Mark Souder

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Mark Souder
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana
In office
January 3, 1995 – May 21, 2010
Preceded byJill Long Thompson
Succeeded byMarlin Stutzman
Personal details
Mark Edward Souder

(1950-07-18)July 18, 1950
Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.
DiedSeptember 26, 2022(2022-09-26) (aged 72)
Political partyRepublican
SpouseDiane Zimmer

Mark Edward Souder (July 18, 1950 – September 26, 2022) was an American politician and businessman from Indiana. A Republican, he was a U.S. Representative from 1995 to 2010.[1]

During the 1980s and early 1990s, he worked as a congressional aide and committee staff director to Dan Coats. He was elected to his congressional seat in 1994, and remained in office until he resigned in May 2010, after admitting to an affair with a female staff member.[2][3]

Early life and career

Souder was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the son of Irma (née Fahling) and Edward G. Souder, on July 18, 1950.[4][5][6] He grew up in Grabill, Indiana, and was educated at Leo Junior/Senior High School, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne and the University of Notre Dame.[7] While in college, he was a member of the Young Americans for Freedom.[8] After graduating from college, Souder worked as a marketing manager and small business owner. He was a member of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.[9]

From 1974 to 1976, Souder served as marketing manager for Gabbort's Furniture. From 1976, he was the owner of Souder's General Store, also known as Historic Souder's of Grabill.[10] Souder served as an aide for United States Representative Dan Coats from 1983 to 1984; as minority staff director of the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families from 1985 to 1988; and again as an aide for Coats from 1988 to 1993, staying with Coats when the latter became a United States Senator in 1989.[4] He was a staff director on the United States House Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families.[11]

Congressional career

Souder early in his congressional career

Souder was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Republican in November 1994, defeating Coats' successor in Congress, Democrat Jill Long, in that year's national Republican landslide. He was re-elected in every election thereafter until his resignation in 2010. It was the only elected office he ever held. He originally ran on a signed pledge with America that he would not serve more than two additional terms.[12] He was regarded as a staunch advocate of abstinence education and family values.[13][14]

Souder was the Ranking Member on the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism. He was also a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee. Along with U.S. Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), he was co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional National Parks Caucus. He was also co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Drug Policy.[15] Until the start of the 110th Congress, Souder was chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources.[16]

In November 1997, Souder was one of eighteen Republicans in the House to co-sponsor a resolution by Bob Barr that sought to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Bill Clinton.[17][18] The resolution did not specify any charges or allegations.[18] This was an early effort to impeach Clinton, predating the eruption of the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal. The eruption of that scandal would ultimately lead to a more serious effort to impeach Clinton in 1998.[19] On October 8, 1998, Souder voted in favor of legislation that was passed to open an impeachment inquiry.[20] On December 19, 1998, Souder voted in favor of one (and against three) of the four proposed articles of impeachment against Clinton (only two of which received the majority of votes needed to be adopted). The only article of impeachment that Souder voted in favor of adopting was the third article, which charged Clinton with obstruction of justice.[21][22][23][24][25]

In March 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which represented the most comprehensive anti-methamphetamine legislation ever passed by Congress. Souder authored much of this law, which targets meth trafficking at local and state, national, and international levels.[26]

In December 2006, Bush signed into law the ONDCP Reauthorization Act, which Souder had authored and introduced. The law reauthorizes the office of "the Drug Czar" for five years.[27]

Committee assignments


On May 18, 2010, Souder announced he would resign from Congress effective Friday, May 21, after admitting to an affair with Tracy Meadows Jackson, a married female staffer.[32][33][34][35][36][37] He and Jackson had made a television video in which they both extolled the virtues of abstinence.[38][39] In a written statement released that morning, Souder said:

It is with great regret I announce that I am resigning from the U.S. House of Representatives as well as resigning as the Republican nominee for Congress in this fall's election. ... I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part time member of my staff. I am so shamed to have hurt those I love.[35]

Souder deviated from his written statement when reading it aloud to the Fort Wayne press later in the morning to explain why, unlike many legislators admitting adultery, he did not have his wife of 30 years at his side:

I'm sick of politicians who drag their spouses up in front of the cameras rather than confronting the problem they caused.[40]

Political positions and actions

Souder said that an actual voting record in Congress is more valuable than claimed positions on issues. His 1994 issues profile is available in the project archives. The American Conservative Union gave him a lifetime rating of 90%.[41]

Influence of religion

In 2004, Souder said in an interview that "the closer to the clearness of the Bible, the less ability I should have to compromise. So I view, on abortion, there's really not much room to compromise." He said, regarding Israel, "[T]he bottom line is, they're God's chosen people. He's going to stand with them. The question is: Are we going to stand with them?"[42] Souder applied for non-combatant status during the Vietnam War on religious grounds. His draft number was never called.[43]

Illegal drugs

Souder supported the War on Drugs. He authored and advocated for the 1998 Aid Elimination Penalty (HEAEP), an amendment to the Higher Education Act. The provision suspends eligibility for federal financial aid to college students convicted of drug-related offenses, regardless of when those drug convictions occurred.[44][45] By 2006, the law had interfered with the financial aid of more than 9,000 Indiana students (one in every 200 applicants from that state). In almost all cases, the suspensions of eligibility for aid were based on applicants checking a box saying that they had a drug conviction, or failing to check the box saying that they do not, rather than an actual check of criminal records. Following an amendment in 2006, only students who are enrolled in college and receiving financial aid at the time of their conviction could have their aid suspended. Students could resume eligibility after a period of time (for example, after one year if convicted of possession of a controlled substance) or if they complete a drug rehabilitation program approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Before the 2006–2007 academic year, the provision could also apply to high school students, but this changed with the passage of the Deficit Reduction Act in 2001.[44] A 2013 research report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found the law had no impact on drug usage among young people, and that it acts as a strong deterrent to college attendance, severely limiting the ability of people to better their lives through education.[46]

In early 2006, Souder added to a bill about the office of the drug czar, a provision calling for the fungus Fusarium oxysporum to be used as a biological control agent against drug crops in foreign countries. Several federal and state agencies have previously rejected such use of the fungus because it is highly prone to mutation.[47]

Online poker

Souder advocated a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte–Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.

Kelty endorsement

In October 2007, in the Fort Wayne, Indiana mayoral race, Souder endorsed fellow Republican Matt Kelty. Souder, however, withdrew his official support for Kelty in October 2007 because of Kelty's campaign finance law problems and a birthday cake frosted with a crude joke[48] which was given to Kelty by several Republicans and garnered controversy. Souder said that the joke cake was "immature".[49]

Election history

In his initial campaign for Congress in 1994, Souder pledged his support for term-limit legislation.[50] He served four terms (1995–2003) representing Indiana's 4th congressional district. In 2002, after redistricting based on the 2000 census, Souder was elected to represent Indiana's 3rd congressional district.[51]

In 2004, the 3rd district re-elected Souder 69%–31% against Maria Parra.[52] In the 2006 general election, Souder's Democratic opponent was Fort Wayne City Councilman and military veteran Tom Hayhurst, an MD. Souder won 54% to 46%, carrying all eight counties in his congressional district.[53]

In 2008, Souder was re-elected to an eighth term in the U.S. House. Souder defeated Democrat Mike Montagano and Libertarian William Larsen.[54]

2008 General election, Indiana's District 3
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mark Souder (incumbent) 155,693 55%
Democratic Mike Montagano 112,309 40%
Libertarian William Larsen 14,877 5%
Turnout 282,879 61%
Republican hold Swing

Souder's resignation prompted the 2010 Indiana's 3rd congressional district special election, which coincided with that year's regular elections. Souder was succeeded by Republican Marlin Stutzman.[55][56]

Later life

After his resignation, Souder and his wife, Diane, returned to their home in rural Allen County, Indiana.[57] He co-wrote a book about the history of local television in Fort Wayne, which was published in 2021.[58] He also wrote columns for the website Howey Politics Indiana.[59]

Souder was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2022.[60] He died of the disease on September 26, 2022, at age 72.[61]


  • Souder, Mark; Long, Melissa; Herron, Heather (2021). Television in Fort Wayne 1953 to 2018. M.T. Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1949478747.

See also


  1. ^ "House Accepts Souder's Resignation From Seat". WIBC (FM). Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  2. ^ Souder to resign, Goshen News, 2010 May 18 (accessed 2010 May 18).
  3. ^ Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro (May 18, 2010). "Republican Rep Souder admits affair, resigns".
  4. ^ a b "SOUDER, Mark Edward – Biographical Information". Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  5. ^ "Souders Failed to Pay Taxes on Time: Congressional Candidate Blames "Wrong Address"". News-Sentinel. October 15, 1994. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  6. ^ "souder". Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  7. ^ "Mark Souder, 'ultraconservative' congressman felled by affair, dies at 72". The Washington Post. Associated Press. September 29, 2022. Retrieved February 17, 2024.
  8. ^ "31 Aug 2004, A13 – The Atlanta Constitution at". August 31, 2004. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  9. ^ "2 Oct 2009, Page 15 – The Catholic Advance at". October 2, 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  10. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  11. ^ "6 Oct 1987, 5 – The Times at". October 6, 1987. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  12. ^ "PERRspectives: Republican Terms Unlimited". Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  13. ^ Rep Mark Souder Will Resign, May 18, 2010, Washington Post.
  14. ^ Indiana GOP Congressman to resign amid affair with staffer Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, May 18, 2010, ABC News.
  15. ^ David Epstein (January 14, 2008). "David Epstein: Notes on Tuesday's Congressional hearing – Sports Illustrated". Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  16. ^ "26 Aug 2006, 25 – The News and Observer at". August 26, 2006. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  17. ^ Pace, David (November 6, 1997). "17 in House seek probe to impeach president". The Record. The Associated Press. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  18. ^ a b Hutcheson, Ron (November 17, 1997). "Some House Republicans can't wait for elections". Asheville Citizen-Times. Knight-Rider Newspapers.
  19. ^ Barkham, Patrick (November 18, 1998). "Clinton impeachment timeline". The Guardian. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  20. ^ "Roll Call 498 Roll Call 498, Bill Number: H. Res. 581, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. October 8, 1998. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  21. ^ "Roll Call 546 Roll Call 546, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. December 19, 1998. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  22. ^ "Roll Call 545 Roll Call 545, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. December 19, 1998. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  23. ^ "Roll Call 544 Roll Call 544, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. December 19, 1998. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  24. ^ Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154; p:225-7000, DC 20515-6601 (December 19, 1998). "Roll Call 543 Roll Call 543, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved March 6, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ "H.Res.611 – 105th Congress (1997–1998): Impeaching William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors". United States Congress. February 12, 1999. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  26. ^ "The meth epidemic". PBS. February 14, 2006.
  27. ^ "Recent Rep. Souder votes outlined". January 10, 2008.
  28. ^ "15 Feb 2003, 6 – The Courier-Journal at". February 15, 2003. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  29. ^ "10 Dec 1994, 5 – Journal and Courier at". December 10, 1994. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  30. ^ "8 Jul 2008, 14 – Journal and Courier at". July 8, 2008. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  31. ^ "15 Mar 2005, 8 – The Evening Sun at". March 15, 2005. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  32. ^ Indiana Rep. Souder says he'll resign over affair May 18, 2010, Associated Press.
  33. ^ RAW DATA: Prepared Remarks by Indiana Rep. Mark Souder May 18, 2010 Fox News
  34. ^ Pergram, Chad and Steve Brown. (May 18, 2010). "Rep. Mark Souder to resign amid affair with staffer". Fox News. Archived from the original on May 24, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  35. ^ a b Cilizza, Chris; Burke, Aaron (May 18, 2010). "Mark Souder to resign after affair". The Washington Post.
  36. ^ Smith, Sylvia A. (May 18, 2010). "Citing 'relationship' with staffer, Souder to resign". Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
  37. ^ "Republican Rep Mark Souder to step down over affair with female staffer", May 18, 2010, New York Daily News.
  38. ^ Video on YouTube
  39. ^ "Who is Tracy Jackson? -". Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  40. ^ Smith, Sylvia. "Souder to resign; cites 'relationship' with staffer", May 18, 2010. Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette.
  41. ^ Souder's responses to the 1994 Congressional National Political Awareness Test Archived October 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Project VoteSmart, accessed October 29, 2006
  42. ^ "Interview: Congressman Mark Souder", Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, April 23, 2004
  43. ^ "28 Nov 1994, 2". The Indianapolis News. November 28, 1994. Retrieved September 27, 2022 – via
  44. ^ a b Just Check No?: A lie college students might want to tell, Slate, April 13, 2006
  45. ^ Congressman Souder's Position Archived April 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ Lovenheim, Michael F; Owens, Emily G (2013). Does Federal Financial Aid Affect College Enrollment? Evidence from Drug Offenders and the Higher Education Act of 1998 (Report). National Bureau of Economic Research. doi:10.3386/w18749. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  47. ^ Call for biowar on drugs, New Scientist 190(2549). April 29, 2006. (subscription required)
  48. ^ Lanka, Benjamin (October 9, 2007). "Kelty contrite after 'wicked' poke with cake". The Journal Gazette. Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  49. ^ Congressman Souder Disses Matt Kelty, October 11, 2007, Fort Wayne Left
  50. ^ Andrea Stone, "Term-limit pledges get left behind", USAToday, April 12, 2006
  51. ^ "6 Nov 2002, 61 – The Courier-Journal at". November 6, 2002. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  52. ^ "The Indianapolis Star 03 Nov 2004, page Page 12". November 3, 2004. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  53. ^ "8 Nov 2006, Page A9 – The Indianapolis Star at". Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  54. ^ "5 Nov 2008, 4 – The Times-Mail at". November 5, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  55. ^ "Our Campaigns – IN – District 03 – Special Election Race – Nov 02, 2010".
  56. ^ Hansen, Karen (December 2010). "Red Tide: A GOP wave washed over state legislatures on Election Day". National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved September 30, 2022.
  57. ^ Rowley, Dirk (September 26, 2022). "Former Congressman Mark Souder dies at 72". WANE-TV. Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  58. ^ Morrissey, Michael (November 27, 2020). "New Book documents 65 years of Fort Wayne television". Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  59. ^ Howey, Brian (October 3, 2022). "Brian Howey: Mark Souder's conservative legacy". Howey Politics Indiana. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  60. ^ "Former congressman Souder updates cancer fight". WPTA21. January 22, 2022. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  61. ^ "Former congressman Souder passes following cancer diagnosis". WPTA. September 26, 2022. Retrieved September 26, 2022.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by