Sean Patrick Maloney
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New York's 18th district
January 3, 2013
|Nan Hayworth (Redistricting)|
|White House Staff Secretary|
|Born||July 30, 1966|
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
Randy Florke (m. 2014)
University of Virginia (BA, JD)
Sean Patrick Maloney (born July 30, 1966) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New York's 18th congressional district since 2013. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He was a candidate for New York Attorney General in the 2018 election, losing to Letitia James in the Democratic primary.
Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, and raised in Hanover, New Hampshire, Maloney earned his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia. He entered politics as a volunteer for Bill Clinton's presidential campaigns, and later served as his senior West Wing adviser and White House Staff Secretary.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Maloney worked as an executive at a software company and as an attorney. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Nan Hayworth. He campaigned for the election as a moderate and is a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He is the first openly gay person elected to Congress from New York.
Maloney was born on July 30, 1966, in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, to parents with U.S. citizenship. Maloney's father's work as a lumberjack had temporarily brought them to Canada. Maloney grew up in Hanover, a town in western New Hampshire on the Vermont border. Maloney was raised with his six siblings in what he describes as a "small Irish Catholic family".
After attending Georgetown University for two years, Maloney transferred to the University of Virginia where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in international relations in 1988. After earning his undergraduate degree, Maloney spent a year volunteering with Jesuit priests in the slums of Chimbote, Peru. Afterwards Maloney returned to the U.S. and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1992.
From 2000 to 2003, Maloney served as Chief Operating Officer of Kiodex, Inc. Maloney was a senior attorney at the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, during which time he represented the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Maloney became a partner in the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2009. In March 2011 he joined the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe as a partner.
In 1991, Maloney began working on Bill Clinton's first campaign for president as Deputy to Susan Thomases, the chief scheduler, and in Clinton's re-election campaign Maloney worked as Director of Surrogate Travel. After the successful campaign Maloney was offered a position in the White House staff and served as a senior advisor and White House Staff Secretary from 1999 through 2000, among the youngest to serve in that capacity. At a campaign event Clinton stated that Maloney worked closely with him.
Following the killing of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, Maloney was one of two representatives Clinton sent to his funeral. In an article about the event, a newspaper noted that Maloney often referred to himself as "the highest ranking openly homosexual man on the White House staff."
Maloney ran for the Democratic nomination for New York Attorney General in 2006. According to Gay City News, Maloney's "competitive fundraising and wide travels across the state during the past year have impressed many party professionals with the seriousness of his run." During the campaign, Maloney was endorsed by the Empire State Pride Agenda, a New-York-state-based gay rights organization; and Karen Burstein, the first lesbian to run for Attorney General in 1994.
Consistently polling in the single digits, Maloney was offered a chance to run for the office on the Liberal Party ticket, but declined, saying he would support whoever won the Democratic nomination. Maloney came in third in the September 12, 2006, election, obtaining 9.4% of the vote against Andrew Cuomo, former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and son of former Governor Mario Cuomo; and Mark J. Green, former New York City Public Advocate. In his concession speech, Maloney said "this day may not be the outcome we hope, but I make you a promise that there will be another day."
The Eliot Spitzer political surveillance controversy (popularly known as "Troopergate") broke out on July 23, 2007, when New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office admonished Spitzer's administration for ordering the State Police to create special records of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno's whereabouts when he traveled with police escorts in New York City. A New York Times editorial suggested that Maloney might have been involved by withholding emails during the investigation, and the Times endorsed Maloney's 2012 election opponent because of its concerns about Maloney's handling of the investigation.The Wall Street Journal wrote in July 2012, "generally, those involved in the investigation on both sides defend Mr. Maloney's conduct. Mr. Cuomo's chief of staff at the time, Steve Cohen, called the idea that Mr. Maloney got in the way of the Attorney General's inquiry 'misinformed to the point of being laughable.'"
Maloney continued in the same role as a top adviser to Governor David Paterson's administration under his top adviser, Charles O'Byrne. While working for Paterson, Maloney worked on Paterson's effort to increase state aid to education. On December 3, 2008, Maloney announced that he would leave Governor Paterson's office to join the law firm Kirkland & Ellis.
In March 2012, Maloney announced his intention to run for New York's newly drawn 18th congressional district. The district had previously been the 19th district, represented by freshman Republican Nan Hayworth. Maloney won the Democratic primary on June 26 with 48% of the vote, winning against four other challengers. In addition to the Democratic Party line, Maloney also ran on the Working Families Party ticket with New York's fusion voting.
Maloney drew criticism for the fact that he bought a house in Cold Spring before the election, never having previously lived in the district. On June 11, former President Bill Clinton announced his endorsement of Maloney, saying "I support Sean because I know he'll be an outstanding member of Congress." On October 21, The New York Times endorsed Maloney, stating that his opponent "has favored limiting contraception coverage for employees and voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Mr. Maloney promises to support health care reform, help the middle class and oppose tax cuts for the rich. We recommend Mr. Maloney." Maloney also was endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the AFL-CIO and New York State United Teachers Union.
In the general election Maloney campaigned as a moderate and defeated Hayworth 52%-48%. During his victory speech, Maloney said, "I think people want change in Washington. They're tired of the fighting and the bickering." Maloney is New York's first openly gay member of Congress.
Maloney ran for reelection, defeating Nan Hayworth. Maloney was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program, designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents heading into the 2014 election. Maloney lost the Independence Party primary to Hayworth, but ultimately defeated her in the general election by under 3,000 votes, with Maloney receiving 84,415 votes (47.58%) to Hayworth's 81,625 (46.01%).
Maloney ran for reelection in 2016. Fellow Democrat Diana Hird announced her intention to challenge him in the primary election on June 28, 2016, but failed to obtain the necessary number of signatures and file a petition to get on the ballot in time. Maloney heartily defeated Republican Phil Oliva, with Maloney receiving 162,060 votes (55.6%) to Oliva's 129,369 (44.4%).
In June 2018, Maloney became the Democratic nominee for reelection to the House. He was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of New York but failed to win the primary. He had stated that, had he won the primary, he would have run for Attorney General and relinquished the nomination for the House.
In the Democratic Primary for Attorney General, Maloney lost to Letitia James, New York City Public Advocate, who was endorsed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and came in third behind Zephyr Teachout, a law professor who was endorsed by US Senator Bernie Sanders and by The New York Times. He was endorsed by Beto O'Rourke, among other public figures.
Remaining on the ballot for the House election, Maloney went on to defeat Republican James O'Donnell, an Orange County Legislator, with 139,564 votes (55.5%) compared to O'Donnell's 112,035 votes (44.5%).
On January 3, 2013, Maloney was sworn into the 113th United States Congress. On his second day in office, Maloney spoke on the House floor, criticizing a delay in federal Hurricane Sandy aid, and urging House Speaker John Boehner and his colleagues to pass an aid package.
In his first 100 days in office, he held a grand opening event of his district office in Newburgh, New York. Maloney was the first elected official to open an office in Newburgh in at least three decades.
After joining the "No Labels Problem Solvers" caucus, Maloney supported the "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013". Leading up to the 2013 government shutdown, Maloney faced criticism for voting with Republicans to pass a budget which included provisions delaying the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. His vote drew the ire of LGBT groups, some accusing him of being a "Democrat In Name Only" ("DINO"). He has been an outspoken critic of sequestration and the harmful effects it would have on the United States Military Academy at West Point, and sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, asking for flexibility in his district. During the shutdown Maloney requested that his pay be withheld in solidarity with federal workers.
In April of his first year in office, Maloney introduced the Creating Reliability for Our Producers Act, the Dam Safety Act, and the Disabled Veterans Red Tape Reduction Act. In October 2013, the House passed Maloney's Disabled Veterans Red Tape Reduction Act with near unanimous support. Maloney's bill would allow disabled veterans to have their medical examinations performed by physicians outside the Veterans Affairs system.
In June 2013, Maloney voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The purpose of the bill is to ban abortions that would take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.
In July 2013, Maloney voted to reject the Farm Bill. The comprehensive farm bill failed in the House due largely in part to the votes of 8 Democratic House members who joined the Republican majority to vote down the measure.
On banking issues, Maloney voted in 2014 to repeal the section of Dodd-Frank which would prevent bank bailouts by the public. He voted in favor of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act in 2018; this bill was nicknamed the "Bank Lobbyist Act" by Elizabeth Warren. Maloney called one opponent's characterization of the latter vote "unhinged," which earned him a rebuke for making remarks which could be considered sexist.
An issue arising in his election to Congress was whether the candidates would vote to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); while Hayworth was considered more progressive on gay rights than most Republicans, she did not explicitly say whether she would vote to repeal, stating her belief that the New York law allowing same-sex marriage made it a settled issue, for which Maloney criticized her. Following the Supreme Court's ruling which struck down provisions of DOMA, Maloney remarked at a press conference he was "no longer seen as less-than in the eyes of my country," having previously faced discrimination in the House, with his partner not eligible for benefits as most heterosexual members' partners would be.
On April 10, 2014, Maloney introduced the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (H.R. 4449; 113th Congress), a bill that would require regular training and briefings for some federal government personnel to raise awareness of human trafficking and help employees spot cases of it. The bill passed in the House on July 23, 2014.
In July 2014, the FAA began an investigation into whether unmanned aircraft used for Maloney's wedding violated the agency's ban on drone flights. A spokesman for Maloney, who is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee which oversees the FAA, acknowledged that drones were hired.
Maloney has positioned himself as an opponent of President Donald Trump and his agenda, having voted in support of that agenda 23.3% of the time as of December 2019. When that number was initially higher, he referred to that statistic as a "bullshit metric."
Maloney serves on the following committees:
Maloney has been with his husband Randy Florke since 1992, when they met in New York City where Maloney was helping plan the Democratic National Convention. Together they have three adopted children. Florke is an interior decorator who has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine. Maloney and his family live in the Putnam County community of Cold Spring, New York. On January 14, 2014, Maloney announced that he and Florke had become engaged on Christmas Day 2013. On June 21, 2014, he and Florke were married in Cold Spring, New York. Maloney became the second member of Congress to legally marry his same-sex partner while in office, the first being former Congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), in 2012.
| White House Staff Secretary
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 18th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority