Thomas M. Reynolds

Last updated

Thomas M. Reynolds
Thomas Reynolds.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
In office
January 3, 1999 January 3, 2009

1998 election

Reynolds ran for the House in 1998 after Bill Paxon was forced out of his leadership role in the House Republican leadership ranks because of his role in a coup attempt against Newt Gingrich. Paxon endorsed Reynolds, who had managed several of his past campaigns, as his successor. There was controversy because Reynolds did not live in Paxon's district; his Springville home was in the neighboring district of fellow Republican Jack Quinn, who was running for his own reelection. Reynolds would not move into the district until eight months after the election when he purchased a home in Clarence, near Amherst, one of the larger towns in the seven-county district.

Committee assignments

Political positions

Reynolds had a conservative voting record in Congress. His 83 percent rating from the American Conservative Union tied him with Peter T. King of Long Island as the third-most conservative among the state's 29 Representatives as of the 110th Congress. Only Representatives Randy Kuhl (92%) and Vito Fossella (84%) received higher ratings. [5] Reynolds is on record as a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). [6]


In the 2000 round of redistricting, a special master proposed a plan that would have made his district slightly more Democratic. Although Republicans would have still held a plurality, the plan would have left Reynolds vulnerable to a primary with a moderate Republican. According to one political strategist, Reynolds and his allies in Washington wanted a district that would let him vote "like a Southern conservative". With the help of Vice President Dick Cheney, Reynolds pressured the state legislature to gerrymander his district so that it closely resembled his former territory. [7]

He was handily reelected from this reconfigured district in 2002. In 2004, his opponent was millionaire industrialist Jack Davis. Reynolds won by 12 points, an unusually close margin given that he had won with 72% of the vote two years earlier. In 2006 Reynolds again defeated Davis by 4% of the vote amid the Mark Foley page scandal.

Retirement and lobbying career

On March 20, 2008, Reynolds announced he would not run for a sixth term: "it was time to take up new challenges". Aside from fallout from the scandal regarding U.S. Representative Mark Foley (R-FL), another factor was thought to be revelations that a former NRCC treasurer [ who? ] had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the committee treasury while Reynolds chaired it. [8] According to the New York Daily News political reporter Elizabeth Benjamin, the NRCC was never independently audited during Reynolds' three-year tenure as its chairman. [9]

Reynolds was the 29th Republican incumbent to announce he would not run again in 2008. Despite the perception that Reynolds had the district redrawn to protect him, it is actually a somewhat marginal district on paper; it has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+3.[ citation needed ]

In 2017, Reynolds joined Washington, D.C. lobbying firm Holland and Knight as a senior policy advisor. [10]

National Republican Congressional Committee

Reynolds served as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee from 2003 to 2006. During the 2004 House elections the Republicans gained three seats to increase their majority to 232. The 2006 House election saw a Republican loss of 30 seats, losing the majority to the Democrats.

2006 House page scandal

Rodney Alexander (R-Louisiana), the sponsor of a House page (from his district) who received e-mails from Representative Mark Foley, told reporters that he learned of the e-mails from the page's family in November 2005. Alexander said the family did not want the matter pursued. Alexander said he passed information that Foley had appeared overly friendly first to Majority Leader John Boehner, and later to Reynolds, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. [11] Carl Forti, a spokesman for the GOP campaign organization, said Reynolds also was told by Alexander that the parents did not want to pursue the matter and that they did not want a large-scale investigation.[ citation needed ]

Reynolds later issued a statement that he had spoken with House Speaker Dennis Hastert about the matter early in 2006. According to The Washington Post , "Republican insiders said Reynolds spoke out because he was angry that Hastert appeared willing to let him take the blame for the party leadership's silence." [12] Hastert did not "explicitly recall" that conversation but said he did not dispute it. [13]

On October 2, Reynolds held a press conference [14] on the matter, from Buffalo at Daemen College while surrounded by numerous children of his adult supporters. He said he took the Foley matter to his "supervisor" as soon as he found out about it. Reynolds claimed that he had no knowledge of any sexual conversations or e-mails between Foley and the page until after it was disclosed in the media. [15]

Soon after, he made a televised campaign advertisement stating that he had had no knowledge of the depth of Foley's transgressions until afterwards. In December 2006, Reynolds was largely exonerated by the Republican-controlled House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, which probed the Foley case. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported in its December 9 edition that "Rep. Tom Reynolds told the truth when he said he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert about ex-Rep. Mark Foley's questionable e-mails to congressional pages, the House ethics committee has concluded", while the Associated Press reported "the House ethics committee on Friday cleared Rep. Thomas Reynolds and his ex-chief of staff Kirk Fordham of wrongdoing in the congressional page scandal."

On page 76 of its report, the committee reported they had uncovered that "the communications directors for both the House Democratic Caucus and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also had copies of the e-mails in the fall of 2005", months prior to Reynolds' knowledge of the incident. During the 2006 campaign, Republicans charged that Democrats had prior knowledge of Foley's inappropriate e-mails with a House page. Democrats, including DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel, denied the accusation. [16]

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  1. Katz, Celeste (March 19, 2008). "Reynolds Out (Updated)". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on July 21, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  2. "Veterans in the US House of Representatives 109th Congress" (PDF). Navy League. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2007. Retrieved December 9, 2006.
  3. "REYNOLDS HEADS ASSEMBLY MINORITY". June 30, 1995. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  4. Richard Perez-Pena (March 3, 1998). "Republicans in Assembly Select New Leader". The New York Times . Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  5. American Conservative Union ratings of New York state members of Congress Archived July 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ALEC 1995 SB
  7. "Tom Reynolds In the News". February 7, 2005. Archived from the original on February 7, 2005. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  8. Walsh, Deidre (March 20, 2008). "U.S. Rep. Reynolds retires". CNN . Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  9. Benjamin, Elizabeth (February 25, 2008). "NRCC Fraud Scandal Hits Reynolds". New York Daily News . Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  10. "Reynolds, Vastola Take New Lobby Posts in Washington". The Buffalo News . March 15, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  11. "Sixteen-Year-Old Who Worked as Capitol Hill Page Concerned About E-mail Exchange with Congressman". Associated Press. September 29, 2006. Archived from the original on October 21, 2006. Retrieved September 28, 2006.
  12. Weisman, Jonathan; Babington, Charles (October 1, 2006). "GOP Leaders Knew Of Foley's Messages". The Washington Post . Retrieved September 30, 2006.
  13. "Internal Review of Contacts with the Office". Archived from the original on October 19, 2006. Retrieved October 1, 2006.
  14. "YouTube". Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  15. "Reynolds and the Kiddies". Daily News. New York. October 3, 2006. Archived from the original on October 21, 2006. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  16. Weisman, Jonathan (October 11, 2006). "History of Foley Messages' Release Clarified by Players". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
New York State Assembly
Preceded by New York State Assembly
147th District

Succeeded by
Preceded by Minority Leader in the New York State Assembly
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 27th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 26th congressional district

Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Thomas M. Davis
Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee
Succeeded by
Tom Cole
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative