|Chair of the House Science Committee|
January 3, 2013 - January 3, 2019
|Eddie Bernice Johnson|
|Chair of the House Judiciary Committee|
January 3, 2011 - January 3, 2013
|Chair of the House Ethics Committee|
January 3, 1999 - January 3, 2001
|James V. Hansen|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 21st district
January 3, 1987 - January 3, 2019
|Member of the Bexar County Commission|
from the 3rd district
January 1983 - January 1985
|Member of the Texas House of Representatives|
from the 57th district
December 15, 1981 - November 15, 1982
Lamar Seeligson Smith
November 19, 1947
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jane Shoults (Deceased 1991)|
Elizabeth Schaefer (m. 1992)
|Education||Yale University (BA)|
Southern Methodist University (JD)
Lamar Seeligson Smith (born November 19, 1947) is an American politician of the Republican Party who served in the United States House of Representatives for Texas's 21st congressional district for 16 terms. The district included most of the wealthier sections of San Antonio and Austin, as well as some of the Texas Hill Country. He sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act (PCIP). He also co-sponsored the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.
As the head of the House Science Committee, Smith has been criticized for his position on climate change and for receiving funding from oil and gas companies. He was formerly a contributor to Breitbart News.
Smith attended a private high school, then called Texas Military Institute, now known as TMI -- The Episcopal School of Texas, and graduated in 1965. He then earned a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University (1969) and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University (1975).
In 1969, Smith was hired as a management intern by the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C. He was a business and financial writer for the Christian Science Monitor (1970-1972), was admitted to the Texas bar in 1975, and went into private practice in San Antonio with the firm of Maebius and Duncan, Inc.
In 1978, he was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Bexar County. In 1980, Smith was elected to the Texas House of Representatives representing Bexar County, the 57th District. He served on the Energy Resources Committee and the Fire Ants Select Committee. In 1982, he was elected to the 3rd Precinct of the Bexar County Commissioners Court and served from 1983 to 1986.
In 1986, four-term incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Tom Loeffler of Texas' 21st congressional district decided to retire to run for governor of Texas. Smith led a crowded six-way primary with 31% of the vote and then defeated Van Archer in the run-off election 54%-46%. He won the general election with 61% of the vote.
During this time period, he never won re-election with less than 72% of the vote.
Smith's district was significantly altered in the 2003 Texas redistricting. While he lost most of the Hill Country to the 23rd District, he picked up a significant portion of Austin, including the area around the University of Texas, a traditional bastion of liberalism. Smith won re-election with 62% of the vote, Smith's lowest winning percentage since his initial run in 1986.
In 2006, the Supreme Court of the United States threw out the 23rd District in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry on the grounds that it violated the rights of Latino voters. The 23rd is the largest district in the nation (not counting the at-large districts), stretching across 800 road miles from El Paso to San Antonio. Due to its size, nearly every district in the El Paso-San Antonio corridor had to be redrawn. Smith regained most of the Hill Country, but kept a large portion of his share of Austin, including the area around the University of Texas.
In November 2006 the Texas Legislative Council  found that nearly two-thirds of voters in District 21 cast ballots for statewide Republican candidates in 2004. In the November 2006 open election, Smith faced six candidates. He defeated Democrats John Courage and Gene Kelly 60%-24%-9%. This was Smith's lowest winning percentage of his career.
He faced two candidates, Democratic nominee Lainey Melnick and Libertarian nominee James Arthur Strohm, and won with 69% of the vote.
Smith faced five challengers in the 2012 general election on November 6, 2012: Candace Duval (Dem), John-Henry Liberty (Lib), Fidel Castillo (Grn), Bill Stout (Grn), and Carlos Pena (Ind). He won the race with 63% of the vote.
Smith won re-nomination to fifteenth House term in the Republican primary held on March 4, 2014. He received 40,262 votes (60.4 percent). His runner-up was Matt McCall (born c. 1963) of San Antonio, with 22,596 votes (33.9 percent). Michael J. Smith polled the remaining 3,772 votes (5.7 percent).
Smith won re-nomination to a sixteenth term in the House in the Republican primary held on March 1. He received 69,872 votes (60.1 percent). Running against him once more was Matt McCall, who drew 33,597 votes (28.9 percent). McCall polled 11,000 more votes than he did in 2014, but his percent went down because of higher turnout. Two other candidates held the remaining 11 percent of the ballots cast.
Smith faced the Democrat Tom Wakely (born c. 1953) of San Antonio in the November 8 general election. Smith (Republican) won with 57.0%; Tom Wakely (Democratic) got 36.5%; Mark Loewe (Libertarian) got 4.1%; and Antonio Diaz (Green) got 2.4%.
Smith has consistently supported restrictions on abortion. In 2009, Smith voted to prohibit federally funded abortions. In 2006, Smith voted for the Abortion Pain Bill, which would "ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child", and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would "prohibit taking minors across State lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions". In 2008, the National Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion-rights advocacy group, gave Representative Smith a rating of 100 on a point system in which points were assigned for actions in support of legislation they described as pro-life.
On April 23, 2006 CNET reported that Smith was introducing a bill that "would expand the DMCA's restrictions on software that can bypass copy protections and grant federal police more wiretapping and enforcement powers". The move sparked a negative response among technology enthusiasts in opposition to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Smith is a strong opponent of marijuana legalization; as chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, Lamar blocked committee consideration of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, a bill to repeal the federal prohibition on marijuana and allow the states to set laws on cultivation, sales, use, and taxation. Smith stated that "marijuana use and distribution ... has a high potential for abuse" and that "decriminalizing marijuana will only lead to millions more Americans becoming addicted to drugs and greater profits for drug cartels who fund violence along the U.S.-Mexico border."
In 2011 Smith had received $37,250 in campaign contributions from the Beer, Wine and Liquor Lobby,[clarification needed] and $65,800 total between 2009 and 2011. He received more than $133,000 from the Content Industry, including Industry groups and individual companies through mid-2011. Another $60,000 was donated by these companies in the 2012 Election Cycle. Maplight.org listed the Beer, Wine, and Liquor Lobby as third among Smith's top ten campaign contributors, and Content Industry as #1.
In 2011 Smith co-sponsored the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, a bill that made significant changes to the U.S. patent system. The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011. The law will switch U.S. rights to a patent from the present first-to-invent system to a first inventor-to-file system for patent applications filed on or after March 16, 2013.
On November 20, 2013, Smith introduced the Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act (H.R. 3547; 113th Congress), a bill that would extend until December 31, 2014, the current limitation on liability of commercial space launch companies. Under the current system, the space launch company is liable for any damages up to $500 million, after which the U.S. Government will pay the damages in the range of $500 million to $2.7 billion. Above $2.7 billion, the company is again responsible.
On July 8, 2014, Smith introduced the STEM Education Act of 2014 (H.R. 5031; 113th Congress), a bill that would add computer science to the definition of STEM fields used by the United States federal government in determining grants and education funding. Smith said that "we have to capture and hold the desire of our nation's youth to study science and engineering so they will want to pursue these careers. A health and viable STEM workforce, literate in all STEM subjects including computer science, is critical to American industries. We must work to ensure that students continue to go into these fields so that their ideas can lead to a more innovative and prosperous America."
On October 26, 2011, Smith introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261), also known as SOPA. The bill sought to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. SOPA faced significant opposition from internet freedom advocacy groups and web companies, and on January 15, 2012, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor cancelled a planned vote on the bill.
On May 25, 2011, Smith introduced the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, which sought to change sentencing rules and mandated that ISPs keep logs of customer data (such as name, IP addresses, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers) for at least a year. Representative Zoe Lofgren, (D-Calif.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) criticized PCIP. Lofgren said a better name would be "Keep Every Americans' Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act". Conyers said the bill would allow use of the information for purposes entirely unrelated to fighting child pornography.
Smith has unequivocally stated that he believes the climate is changing, and that humans play a role in climate change. However, he questions the extent of the impact, and accuses scientists of promoting a personal agenda unsupported by evidence. Smith has made a number of false and misleading claims about climate change.
As of 2015, Smith has received more than $600,000 from the fossil fuel industry during his career in Congress. In 2014, Smith got more money from fossil fuels than he did from any other industry. Smith publicly denies global warming. Under his leadership, the House Science committee has held hearings that feature the views of climate change deniers, subpoenaed the records and communications of scientists who published papers that Smith disapproved of, and attempted to cut NASA's earth sciences budget. He has been criticized for conducting "witch hunts" against climate scientists. In his capacity as chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Smith issued more subpoenas in his first three years than the committee had for its entire 54-year history. In a June 2016 response letter to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Mr. Smith cited the work of the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s as valid legal precedent for his investigation.
On December 1, 2016, as chair on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, he tweeted out on behalf of that committee a Breitbart article denying climate change.
In February 2018, Smith criticized the World Health Organization's (WHO) cancer research program for its finding that glyphosate, the active component in the herbicide Roundup, is probably carcinogen.
Smith supported President Donald Trump's 2017 Executive Order 13769 to ban citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, saying "I appreciate President Trump's effort to protect innocent Americans from those who might commit terrorist acts. We ought to take every reasonable step possible to protect the American people. Those from terrorist sponsoring countries should not be admitted until they can be properly vetted by our national security agencies."
Smith served as chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology for the 113th Congress, having replaced Ralph Hall. Smith has previously served on the Committee on Homeland Security, Committee on the Judiciary (Chairman), the Republican Study Committee, the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus and the Tea Party Caucus.
On January 30, 2015, Law360 reported that Smith has sent letters to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and to the chief technology officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, asking for an explanation of media claims of HealthCare.gov sharing private data supplied by subscribers with third-parties such as Google, Twitter, and YouTube.
Smith is a Christian Scientist. In 1992, he married Elizabeth Lynn Schaefer, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher, as was his first wife, Jane Shoults, before her death in 1991. They have two children, Nell Seeligson (born 1976) and Tobin Wells (born 1979), from his previous marriage.
|1986||Lamar Smith||Republican||100,346||61%||Pete Snelson||Democratic||63,779||39%||James Robinson||Libertarian||1,432||1%|
|1988||Lamar Smith||Republican||203,989||93%||James Robinson||Libertarian||14,801||7%|
|1990||Lamar Smith||Republican||144,570||75%||Kirby Roberts||Democratic||48,585||25%|
|1992||Lamar Smith||Republican||190,979||72%||James Gaddy||Democratic||62,827||24%||William Grisham||Libertarian||10,847||4%|
|1994||Lamar Smith||Republican||165,595||90%||Kerry Lowry||Independent||18,480||10%|
|1996||Lamar Smith||Republican||205,830||76%||Gordon Wharton||Democratic||60,338||22%||Randy Rutenbeck||Natural Law||3,139||1%|
|1998||Lamar Smith||Republican||165,047||91%||Jeffrey Blunt||Libertarian||15,561||9%|
|2000||Lamar Smith||Republican||251,049||76%||Jim Green||Democratic||73,326||22%||C.W. Steinbrecher||Libertarian||6,503||2%|
|2002||Lamar Smith||Republican||161,836||73%||John Courage||Democratic||56,206||25%||D.G. Roberts||Libertarian||4,051||2%|
|2004||Lamar Smith||Republican||209,774||61%||Rhett Smith||Democratic||121,129||36%||Jason Pratt||Libertarian||10,216||3%|
|2006||Lamar Smith||Republican||122,486||60%||John Courage||Democratic||49,957||25%||Gene Kelly||Democratic||18,355||9%||Tommy Calvert||Independent||5,280||3%|||
|2008||Lamar Smith||Republican||243,471||80%||James Strohm||Libertarian||60,879||20%|
|2010||Lamar Smith||Republican||162,924||69%||Lainey Melnick||Democratic||65,927||28%||James Strohm||Libertarian||7,694||3%|
|2012||Lamar Smith||Republican||187,015||61%||Candace Duval||Democratic||109,326||35%||John-Henry Liberty||Libertarian||12,524||4%|
|2014||Lamar Smith||Republican||135,660||72%||Antonio Diaz||Green||27,831||15%||Ryan Shields||Libertarian||25,505||13%|
|2016||Lamar Smith||Republican||202,967||57%||Tom Wakely||Democratic||129,765||36%||Mark Loewe||Libertarian||14,735||4%||Antonio Diaz||Green||8,564||2%|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 21st congressional district
James V. Hansen
| Chair of the House Ethics Committee
| Chair of the House Judiciary Committee
| Chair of the House Science Committee
Eddie Bernice Johnson