70 Facts About Tom Coburn


Thomas Allen Coburn was an American politician and physician who served as a United States senator for Oklahoma from 2005, until his resignation in 2015.


Tom Coburn was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1994 as part of the Republican Revolution.


Tom Coburn upheld his campaign pledge to serve no more than three consecutive terms and did not run for re-election in 2000.


Tom Coburn was re-elected to a second term in 2010 and kept his pledge not to seek a third term in 2016.


In January 2014, Tom Coburn announced he would resign before the expiration of his final term due to a recurrence of prostate cancer.


Tom Coburn submitted a letter of resignation to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, effective at the end of the 113th Congress.


Tom Coburn was a fiscal and social conservative, known for his opposition to deficit spending and pork barrel projects, and for his opposition to abortion.


Tom Coburn served as a senior advisor to Citizens for Self-Governance, where he was active in calling for a convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution.


Tom Coburn was born in Casper, Wyoming, the son of Anita Joy and Orin Wesley Tom Coburn.


One of the top ten seniors in the School of Business, Tom Coburn served as president of the College of Business Student Council.


From 1970 to 1978, Tom Coburn served as a manufacturing manager at the Ophthalmic Division of Tom Coburn Optical Industries in Colonial Heights, Virginia.


Tom Coburn performed the sterilization on the woman during an emergency surgery to treat a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, removing her healthy intact fallopian tube as well as the one damaged by the surgery.


The woman sued Tom Coburn, alleging that he did not have consent to sterilize her, while Tom Coburn claimed he had her oral consent.


The state attorney general claimed that Tom Coburn committed Medicaid fraud by not reporting the sterilization when he filed a claim for the emergency surgery.


Tom Coburn says since he did not file a claim for the sterilization, no fraud was committed.


In 1994, Tom Coburn ran for the House of Representatives in Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district, which was based in Muskogee and included 22 counties in northeastern Oklahoma.


Tom Coburn was one of the most conservative members of the House.


Tom Coburn supported "reducing the size of the federal budget," wanted to make abortion illegal and supported the proposed television V-chip legislation.


Tom Coburn endorsed conservative activist and former diplomat Alan Keyes in the 2000 Republican presidential primaries.


Tom Coburn retired from Congress in 2001, fulfilling his pledge to serve no more than three terms in the House.


Tom Coburn wrote a law intended to prevent the spread of AIDS to infants.


Tom Coburn later wrote in Breach of Trust that he considered this one of the biggest mistakes in his life and that, while he still felt the material was unsuitable for a 7 pm television broadcast, he handled the situation poorly.


Tom Coburn won the state's two largest counties, Tulsa and Oklahoma, by a combined 86,000 votes, more than half of his overall margin of 166,000 votes cast.


Tom Coburn used the Senate hold privilege to prevent several bills from coming to the Senate floor.


Tom Coburn earned a reputation for his use of this procedural mechanism.


In November 2009 Tom Coburn drew attention for placing a hold on a veterans benefits bill known as the Veterans' Caregiver and Omnibus Health Benefits Act.


Tom Coburn placed a hold on a bill intended to help end hostilities in Uganda by the Lord's Resistance Army.


On May 23,2007, Tom Coburn blocked two bills honoring the 100th birthday of Rachel Carson.


Tom Coburn opposed parts of the legislation creating the Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Area, which would add protections to wildlands in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.


Tom Coburn exercised a hold on the legislation in both March and November 2008, and decried the required $10 million for surveying and mapping as wasteful.


Tom Coburn initially blocked passage of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which would help to disarm the Lord's Resistance Army, a political group accused of human rights abuses.


On March 9,2010, Tom Coburn lifted his hold on the LRA bill freeing it to move to the Senate floor after reaching a compromise regarding the funding of the bill, and an eleven-day protest outside of his office.


Tom Coburn was affiliated with a religious organization called The Family.


Tom Coburn previously lived in one of the Family's Washington, DC dormitories with then-Senator John Ensign, another Family member and longtime resident of the C Street Center who admitted he had an extramarital affair with a staffer in 2009.


Tom Coburn refused to speak about his involvement in Ensign's affair or his knowledge of the affair well before it became public, asserting legal privilege due to his separate statuses as a licensed physician in the State of Oklahoma and a deacon.


The report stated that Tom Coburn knew about Ensign's extramarital affair and was involved in trying to negotiate a financial settlement to cover it up.


Tom Coburn was involved in the Bush Administration's struggle with Congress over whistleblower rights.


However, that version failed to reach a vote by the Senate, as Tom Coburn placed a hold on the bill; effectively preventing the passage of the bill, which had bipartisan support in the Senate.


On May 26,2011 Tom Coburn released his 73-page report, "National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope", receiving immediate attention from such media outlets as The New York Times, Fox News and MSNBC.


Tom Coburn was one of three senators who voted against the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.


On February 3,2012, Tom Coburn released the following statement regarding the Act:.


Tom Coburn opposed abortion, with the exception of abortions necessary to save the life of the mother.


Tom Coburn then began his questioning by discussing the various legal terms mentioned during the previous day's hearings.


The best-known of Tom Coburn's amendments was an amendment to the fiscal 2006 appropriations bill that funds transportation projects.


Tom Coburn's actions did result in getting the funds made into a more politically feasible block grant to the State of Alaska, which could use the funds for the bridge or other projects.


In July 2007, Tom Coburn criticized pork-barrel spending that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson had inserted into the 2007 defense spending bill.


Tom Coburn said that the earmarks would benefit Nelson's son Patrick's employer with millions in federal dollars and that the situation violated terms of the Transparency Act, which was passed by the Senate but had not yet been voted on in the House.


At that time, newspapers in Nebraska and Oklahoma noted that Tom Coburn failed to criticize very similar earmarks that had benefited Oklahoma.


In 1997, Tom Coburn introduced a bill called the HIV Prevention Act of 1997, which would have amended the Social Security Act.


In 2010, Tom Coburn called for a freeze on defense spending.


In 2011 Tom Coburn broke with Americans for Tax Reform with an ethanol amendment that gathered 70 votes in the Senate.


In 2012, Tom Coburn identified less than $7 billion a year in possible defense savings and over half of these savings were to be through the elimination of military personnel involved in supply, transportation, and communications services.


In May 2013, after tornadoes ripped through his state, Tom Coburn said that any new funding allocated for disaster relief needed to be offset by cuts to other federal spending.


Tom Coburn was a fierce critic of the plan to attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act by shutting down the federal government, saying that the strategy was "doomed to fail" and that Ted Cruz and others who supported the plan had a "short-term goal with lousy tactics".


Tom Coburn placed a hold on final Senate consideration of a measure passed by the House in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings to improve state performance in checking the federal watch list of gun buyers.


However, after the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012, Tom Coburn reversed himself and came out in support of universal background checks.


Tom Coburn partnered with Democratic members of the Senate such as Charles Schumer and Joe Manchin to determine what a universal background check measure should look like.


However, these talks ultimately broke down, and in April 2013, Tom Coburn was one of 46 senators to vote against the amendment in its final form, defeating its passage.


Tom Coburn voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.


Tom Coburn took the position that no presidential nomination should ever be filibustered, in light of the wording of the US Constitution.


In May 2009, Tom Coburn was the only Senator to vote against the confirmation of Gil Kerlikowske as the Director of the National Drug Control Policy.


On December 15,2014, Tom Coburn stalled the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act aimed at stemming veteran suicides.


Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said that despite his reputation as a budget hawk, Tom Coburn should have recognized that the $22 million cost of the bill is worth the lives it would have saved.


Tom Coburn was affiliated with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, consulting on the institute's Project FDA, an effort to promote faster drug approval processes.


Tom Coburn sat on the board of the Benjamin Rush Institute, a conservative association of medical students across 20 medical schools.


In 2013, Tom Coburn received the US Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by the Jefferson Awards.


The Gators defeated the Sooners and Tom Coburn sang Elton John's "Rocket Man" to Nelson, who had once flown into space.


In November 2013, Tom Coburn made public that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.


The results caused Tom Coburn to resign from the senate in 2014.


Tom Coburn died at his home in Tulsa on March 28,2020, two weeks after his 72nd birthday.