John Elmer Linder (born September 9, 1942) is an American politician who was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 2011. His district was numbered the 4th from 1993 to 1997, the 11th from 1997 to 2003, and the 7th from 2003 until 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party.

John Linder
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byNew Constituency (Redistricting)
Succeeded byRob Woodall
Constituency4th District (1993-1997)
11th District (1997-2003)
7th District (2003-2011)
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 44th district
In office
January 10, 1983 – January 14, 1991
Preceded byBruce Widener
Succeeded byBart Ladd
In office
January 13, 1975 – January 12, 1981
Preceded byHarry Geisinger
Succeeded byBruce Widener
Personal details
Born (1942-09-09) September 9, 1942 (age 81)
Deer River, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseLynne Linder
ResidenceDuluth, Georgia
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota Duluth (BS, DDS)
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Air Force
Years of service1967–1969

Linder announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of the 111th Congress.[1] In March 2019, he was announced as President Donald Trump's nominee to be the next United States Representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations;[2] Linder was not confirmed and his nomination expired at the end of the Trump administration.

Early life, education, and career


He was born in Deer River, Minnesota, was educated at the University of Minnesota Duluth,[3] served in the United States Air Force, was a dentist and businessman, president of a lending institution, and a member of the Georgia House of Representatives where he served for seven terms.[4]

U.S. House of Representatives


Committees assignments


Party leadership

  • Republican Steering Committee

Linder chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign funding arm of House Republicans, during the 105th Congress. He was defeated for a second term as chairman after a poor showing in the 1998 mid-term elections.[5]

In the 109th and 110th Congresses, Linder took a leadership role in the effort to enact fundamental tax reform. His legislation, the Fair Tax Act, 2005 (H.R. 25) and the Fair Tax Act, 2007 (H.R. 25), was a proposal for changing United States tax laws to replace all federal personal income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, self-employment taxes, gift taxes and inheritance taxes with a national retail sales tax and monthly tax rebate to households of citizens and legal resident aliens.[6]

In 2006, he voted against renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

Fair Tax Act

U.S. Rep John Linder holding the 132-page Fair Tax Act in contrast to the more than 50,000 pages of tax code laws and regulations currently in effect.

Linder is coauthor of The FairTax Book with radio talk show host Neal Boortz, which spent time atop the New York Times bestseller list.[7] The book discusses H.R.25 Archived 2008-09-18 at the Wayback Machine, also known as the Fair Tax Act, which Linder sponsored. They released a follow-up book FairTax: The Truth in 2008.[8]

Linder first introduced the legislation in July 1999 to the 106th United States Congress. He has reintroduced substantially the same bill in each subsequent session of Congress. While the proposed bill has yet to have a major effect on the tax system, the Fair Tax Act has the highest number of cosponsors among tax reform proposals (attracting 76 in the 110th United States Congress),[9] gathering much stronger support than popular flat tax legislation. A number of congressional committees have heard testimony on the FairTax; however, it has not been voted on in either Chamber. The bill is cosponsored by former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, but has not received support from the Democratic leadership.[10] Matching legislation has been introduced into the Senate by Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss.[11]

Interest groups


Linder has worked with interest groups such as Americans for Fair Taxation as well as National Taxpayers Union. Since 1996 [12] Linder has backed the National Right to Life Committee 100 percent of the time. Since 1996 Linder has backed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at least 90 percent of the time except in 2005 where he backed them 75 percent of the time. Throughout his career he has supported groups like National Small Business Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. He also has backed the interests of the NRA throughout his career.[12]

Campaign finance


A former dentist, Linder has received $40,100 from health professionals as well as $57,900 from the health sector as a whole. He also ran his own lending firm so he receives backing from the Insurance and Finance sector amounting to $86,839 as 12/31/2008.[13] He has received $25,401 from the Construction industry and $25,300 from the Energy and Natural Resources industry. Overall in the 2008 cycle he has a total income of $581,976 of which he spent $375,540, and by the end of the cycle he had accumulated no debt at all.[13]

Voting record


Linder opposes abortion and has voted for anti-abortion legislation.[14]

Linder voted against a minimum wage increase in 2007.[14] Linder voted against the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.[15]

He voted in favor of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. He voted in favor of reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act in 2005. He opposed transferring prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[16]

Linder voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the related Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. He voted against the 2008 Medicare bill that was vetoed by George W. Bush. He voted against the re authorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 2007, and voted against the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993.[17]

He voted against reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act in 2006.[14]

In 2006, he co-sponsored a measure to repeal the estate tax.[14]

Linder voted in favor of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Amendment in 1993, and voted against the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. He voted against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007.[18] In 2006, Linder voted in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment (H.J. Res. 88), proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.[19]

Linder voted against legislation to limit the federal government's authority to prosecute medical marijuana users in states where medical marijuana is legal.[20]

Linder voted against the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 and voted against the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), which would have established a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. He voted against measures to shield the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling. He voted against the Water Resources Development Act of 2007. He voted against establishing the Sedona-Red Rock National Scenic Area and expanding the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.[21]

Linder voted against the DREAM Act, which would benefit undocumented youth who were brought to the United States as children. He voted in favor of Secure Fence Act of 2006, legislation to create a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. He voted in favor of the Real ID Act of 2005. In 1996, he voted to designate English as the official national language.[22]

In 1997, Linder voted for an amendment calling for the U.S. to withdraw from the United Nations; the amendment was rejected in a 54–369 vote.[23]



FairTax presentation


Some have criticized Linder, Neal Boortz, and Americans For Fair Taxation for the way they have presented the FairTax plan, a tax reform that replaces all federal income taxes with a single national sales tax on personal consumption above poverty level. The most common critique is the method of presenting the FairTax rate as a 23% sales tax. Under the plan, consumers would pay to the government $23 out of every $100 (referred to as tax inclusive): items priced at $100 would contain $23 of taxes.[7] American sales taxes have historically been expressed as a percentage of the original sale price (referred to as tax exclusive): items produced at $77 pre-tax, cost $100 with the tax added (30% on top of $77).[24] Congressman John Linder has stated that the FairTax would be implemented as an inclusive tax, which would include the tax in the retail price, not added on at checkout—an item on the shelf for five dollars would be five dollars total.[8] The receipt would display the tax as 23 percent of the total.[6] Linder states the FairTax is presented as a 23 percent tax rate for easy comparison to income tax rates (the taxes it would be replacing). Proponents believe it is both inaccurate and misleading to say that an income tax is 23 percent and the FairTax is 30 percent as it implies that the sales tax burden is higher, when in fact the burden of the two taxes is precisely the same. The plan's opponents call the semantics deceptive.[24] FactCheck called the presentation misleading, saying that it hides the real truth of the tax rate.[25]

The FairTax has also been questioned by Social Security groups which believe the economic assumptions of the FairTax are unsound. The basis of the FairTax is that taxes affect economic decisions. The FairTax would remove all payroll taxes. Yet, the impact analysis of Social Security done by the FairTax supporters claims that the FairTax will not change the number of beneficiaries under existing law. Under economic principles normally applied by the Linder and Boortz, removing the cost of participation would increase not only the number of beneficiaries but the size of claims.

Non-disclosed travel


Linder has also been criticized for omitting a trip paid for by a client of lobbyist Jack Abramoff from travel disclosure forms, even though he declared it on his personal income filings. According to John Byrne and Ron Brynaert of The Raw Story, "Linder should have filed a travel form shortly after his trip and could have corrected it when he belatedly filed for other trips last year. Failing to properly report sponsored travel is a violation of House rules."[26]

Political campaigns

Linder at a meeting of the House Committee on Rules in 1995

Linder was first elected to Congress from the newly created 4th District in 1992, defeating state senator Cathey Steinberg by 2,600 votes. He would never face another general election contest anywhere near that close. His district was renumbered as the 11th District in 1997 after Georgia's previous congressional map was thrown out as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

Georgia gained two seats after the 2000 census, but the Georgia state legislature produced a map intended to produce a congressional delegation of seven Democrats and six Republicans. Linder and fellow Republican Bob Barr were drawn into a heavily Republican district that, while retaining Barr's district number (the 7th), contained more of the territory Linder had represented for a decade. Linder handily defeated Barr in the 2002 Republican primary, all but assuring him of a sixth term. Linder ran unopposed in 2004. In 2006, he was re-elected with 70.9% of the vote.[27]

Electoral history

Georgia's 4th congressional district: Results 1990–1994
Georgia's 11th congressional district: Results 1996–2000
Georgia's 7th congressional district: Results 2002–2008[28]
Year District Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1990 4th Ben Jones 96,526 52% John Linder 87,569 48%
1992 4th Cathey Steinberg 123,819 49% John Linder 126,495 51%
1994 4th Comer Yates 65,566 42% John Linder 90,063 58%
1996 11th Tommy Stephenson 80,940 36% John Linder 145,821 64%
1998 11th Vincent Littman 53,510 31% John Linder 120,909 69%
2000 11th (no candidate) John Linder 199,652 100%
2002 7th Mike Berlon 37,124 21% John Linder 138,997 79%
2004 7th (no candidate) John Linder 258,982 100%
2006 7th Allan Burns 53,553 29% John Linder 130,561 71%
2008 7th Doug Heckman 128,158 38% John Linder 209,349 62%


  1. ^ "John Linder to retire – Jonathan Martin". Politico.Com. 27 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  2. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts". Retrieved 2019-03-09 – via National Archives.
  3. ^ "Linder, John Elmer". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  4. ^ "John Linder Biography". The Online Office of John Linder. Archived from the original on 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  5. ^ "Linder loses his GOP campaign post". Athens Banner-Herald. Associated Press. November 19, 1998. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Linder, John (2005-01-04). "H.R. 25: Fair Tax Act of 2005". 109th U.S. Congress. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
  7. ^ a b Boortz, Neal; Linder, John (2006). The Fair Tax Book (Paperback ed.). Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-087549-6.
  8. ^ a b Boortz, Neal; Linder, John (2008). FairTax: The Truth: Answering the Critics (Paperback ed.). HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-154046-2.
  9. ^ "H.R.25 110th Cosponsors". 110th U.S. Congress. The Library of Congress. 2007-01-04. Archived from the original on 2016-07-04. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
  10. ^ Bender, Merrill (2005-06-01). "Economists Back FairTax Proposal". Budget & Tax News. The Heartland Institute. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
  11. ^ "Committee on Ways and Means Hearing – Statement of Leo Linbeck". Committee on Ways and Means. 2005. Archived from the original on 2005-11-28. Retrieved 2007-01-25.
  12. ^ a b "Project Vote Smart – Representative John Linder – Interest Group Ratings". 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  13. ^ a b "Project Vote Smart – Representative John Linder – Campaign Finances". 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  14. ^ a b c d "Project Vote Smart – Representative John Linder – Voting Record". Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  15. ^ [John Linder's Voting Records on Issue: Business and Consumers.
  16. ^ John Linder's Voting Records on Issue: Civil Liberties & Civil Rights.
  17. ^ John Linder's Voting Records on Issue: Health Care.
  18. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  19. ^ John Linder's Voting Records on Issue: Constitution.
  20. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  21. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  22. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  23. ^ John Linder's Voting Records on Issue: Foreign Affairs.
  24. ^ a b Vance, Laurence (2005-12-12). "There is No Such Thing as a Fair Tax". Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
  25. ^ Miller, Joe (2007-05-31). "Unspinning the FairTax". Archived from the original on 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  26. ^ Byrne, John; Brynaert, Vance (2006-02-27). "Georgia congressman failed to declare Abramoff client trip". Raw Story. Archived from the original on 2006-05-14. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  27. ^ "Georgia Election Results". Georgia Secretary of State. 2006-11-16. Archived from the original on 2007-02-16. Retrieved 2007-01-05.
  28. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
Georgia House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 44th district

January 13, 1975–January 12, 1981
Succeeded by
Bruce Widener
Preceded by
Bruce Widener
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 44th district

January 10, 1983–January 14, 1991
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 4th congressional district

January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1997
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 11th congressional district

January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2003
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 7th congressional district

January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2011
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Paxon
New York
Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee
Succeeded by
Tom Davis
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative