|Chair of the House Republican Conference|
January 3, 2019
|Cathy McMorris Rodgers|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Wyoming's at-large district
January 3, 2017
Elizabeth Lynne Cheney
July 28, 1966
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
Philip Perry (m. 1993)
|Relatives||Mary Cheney (sister)|
|Education||Colorado College (BA)|
University of Chicago (JD)
Elizabeth Lynne Cheney (; born July 28, 1966) is an American attorney and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Wyoming's at-large congressional district since 2017. Cheney is the House Republican Conference Chair, the third-highest position in GOP House leadership. She is the third woman elected to that position after Deborah Pryce and Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Cheney is the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney. She held several positions in the U.S. State Department during the George W. Bush administration. She has been politically active on behalf of the Republican Party and is a co-founder of Keep America Safe, a nonprofit organization concerned with national security issues. She was a candidate for the 2014 election to the United States Senate in Wyoming, challenging the three-term incumbent Mike Enzi, before withdrawing from the race. In the House of Representatives, she holds the seat that was held by her father from 1979 to 1989.
Cheney was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the elder of two daughters of former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Second Lady Lynne Cheney (née Vincent). At the time of her birth, her parents were studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her younger sister, Mary Cheney, was also born in Madison. Cheney attended part of sixth and seventh grade in Casper, Wyoming, while her father campaigned for Congress. The family split time between Casper and Washington, D.C., in the 1970s through the 1980s following her father's election to Congress. Cheney graduated from McLean High School (1984), where she was a cheerleader. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) from Colorado College, her mother's alma mater, where she wrote her senior thesis, "The Evolution of Presidential War Powers" (1988). She received her J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School (1996), having also taken courses in Middle Eastern history at the Oriental Institute.
Cheney's relationship with her younger sister Mary Cheney publicly suffered after Liz stated in her 2014 Senate campaign that she does not support same-sex marriage. In response, Mary Cheney denounced her sister's remarks, writing in a Facebook post that "[e]ither [y]ou think all families should be treated equally or you don't. Liz's position is to treat my family as second class citizens." Her wife Heather Poe wrote a Facebook post stating, "Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 -- she didn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least." Mary said she would not support her sister's candidacy, and in 2015, when asked if she and her sister had mended their relationship, Mary Cheney said, "I don't have to answer that."
Before attending law school, Cheney worked for the State Department for five years and the U.S. Agency for International Development between 1989 and 1993. After 1993, she took a job at Armitage Associates LLP, the consulting firm founded by Richard Armitage, then a former Defense Department official and Iran-Contra operative who later served as Deputy Secretary of State.
After graduating from law school, Cheney practiced law in the private sector (at the law firm of White & Case) and as an international law attorney and consultant at the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. She has also served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State for Assistance to the former Soviet Union, and as a USAID officer in U.S. embassies in Budapest and Warsaw.
In 2002, Cheney was appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, a pre-existing vacant post with an "economic portfolio", which is a mandate to promote investment in the region. Amid reports, including a New York Times editorial by Paul Krugman, saying that the job was created especially for her, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that she had come recommended by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.The Sunday Times (London) reported that Cheney's appointment was "the most intriguing sign that America is getting serious about Middle East reform" and that the appointment was "a measure of the seriousness with which the administration was taking Middle East programmes for literacy, education, and reform." The appointment followed publicized policy divisions between the Vice President's office and the State Department on Middle East policy. In that position, she was given control of the Middle East Partnership Initiative, designed to "foster increased democracy and economic progress in a troubled region." The program spent $29 million in 2002, increased to $129 million in the following year. Cheney's task was to channel money to pre-screened groups, some of which were not identified publicly for fear of retaliations from extant governments they sought to undermine. For the budget year 2004, the project sought $145 million.
After two years of service, Cheney left her first State Department post in 2003 to serve in her father's 2004 re-election campaign. She participated in the campaign's "W Stands for Women" initiative to target female voters.
On February 14, 2005, she returned to the U.S. State Department and was appointed the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State For Near Eastern Affairs and Coordinator for Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives. In this position, Cheney supported the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, C. David Welch, and coordinated U.S. multilateral efforts to promote and support democracy, expanded education and economic opportunities in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Cheney oversaw the launch of two semi-independent foundations, the Fund of the Future (worth $100 million), to provide capital for small businesses and the Foundation of the Future (worth $55 million), to promote freedom of the press and democracy. In that capacity, Cheney endorsed a draft of a new Iraqi constitution.
In April 2006, The New York Times published a story critical of Cheney's work, particularly with respect to Iran. Of particular scrutiny was a grants program administered by Elizabeth Cheney's unit, in collaboration with a Republican-affiliated foundation, the International Republican Institute. The Times maintained that when the group became controversial, with critics saying that it was plotting covert actions that could escalate into war with Iran and Syria, the group was disbanded, by May 2006. Shortly before the ISOG group was dissolved, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice initiated a major effort to engage Iran and Syria in efforts to stabilize Iraq. As late as April 11, 2009, Iranian officials investigating "cyber-crimes" cited Cheney's efforts in the daily newspaper Iran, specifically the "Democracy Program" [sic] initiative as parallel to a Netherlands-funded push for a "velvet revolution" accomplished by a media campaign to polarize the country, "despite the 1981 Algiers Accords signed between the U.S. and Iran in the aftermath of the U.S. embassy takeover in Tehran."
Cheney signed on in June 2007 to serve as one of three national co-chairs for Fred Thompson's 2008 presidential campaign. The other co-chairs were Spencer Abraham and George Allen. In a press release issued at the beginning of his campaign, Thompson said he was "very pleased to announce that former Senators Abraham and Allen, as well as Liz Cheney, will serve as co-chairs of my national leadership team." Thompson added: "These distinguished individuals bring wise counsel and invaluable experience to my campaign leadership team, and they will play a critical role in helping spread my consistent conservative message across America." After Thompson dropped out of the race, Cheney announced on January 27, 2008 that she would work for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, serving as a senior foreign policy advisor.
In October 2009, Liz Cheney, William Kristol, and Deborah Burlingame launched, as board members, a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization called Keep America Safe. The group's stated purpose is to "provide information for concerned Americans about critical national security issues". The organization drew strong criticism from conservative lawyers, many of whom had worked for the Bush administration, after its campaign against "The Al Qaeda 7", seven Justice Department lawyers in the Obama administration that previously had worked as defense lawyers for Guantanamo detainees. Shortly after, all public information about the organization disappeared from the Internet.
In January 2012, Cheney was hired as a contributor for Fox News. She guest-hosted Fox News' programs, such as Hannity and Fox News Sunday. Her contract was terminated by the network in July 2013 after she announced her intention to mount a 2014 bid for the Senate in Wyoming.
On July 16, 2013, Cheney announced that she would run for the Senate in 2014 from the state of Wyoming as a Republican, challenging the incumbent Republican senator Mike Enzi. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said it would back Enzi, as was policy. Cheney was expected to receive strong fundraising, but faced concerns about the fact she moved to Wyoming in fall 2012. In the video announcing her candidacy, she noted that the Cheney family first came to Wyoming in 1852. Her father served Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1989.
In her first campaign appearance in Cheyenne after announcing her challenge to Enzi, Cheney said, "We have to not be afraid of being called obstructionists. Obstructing President Obama's policies and his agenda isn't actually obstruction; it's patriotism." Cheney claimed that Obama had "literally declared war" on the First and Second amendments to the United States Constitution as well as the interests of Wyoming ranchers and energy workers who faced regulations from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Cheney's campaign was marred by criticism from her championing of hawkish foreign policy positions to a public spat with her sister Mary over her vocal opposition to same-sex marriage. Enzi's continuing popularity made it difficult for Cheney to make inroads with Wyoming Republican voters. On January 6, 2014, Cheney announced she had withdrawn from the race, citing family health issues.
After incumbent Cynthia Lummis announced her retirement in the Fall of 2015, Cheney announced she was considering running for her seat in 2016. It is the same seat her father occupied for ten years. On February 1, 2016, Cheney announced her candidacy for Wyoming's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and was widely considered the frontrunner for the seat. Oil tycoon Simon Kukes contributed to her campaign. She was elected with over 60% of the vote in the general election.
In the November 6 general election, Cheney was re-elected as Wyoming's sole member of the House of Representatives. She won 127,951 votes, defeating Democrat Greg Hunter (59,898 votes), Libertarian Richard Brubaker (6,918) and Constitutional Party candidate Daniel Clyde Cummings (6,069). Cheney won 21 of 23 counties, losing Albany and Teton Counties to Greg Hunter. On November 14, Cheney was elected by the Republican membership as the Chair of the House Republican Conference for the 116th Congress. In this post, she is the third-ranking Republican in the chamber, behind Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise. She is also the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress.
In May 2019, Cheney said that Peter Strzok and another FBI agent who sent personal text messages where they disparaged various politicians (including Donald Trump) sounded as if they were planning a "coup" and may be guilty of "treason".
On March 7, 2019, Cheney joined 22 Republican representatives in opposing HR183 which condemned "anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance" and "anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry." Critics of the bill cites their concern with it being too broad, as it was initially meant to chastise comments made by Ilhan Omar, and her name and comments were removed from the bill.
In June 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared the holding centers for illegal immigrants at the Mexico-United States border to "concentration camps". Cheney strongly criticized her words, saying they showed "disrespect" for Holocaust victims.
Speaking as Chairwoman at a House Republican Conference in August 2019, Cheney stated that the successful litigation (Crow Tribe et al v. Zinke) by Native tribes and environmentalists to return the grizzly bear in Greater Yellowstone to the Endangered Species Act "was not based on science or facts" but motivated by plaintiffs "intent on destroying our Western way of life." Her statements drew comments from indigenous tribal nations and environmentalists. Tribal nations hold the grizzly to be sacred and they and environmentalists have voiced concerns about trophy hunts, livestock and logging interests, and the gas, coal, and oil extraction industries.
Cheney condemned the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria, which was made possible by President Trump's decision to withdraw US military forces that served as a buffer between Turkey and the Kurdish areas in Syria, stating that "The U.S. is abandoning our ally the Kurds, who fought ISIS (Islamic State) on the ground and helped protect the U.S. homeland. This decision aids America's adversaries, Russia, Iran, and Turkey, and paves the way for a resurgence of ISIS." Cheney partly blamed the Democratic Party and the impeachment inquiry into Trump for Turkey's actions, saying "It was not an accident that the Turks chose this moment to roll across the border." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Cheney's claim as "delusional."
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district
|Party political offices|
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
| Chair of the House Republican Conference
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority