Charles 'Chuck' Ernest Grassley

Contact Information

Telephone:202-224-3744 (Main phone number)
Campaign finance

Candidate Background

Birth place:New Hartford, IA
Residence:New Hartford, IA
First Elected:1980


Next Election:2016

Undergraduate education: University of Northern Iowa


Graduate education: University of Northern Iowa


Chuck Grassley was born and resides in New Hartford, Iowa. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Northern Iowa.

Grassley worked as a farmer and served in the Iowa House from 1958 to 1974. He was elected to the U.S. House in 1974 and was twice re-elected.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980.

Grassley and his wife, Barbara, have five children.


Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, has been among the Senate's more visible members since the election of President Barack Obama.

He has criticized the approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package and caused a stir in March 2009 when he encouraged some executives of the troubled American International Group to commit suicide. He also criticized the Justice Department's planned easing of enforcement of medical marijuana prosecutions.

In 2012, he has led the call for more information about the Justice Department's botched gun-smuggling operation into Mexico, a program called Fast and Furious.

Also in 2012, Grassley joined with Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions in criticizing federal judges for holding a conference in Hawaii, saying the cost to taxpayers was excessive and struck the wrong tone in a time of government budget cuts.

He has a reputation as an official who will fight for his Iowa constituency and work doggedly against wasting tax dollars. This has contributed to his three consecutive House victories and five Senate victories.

Grassley was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980 as a deeply conservative and religious man with firm family roots. His untarnished string of wins in political races began in 1958 when, at age 25, he was elected to the Iowa House.

Grassley's drawl and easy-going manner made him popular in rural sections of Iowa. He said his 1980 victory demonstrated that voters were fed up with deficit spending, inflation and high taxes.

"I think it tells us another thing," he said. "It tells us there's an awful lot of liberal senators still in office that aren't going to be as liberal any more."

He distanced himself in the Senate from President Ronald Reagan's farm policies, which were unpopular in Iowa, helping him win re-election. He appeals to Iowa voters by visiting each of the state's 99 counties at least once a year.

Grassley tends as a senator to vote his conservative conscience, but he has also been known to break from his Republican colleagues, usually with regard to defense issues, on which he has a decidedly dovish record.

Grassley was one of two Republican senators who voted against the 1991 Gulf War resolution. He voted in 2002, however, to give President George W. Bush the power to go to war with Iraq.

Grassley has focused on wasteful spending, earning a reputation as a spendthrift and consistently asking officials why and where money is being spent. He has received attention for his questioning of the tax-exempt status of televangelists and whether it ran counter to the lavish lifestyles of some of those ministers.

He was critical of management at the Smithsonian Institution and asked questions that ultimately led to the resignation of Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small.

Grassley was part of a series of negotiations seeking reforms for the nation's health care system. But he returned to Iowa in summer 2009 to hear vocal and noisy opposition from conservatives, and he quickly changed his tone and became a solid opponent of reform.

At one point he warned that the proposed health care reform bill could let the government "pull the plug on granny." Grassley's comments and position on health care led to several challengers stepping up to face him in 2010. However he easily defeated Democrat Roxanne Conlin, winning 63 percent of the vote.

Committee Assignments: Finance; Judiciary; Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Joint Taxation; Budget

American Conservative Union Rating: 90

Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 5


Chuck Grassley is not up for re-election in 2014.

(Last updated by The Associated Press on June 11, 2014.)

Last updated 3:16pm March 1, 2018