places Senator Lee to the right of the spectrum, to the right of most Republicans, but still to the left of a handful of Republican senators.  Five ThirtyEight, which tracks Congressional votes, has found that Senator Lee votes with President Trump's positions on legislation 81.3% of the time as of July 2018. 
In 2017, Mike Lee voted for S.J.Res.34, a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services" from taking effect. 
In September 2018, Lee was among six Republican senators, Jeff Flake, Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, David Perdue, and Ben Sasse, as well as Bernie Sanders, that voted against a $854 billion spending bill, meant to avoid another government shutdown. Said bill included funding for the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education. 
In 2011, Mike Lee voted to limit the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  In 2013, he voted to make it harder for Congress to put a price on carbon through a point of order opposing a carbon tax or a fee on carbon emissions. The measure did not pass.  At a May 2016 event, he stated that it "has long been obvious that the Democratic Party's assertion that the science of climate change is "settled" is little more than a cheap public-relations ploy masquerading as a monopoly on scientific knowledge". 
In 2017, Lee was one of 22 senators to sign a letter  to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Lee has received campaign contributions from oil & gas interests $231,520 and from coal interests $21,895 for a total of $253,415 since 2012. 
Senator Mike Lee was part of the group of 13 Senators drafting the Senate version of the AHCA behind closed doors.  Senator Lee eventually came out against the bill, along with fellow Republican senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, bringing the "no" vote total among Republicans to four.  This effectively stopped any chance of the bill's passage. 
Since his election to the Senate in 2010, Lee has published four books:
- The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government (July 2011, Regnery Publishing)
- Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare: A Conservative Critique of The Supreme Court's Obamacare Ruling (June 2013, Threshold Editions e-book)
- Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document (April 2015, Sentinel)
- Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government (May 2017, Sentinel)
Mike Lee ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. At the Republican State Convention, he received 982 votes (28.75%) on the first ballot, defeating[ clarification needed] Tim Bridgewater (26.84% of votes) and incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Bennett (25.91% of votes). Bridgewater, however, won the second and third ballots to win the party endorsement. Both Bridgewater and Lee received enough support to have their names placed on the primary ballot.[ citation needed]
In the primary election, held on June 22, 2010, Lee became the Republican nominee by winning 51 percent of the vote against Bridgewater's 49 percent. 
In 2011, Club for Growth gave him a 100% score. Only four other U.S. Senators received a perfect score: Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Jim DeMint, and Tom Coburn.  He also received a 100% Conservative voting record for 2011 from the American Conservative Union.  The Heritage Foundation gave him a 99% score, ranking first only with DeMint.  The only wrong vote he made, in the opinion of the Heritage Foundation, was voting for the GSE Bailout Elimination and Taxpayer Protection Act, which would privatize Fannie and Freddie.  He received a Liberal Action score of 38%. 
In February 2011, Lee was one of two Republicans, along with Rand Paul of Kentucky, to vote against extending the three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that deal with roving wiretaps, "lone wolf" terrorism suspects, and the government's ability to seize "any tangible items" in the course of surveillance.  He voted in the same manner in May 2011. 
On December 1, 2011, Lee was one of only seven U.S. Senators, and one of only three Republicans, to vote against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.  He opposed the bill because of concerns over Section 1021, the section of the bill that gives the Armed Forces the power to indefinitely detain any person "who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners", and anyone who commits a "belligerent act" against the U.S. or its coalition allies in aid of such enemy forces, under the law of war, "without trial, until the end of the hostilities authorized by the AUMF".[ citation needed]
In April 2011, Lee joined with Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and fellow Senate Tea Party Caucus member Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) to propose a plan they said would extend the financial viability of the U.S. Social Security retirement payment system.  The three Senators' reform proposal (called the Social Security Solvency and Sustainability Act) was notable because it did not propose any tax increases to ensure solvency.  Instead, it suggested that the $5.4 trillion difference between what was then funded and what had been promised could be eliminated by increasing the retirement age to 70 by the year 2032, and slightly reducing the benefits paid to upper-income recipients. 
In 2013, Lee proposed a bill with the aim "to focus limited Federal resources on the most serious offenders" together with Dick Durbin (D) and Patrick Leahy (D). The bill would reduce some minimum sentences for drug-related offenses by half. 
In November 2018, Lee "called out" Sen. Tom Cotton, stating he was spreading fake news about the proposed First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill. He referred to a tweet from Cotton saying that the legislation “gives early release to 'low level, nonviolent' criminals like those convicted of assaulting police, even with deadly weapons.” Lee retorted: “I highly respect my colleague from Arkansas but everything in his tweet and this thread is 100% fake news”. The "First Step Act does not 'give early release' to anyone. Anyone claiming it does, does not understand how the bill works", he continued. President Trump is a supporter of said legislation, while Cotton has remained an "outspoken critic".  The bipartisan bill, drafted by Chuck Grassley, Lee, and Dick Durbin, passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly, by 360-59 votes.  The bill aims to "improve rehabilitation programs for former prisoners", and to "give judges more wiggle room" when sentencing nonviolent crime offenders, such as those involving drug charges. 
As part of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 2018, Lee co-sponsored a resolution, together with Bernie Sanders and Chris Murphy, "that would end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen's civil war". Interviewed by The Hill, he stated: "regardless of what may have happened with Mr. Khashoggi, we are fighting a war in Yemen that we haven’t declared, that has never been declared or authorized by Congress. That’s not constitutional."  The Senate voted 60-39 to "formally begin debate on the resolution", which would require the President to "withdraw troops in or "affecting" Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda." 
In April 2018, Lee was one of eight Republican senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and acting Secretary of State John Sullivan expressing "deep concern" over a report by the United Nations exposing "North Korean sanctions evasion involving Russia and China" and asserting that the findings "demonstrate an elaborate and alarming military-venture between rogue, tyrannical states to avoid United States and international sanctions and inflict terror and death upon thousands of innocent people" while calling it "imperative that the United States provides a swift and appropriate response to the continued use of chemical weapons used by President Assad and his forces, and works to address the shortcomings in sanctions enforcement." 
Lee was criticized by Republican Sen. John McCain and others for being overly vocal in his criticism of other Republicans and for obstructing a deal to end the United States federal government shutdown of 2013.  
in 2016, Lee used a procedural hold to block a vote on federal assistance for the Flint, Michigan water crisis.  He was initially part of a group of senators blocking $220 million in aid to repair lead contaminated pipes but, due to public pressure on others, Lee eventually became the last opposing senator.  While initially anonymous, multiple sources leaked Lee's opposition to the media. 
In February 2019, Lee was one of sixteen senators to vote against legislation preventing a partial government shutdown and containing 1.375 billion for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border that included 55 miles of fencing.  In that same month, he joined with Senator Kamala Harris to remove the per-country cap on employment-based green cards and raise the cap on family-based green cards from 7 to 15 percent. 
In March 2019, Lee was one of twelve Republican senators to vote to block President Trump's national emergency declaration that would have granted him access to $3.6 billion in military construction funding to build border barriers. 
In January 2018, Lee was one of thirty-six Republican senators to sign a letter to President Trump requesting he preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement by modernizing it for the economy of the 21st Century. 
In November 2018, Lee was one of twelve Republican senators to sign a letter to President Trump requesting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement be submitted to Congress by the end of the month to allow a vote on it before the end of the year as they were concerned "passage of the USMCA as negotiated will become significantly more difficult" if having to be approved through the incoming 116th United States Congress. 
On October 16, 2017, Lee endorsed Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama special election runoff, to fill the seat of U.S. Attorney General and former senator Jeff Sessions.  Moore had been removed as the Alabama Supreme Court's chief justice in 2003, for defying a federal order to remove an illegal Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building. He was reelected as chief justice in 2012. In May 2016, Moore was once again removed from the bench by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC), permanently via suspension for the rest of his term, making him ineligible for reelection,  for ordering state probate judges to ignore a U.S. Supreme Court decision.  In a 50-page opinion by the Court of the Judiciary, it denied Moore's appeal of the JIC's decision, and said Moore's removal was necessary "...to preserve the integrity, independence, impartiality of Alabama's judiciary."  Nevertheless, Lee praised Moore for his "reputation of integrity" and said that he was essential to getting conservative legislation through the Senate. "That is why I am proudly endorsing Judge Roy Moore. Alabamians have the chance to send a proven, conservative fighter to the United States Senate,"  On November 9, 2017, Moore was accused of molesting a 14-year old and other girls under the age of 18 when he was 32 years old.  On November 10, Lee asked the Moore campaign to stop employing Lee's endorsement of Moore in its fundraising ads.  Lee's spokesperson said of the sexual misconduct allegations, "If these allegations are true, Judge Moore should resign."  Later that day, Lee rescinded his endorsement of Moore. 
- Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts
- Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights (Chairman)
- Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Communications Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security
- Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness
Joint Economic Committee (Vice Chairman)
Lee married Sharon Burr in 1993. They live in Alpine, Utah and have three children,  John David, James Rex, and Eliza Rose Lee.  Lee is a second cousin to former Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall of Colorado and current Democratic U.S. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, as well as former Republican senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon. 
Lee has served on the BYU alumni board, the BYU Law School alumni board, and as a long-time member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. Lee earned the Eagle Scout award from Boy Scouts of America in 1989 and was selected to receive the National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout Award (NOESA) in 2011. 
|State Republican Convention results, 2010   |
|Candidate||First ballot||Pct.||Second ballot||Pct.||Third ballot||Pct.|
|Independent American||Stoney Fonua||27,340||2.45%||N/A|
- Lee-Hamblin family
- List of politicians affiliated with the Tea Party movement
- Utah Transfer of Public Lands Act
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-  Archived May 31, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
-  Archived August 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
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- Sonmez, Felicia (February 5, 2011). "Senate passes short-term extension of Patriot Act provisions". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
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- Senate Race: 1st Round Results Accessed May 10, 2010
- Senate Race: 2nd Round Results Accessed May 10, 2010
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- "Utah Election Official Results" (PDF). Utah Secretary of State. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mike Lee.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Mike Lee (American politician)|
- Senator Mike Lee official government website
- Mike Lee for Senate official campaign website
- Mike Lee at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Party political offices|
Republican nominee for
U.S. Senator from
( Class 3)
| Chairman of the Senate Republican Steering Committee
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Utah
Served alongside: Orrin Hatch, Mitt Romney
Baby of the Senate
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
United States Senators by seniority