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Jim Nussle

In office
September 10, 2007 – January 20, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Rob Portman
Succeeded by Peter R. Orszag

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Jim Leach
Succeeded by Bruce Braley

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Tom Tauke
Succeeded by Jim Leach

Born June 27, 1960 (1960-06-27) (age 49)
Des Moines, Iowa
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Karen Nussle
Residence Manchester, Iowa
Alma mater Luther College, Drake University
Occupation attorney
Religion Lutheran

James Allen "Jim" Nussle (born June 27, 1960, Des Moines, Iowa) is an American politician and was the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Nussle was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007. He was the Republican nominee for the November 2006 election for Governor of Iowa, and was defeated by Chet Culver.


Early life and career

After high school, Nussle studied in Denmark (his political action committee (PAC) was at one time called "Great Dane PAC" and he is of Danish descent). He then received a B.A. in international studies, political science, and economics from Luther College in 1983, and a J.D. degree from Drake University in Des Moines in 1985. While at Luther he was a member of the Zeta Rho Tau fraternity and was the lead singer in a band called ZPT blues band. Nussle also founded the Luther College Republicans chapter during his time at Luther. Upon graduation from Drake University law school, Nussle took his first step in becoming a public servant when he was elected as the Delaware County, Iowa attorney in Manchester. While in Manchester, Nussle became a volunteer firefighter.

Political career


Congressional career

When the incumbent six-term Republican in what was then the 2nd District, Tom Tauke made an unsuccessful run against Senator Tom Harkin during the 1990 election, Nussle ran as the Republican candidate for Tauke's House seat.

Nussle's first election to the House was the closest election for him during his entire tenure in the House. He and challenger Eric Tabor had been in a virtual dead heat in the time leading up to the election. Just before the election, Tabor became embroiled in a controversy regarding absentee ballots that family members had cast. This controversy caused some votes to not be counted at the end, and also cost Tabor other votes as well. Tabor did not concede the election to Nussle until the day after the election.

In 1992, as a result of redistricting, Nussle ran against fellow House member Dave Nagle. This was because Iowa's House delegation was being reduced from six down to five Representatives. The areas that Nussle and Nagle had represented in Congress were combined for the 1992 election. Nussle won, even though he had only one term under his belt to Nagle's three.

Nussle's first exposure to national attention came when he made a speech from the well of the House while wearing a paper bag over his head to protest the "shameful" ethical behavior involved in the House banking scandal. It remains a trademark reminder of Nussle.

He became Chairman of the House Budget Committee in 2001, the first Iowan to serve as chair of this committee. His position brought national and international interest to his district, including the ONE Campaign, the lobbying group formed by Bono of the rock band U2. The group has targeted Nussle's district with billboard and radio ads. On March 23, 2006 they placed a statement in Nussle's article on Wikipedia, regarding poverty in Africa and Nussle's budget influence, hoping to influence Nussle. (The statement was quickly removed by editors as it violated Wikipedia policies on maintaining a neutral point of view). On March 24, 2006 the Des Moines Register contained a story about this revision in which ONE confirmed that they had placed the statement.

Nussle's voting record was relatively conservative, despite representing a district with a slight Democratic lean. His district has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since 1988. Typical conservative positions Nussle embraced are supporting restrictions on abortion and supporting President Bush's tax cuts. His district was renumbered as the 1st District as a result of the 2000s round of redistricting, and became even more Democratic with the addition of much of Iowa's share of the Quad Cities. However, Nussle was reelected handily in 2002 and 2004.

2006 Gubernatorial bid

When Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack announced that he would not seek a third term as Governor in 2006, a number of people from both parties began exploring running for Governor. That included Nussle, who began considering a run shortly after Vilsack made his announcement. On June 2, 2005; Nussle announced he would run for governor. His only serious primary challenger, Bob Vander Plaats, withdrew from the race to endorse Nussle and become his running mate.

On February 21, 2006, the Iowa Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Nussle for not reporting any in-kind donations from the federal “Nussle for Congress Committee”. On July 12, 2006, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board unanimously voted to close the investigation with a finding of no probable cause to believe that a violation of a statute or rule under the Board's jurisdiction occurred.

On June 6, 2006, Nussle won the Republican primary, but lost the general election to Chet Culver on November 7 by a wide margin. Since the defeat, he first started his own consulting business and then was nominated to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bush.

Three Republicans and four Democrats announced their intentions to seek the House seat Nussle was vacating in January, 2007. The primaries pared the candidates down to Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Mike Whalen. Braley won Nussle's former seat.

OMB Director

Nussle was nominated by George W. Bush to replace Rob Portman as OMB Director, and was sworn in on September 10, 2007.[1] A March 9, 2005 quote of Nussle's was included in the 2006 World Almanac and Book of Facts's list of notable quotes in 2005 (p. 39): "Everyone wants to get to heaven, but no one wants to die." According to the almanac, the quote refers to opposition to his proposed budget, which included cuts to several earmarks and programs; the statement was made during Nussle's tenure as House Budget Committee chairman.

Post-political career

After leaving the Bush Administration in January 2009, Nussle founded The Nussle Group, a multi-disciplined strategic consulting and government relations firm with offices in Alexandria, Virginia and Manchester, Iowa.[2]

Family and personal life

Nussle was married to Leslie Jeanne (Harbison) Nussle and together they had two children: Sarah (b. November 2, 1988) and Mark (b. February 25, 1991). The Nussles divorced in 1996.

In 2001, Nussle married Karen Chiccehitto, who worked on the communications staff for Speaker Newt Gingrich and for the lobbying firm of BKSH, a subsidiary of the international WPP Group. She is currently president and founder of the strategic communications and marketing firm, Ripple Communications, LLC and periodically serves as a communications professor at the University of Dubuque.

Election history

  • 1990: Defeated Eric Tabor 50%-49.8%
  • 1992: Defeated David Nagle 51%-49%
  • 1994: Defeated David Nagle 56%-43%
  • 1996: Defeated Donna Smith 51%-48%
  • 1998: Defeated Rob Tully 55%-44%
  • 2000: Defeated Donna Smith 55%-44%
  • 2002: Defeated Ann Hutchinson 57%-43%
  • 2004: Defeated Bill Gluba 55%-44%
  • 2006: Lost to Chet Culver 44-53%


  1. ^ E. Michael Myers (2007-09-10). "Nussle sworn in as budget chief". Retrieved 2008-10-26.  
  2. ^ Quad-City Times (2009) Former congressman starts consulting firm. Retrieved August 9, 2009.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tom Tauke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Jim Leach
Preceded by
Jim Leach
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Bruce Braley
Political offices
Preceded by
John Kasich
Chairman of the House Budget Committee
Succeeded by
John M. Spratt, Jr.
Preceded by
Rob Portman
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Succeeded by
Peter R. Orszag


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