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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jerry Weller
Jerry Weller portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2009
Preceded byGeorge Sangmeister
Succeeded byDebbie Halvorson
Member of the
Illinois House of Representatives
from the 75th district
85th district (1987, 1989-1993)
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byRay A. Christensen
Succeeded byStephen Spangler
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1989
Preceded byRay A. Christensen
Succeeded byRay A. Christensen
Personal details
Born (1957-07-07) July 7, 1957 (age 63)
Streator, Illinois
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Zury Ríos
ResidenceMorris, Illinois
Alma materUniversity of Illinois
OccupationPolitical assistant

Gerald Cameron 'Jerry' Weller (born July 7, 1957 in Streator, Illinois) is an American politician who was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Illinois's 11th congressional district. As of 2015, Weller is the managing principal of New World Group Public Affairs, a lobbying group with offices in Washington, DC, Florida and Guatemala. He was also a Global Development Officer for an IPTV company called VIPTV.[1]

Early life, education, and early political career

Weller was born in Streator, Illinois, to LaVern and Marilyn Weller,[2] and raised on his family's hog farm in Dwight, Illinois. Weller is a 1979 graduate of the University of Illinois where he received his degree in agriculture. Weller has been married twice.

Weller was a staff member for U.S. Congressman Tom Corcoran from 1980 to 1981, assistant to the director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and an aide to Secretary of Agriculture John R. Block from 1981 to 1985.

In the 1986 general election, Weller challenged incumbent Democratic Representative Ray A. Christensen in the 85th district. In the official result, Weller won by a four vote margin, 14,217 to 14,213. Christensen challenged the result while Weller was sworn in as the State Representative. The Illinois House of Representatives set up a House Committee on Election Contests which heard the two candidates' challenges.[3] In a party line vote, the House voted to unseat Weller and seat Christensen.[4]

In the 1988 election, Weller was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives defeating Democratic candidate and Grundy County Clerk Lana Phillips after Christensen opted to retire.[5][6] Weller was succeeded by Grundy County Board member Stephen Spangler.[7][8]

U.S. House of Representatives


Weller was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 following the retirement of Democrat George Sangmeister. Weller won a crowded Republican primary, and defeated fellow State Representative Frank Giglio in the general election.[9]

In 1995, Weller received an Environmental Protector Award from the Chicago Audubon Society for his political service.[10] After a release of tritium from Exelon's Braidwood and Dresden Nuclear Power Plant Weller sent a letter to Exelon Corp expressing his concern and recommended that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigate the power plants in question.[11]

In 2002, a Federal Election Commission audit found a fund used by Weller for his re-election in 2000 received almost $11,000 that appeared to have violated federal campaign rules on the size and source of donations. Weller's fund returned all of the questioned contributions but did not admit deliberately violating any laws.[12][13]

On October 10, 2002, Weller voted with the 296-133 majority in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq.[14]

Weller served as Deputy Minority Whip.[15] On September 21, 2007, Weller announced that he would not seek another term, citing the need to spend more time with his family.[16]

Weller supported free trade when serving in Congress and traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to build better relationships with public sector and business leaders. He was the number one supporter for the Panama trade agreement with the United States.[17]

Weller made efforts to eliminate the marriage penalty tax. He supported the use of tax incentives to help redevelop brownfield formal industrial land, developing a proposal with Democrats, such as Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, to do so.[12]

Weller championed the creation of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and other redevelopment efforts at the former Joliet arsenal.[12] Redevelopment of the site included the Deer Run Industrial Park, which contains the CenterPoint Intermodal Center, a new intermodal freight transport center.[18]

Weller supported plans for the Illiana Expressway.[19]

Weller voted again to raise the minimum wage in the 110th Congress.[20]

Weller sponsored a bill to expand concurrent receipt for wounded military veterans, but it did not pass.[21]

Weller promised prior to his marriage to Guatemalan Congresswoman Zury Mayté Ríos Sosa de Weller, that he would not vote on any legislation involving solely the U.S. and Guatemala. His advocacy and vote for CAFTA caused controversy however, despite it being a multi-nation agreement.[22] Weller has long supported free-trade agreements. As a FRG party leader, his wife was also a supporter of CAFTA.

Weller accepted money from two convicted associates of former congressman Duke Cunningham. Weller's spokesman said that the donations probably originated from his support of the research and development tax credit[23] and the money was donated to a charity in Oregon.[24] Weller and 11 other congressmen were subpoenaed to testify in the trial of Brent R. Wilkes, the contractor accused of bribing Cunningham.[25] The subpoenas were withdrawn by defense attorneys on October 3, 2007 when it became apparent the trial judge would quash them anyway. Weller and the other 11 did not testify in the trial.[26]

Weller was the only member of the House of Representatives to abstain in the vote for the proposed bailout of U.S. financial system (2008).[27]


Weller was on the following committees at various times:

  • Committee on Ways & Means (-2008)[28]
    • Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support (Ranking Member) (-2008)[28]
    • Subcommittee on Trade[29]
  • Committee On International Relations (-2006)[30]

Personal life

In July 2004, Weller announced that he was engaged to three-term Guatemalan Congresswoman Zury Mayté Ríos Sosa, daughter of former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt.[31] On November 20, 2004, the two married at her father's home in Antigua Guatemala, his second marriage and her fourth. (Zury Ríos has also used the combined parental surname Ríos Sosa; her personal website uses the hybrid married form "Ríos-Montt de Weller".[32])

In August 2006, a daughter, Marizú Catherine, was born in a hospital in Guatemala City.[33][34]

Properties in Nicaragua

On October 25, 2006, the Chicago Reader reported that Weller had disclosed three parcels of land he owned in Nicaragua on his financial disclosure forms: one purchased in 2002, one purchased in April 2004, and one purchased in December 2005. The newspaper also reported that it had obtained notarized bills of sale for three more lots owned by Weller that had never been listed on his forms: a lot sold in February 2005, a lot purchased in March 2005, and lot purchased in April 2005. The failure to properly disclosure property ownership was alleged to be a violation of the Ethics in Government Act and the False Statements Accountability Act of 1996.

Weller's lawyer said that he couldn't comment because of the attorney-client privilege.[35] Weller's campaign manager said Weller "does not own three more parcels in Nicaragua. He does not own six parcels in Nicaragua. He has filed his disclosure for everything that he owns."[36]

On September 7, 2007, the Chicago Tribune disclosed the results of their own investigation into his land deals, including discrepancies on declared prices and numbers of transactions, centered in the Playa Coco resort area. For example, Weller listed only one Nicaraguan property purchase on his 2005 disclosure form, but property records in Nicaragua showed that he bought or sold at least eight pieces of land.[37] No inquiry was ever launched by the Democratically-controlled House,[38] but Weller announced that he would not seek reelection on September 21, 2007.[16]

See also


  1. ^ "Jerry Weller". Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  2. ^ Project Vote Smart. Weller extended biography Archived 2007-12-25 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed October 23, 2006.
  3. ^ Gaudet, Chris. "Statehouse Playhouse: Weller v. Christensen". Illinois Issues. Sangamon State University. 13 (3): 40. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  4. ^ Gaudet, Chris. "Weller or Christensen? The $116,000 answer". Illinois Issues. Sangamon State University. 13 (9): 50. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  5. ^ Johnson, Brett D. "Legislative primaries: Incumbency prevails". Illinois Issues. Sangamon State University. 14 (5): 21. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  6. ^ Klemens, Michael D. (January 1989). "Lawmakers' class of '88: one bona fide surprise". Illinois Issues. Springfield, Illinois: Sangamon State University: 19–21. ISSN 0738-9663. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  7. ^ Wheeler III, Charles N. "'Home field' for GOP: Computer-drawn map has Republicans targeting numerous Illinois House districts in attempt to get closer to gaining control of state's lower chamber". Illinois Issues. Sangamon State University. p. 42.
  8. ^ Wheeler III, Charles N. "Michael Madigan will be the longest-serving speaker". Illinois Issues. Sangamon State University. p. 42.
  9. ^ Scobell, Beverly. "Election Names: Congressional candidates on ballot in March primary". Illinois Issues. 20 (2): 40. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  10. ^ "Previous CAS Award Recipients (1977–2003)". Chicago Audubon Society. Archived from the original on February 26, 2005. Retrieved October 23, 2006.
  11. ^ "Weller Letter to Exelon Corp. on Braidwood, Dresden Nuclear Leaks". February 16, 2006. Archived from the original on March 1, 2006.
  12. ^ a b c "Jerry Weller Biography". Archived from the original on January 3, 2009.
  13. ^ "Weller's campaign fund questioned". The Pantagraph. Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. September 18, 2002.
  14. ^ "H.J.Res. 114 (107th): Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002". October 10, 2002.
  15. ^ "Committee's first meeting results in bi-partisan adoption of oversight letter". Archived from the original on January 31, 2007. Retrieved January 26, 2007.[failed verification]
  16. ^ a b Colindres, Adrianna (September 22, 2007). "Rep. Weller will not seek another term in Congress". The State Journal-Register. Archived from the original on December 24, 2007. Retrieved September 24, 2007.
  17. ^ Schwab, Susan. "Remarks at the signing of the US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement". Archived from the original on August 10, 2007.
  18. ^ "Joliet Arsenal Development Authority". Archived from the original on May 18, 2007.
  19. ^ Ziemba, Stanley (December 14, 2006). "Highway Plan Gets a Boost". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  20. ^ Simon, Richard (2007-01-11). "Minimum pay bill advances". Chicago Tribune Online. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  21. ^ Maze, Rick (2007-01-13). "Bill would expand concurrent receipt". Marine Corps Times Online. Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  22. ^ "Weller marriage still raising ethics questions: Congressman has acted on trade issues, legislation impacting Guatemala". Morris Daily Herald. January 30, 2006.[dead link]
  23. ^ Hearn, Josephine (November 30, 2005). "Co-conspirators' largesse extended to many". The Hill. Archived from the original on June 23, 2006.
  24. ^ Ben Roberts. Blunt will keep tainted donations as others vow to give them away. St Louis Post Dispatch. December 9, 2005
  25. ^ Weller, Hastert challenge Cunningham subpoenas by Jim Tankersley Chicago Tribune September 19, 2007
  26. ^ Hoffman, Allison (October 3, 2007). "12 House members won't be subpoenaed". Modesto Bee. Associated Press.
  27. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 674". United States House of Representatives. September 29, 2008. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  28. ^ a b "Committees". Archived from the original on January 3, 2009.
  29. ^ "Subcommittee on Trade Membership". Archived from the original on January 1, 2009.
  30. ^ "Committees". Archived from the original on December 27, 2006.
  31. ^ Smyth, Frank (August 25, 2006). "Illinois Republican Jerry Weller is one of the most powerful men in Congress when it comes to Latin America. His wife is the most powerful woman in Guatemala's controversial FRG party". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on August 30, 2006.
  32. ^ "Zury Ríos Sosa - Sitio web oficial". Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  33. ^ "El orgulloso abuelo de Marizú Catherine Weller" Archived 2007-12-14 at the Wayback Machine, el Periodico, August 18, 2006
  34. ^ "Weller Family Welcomes New Member". August 17, 2006. Archived from the original on January 3, 2009.
  35. ^ Frank Smyth, "Is Jerry Weller's beach an ethics breach?", Chicago Reader, October 25, 2006
  36. ^ Jo Ann Hustis, "Pavich accuses, Weller camp denies three Nicaraguan land parcels: Claims based on newspaper report Congressman owns undisclosed property"[permanent dead link], Morris Daily Herald, November 1, 2006
  37. ^ Andrew Zajac, Oscar Avila and Jim Tankersley, "Inside Rep. Weller's Nicaragua land deal", Chicago Tribune, September 7, 2007
  38. ^ Felker, Edward (June 17, 2008). "Jerry Weller reports assets, income". The Daily Journal. Kankakee, Illinois.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George E. Sangmeister
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 11th congressional district

January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2009
Succeeded by
Debbie Halvorson
This page was last edited on 31 January 2021, at 20:20
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