|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New York's 24th district
January 3, 2015
John Michael Katko
November 9, 1962
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
|Education||Niagara University (BA)|
Syracuse University (JD)
John Michael Katko (; born November 9, 1962) is an American attorney and politician. A Republican, he has represented New York's 24th district in the United States House of Representatives since 2015. Prior to running for Congress, Katko was an Assistant United States Attorney who led the organized crime division at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Syracuse; in that role, he helped to prosecute gang members under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. In the 116th Congress, he is a co-chair of the House moderate Republican faction, the Tuesday Group.
After receiving his law degree, Katko entered private practice at a firm in Washington, D.C. Shortly thereafter he became a senior trial attorney in the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He then spent 20 years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. He served as a senior trial attorney on the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After leaving the DoJ, he moved to Camillus, New York, and spent 15 years working as a federal organized crime prosecutor in Syracuse for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of New York. In this role, he later explained, he "led high-level narcotics prosecutions and was instrumental in formulating the Syracuse Gang Violence Task Force and successfully prosecuting the first-ever RICO gang case in the City of Syracuse, which led to a significant drop in the city's violent crime rate." He "also prosecuted political and police corruption cases." He retired from the Department of Justice in January 2013.
Katko challenged incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei in the United States House of Representatives elections, 2014 and was declared the winner on November 4, 2014, by 20 percentage points. This was the largest margin of defeat suffered by an incumbent in the 2014 election cycle.
Katko ran for re-election in 2016. He ran unopposed in the Republican primary. He faced Democrat Colleen Deacon, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's former district director for Central New York, in the November 2016 general election. Katko was re-elected with 61% of the vote.
In May 2018, the New York Times reported that the Democratic primary contest had attracted interest around the country. On June 26, 2018, Dana Balter, with 63% of the vote, defeated Juanita Perez Williams, with 37%, in the Democratic primary. Katko defeated Balter with 53.1% of the vote in the November general election.
In 2016, eight Katko-sponsored bills passed the House; one of those bills became law. Katko had more bills pass the House that year than any other member of the 61-member freshman class elected in 2014.
In 2018, Katko was ranked as the seventh most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 115th United States Congress. However, during the presidency of Donald Trump, Katko has voted in support of Trump's position more than 90% of the time.
Katko has received over $11,000 from the NRA during his two terms in Congress.
Katko opposes abortion. In 2014, he said he would reverse the Roe v. Wade 1973 Supreme Court decision if he could. He has voted multiple times to defund Planned Parenthood. Katko said that he favored funding for Planned Parenthood prior to the Planned Parenthood 2015 undercover videos controversy, where anti-abortion activists claimed that the videos showed Planned Parenthood illegally selling fetal tissue; a charge found to be false. Earlier, during his 2014 campaign, Katko said he would not defund the organization. At the time of the vote, he said he could not support additional funding of the organization while an investigation into its practices was ongoing.
In February 2018, Katko supported the Bipartisan Budget Act, saying that it would bring in $1.4 million to Oswego Health in his district.
In 2019, Katko had voted with seven other Republicans to pass a resolution condemning the Trump administration's efforts by Department of Justice to have the courts invalidate the Affordable Care Act.
In 2016, with Democratic congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Katko cosponsored the Working Parents Flexibility Act (H.R. 4699). This legislation would establish a tax-free "parental savings account" in which employers and parents could invest savings tax-free, with unused funds eligible to be "rolled into qualifying retirement, college savings or ABLE accounts for people with disabilities without tax penalties."
After the shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, Katko and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) introduced the Securing Our Children Act of 2018, which would create a commission tasked with developing policy relating to school safety and security.
In August 2014, it was reported that in April 2000, a handgun was stolen from Katko's Chevy pickup truck and then used in a holdup and shootout in which two men were killed. Investigators determined that seven rounds were missing from the stolen weapon, though none of the bullets killed the men. Katko had been issued the gun after receiving a threat against his life. Katko violated no state or federal laws, but a review the case showed that "he likely violated federal policies for the safe handling and storage of government-issued weapons".