Charles Albert "Dutch" Ruppersberger III (born January 31, 1946) is the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Democratic Party and served as Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2011 to 2015.
The district covers parts of Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Harford County, Howard County and Baltimore City.
Ruppersberger was born in Baltimore, the son of Margaret "Peggy" (nee Wilson) and Charles Albert "Al" Ruppersberger, Jr. He is of part German descent. Ruppersberger's legal first name is Dutch, a nickname since childhood. He graduated from Baltimore City College and attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he played lacrosse. He earned his juris doctor (JD) from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Ruppersberger began his career as a Baltimore County Assistant State's Attorney. He was soon promoted to the Chief of the State's Attorney Office Investigative Division, pursuing organized crime, political corruption, and drug trafficking. He was elected to the Baltimore County Council in 1985 and again in 1989, chosen twice as council chairman. In December 1994 and again in 1998, Ruppersberger was elected Baltimore County Executive.Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Defense
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Ranking Member, 113th and 114th Congresses)
Ruppersberger was the first Democratic freshman ever to be appointed to the House Intelligence Committee. He was named to this committee because his district is home to the National Security Agency. From January 3, 2011 to January 3, 2015, he served as this committee's ranking Democrat. The position placed Ruppersberger on the elite “Gang of Eight,” which refers to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees along with the Senate majority leader, Senate minority leader, House speaker and House minority leader. By law, the president must keep the Gang of Eight informed of the country's most secret intelligence activities to maintain proper oversight.
Ruppersberger decided to run for office after a near-fatal car accident while investigating a drug trafficking case. Thanks to the dedication of doctors at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Ruppersberger survived and began campaigning for office to assist shock trauma after they saved his life. He remains an active supporter of the hospital, serving as vice chairman of its board of visitors. He also serves on the United States Naval Academy Board of Visitors.
In one of his first acts in Washington in 2003, Ruppersberger created the national “Hero Miles” program to enable patriotic Americans to donate their frequent flyer miles to wounded warriors recovering at military or Veterans Administration medical centers as well as to friends and family visiting them. In 2012, he authored legislation expanding the program to enable Americans to donate their hotel reward points to military families. Both the “Hero Miles” and “Hotels for Heroes” programs are administered by Fisher House, a nonprofit organization that opens its homes to military families visiting their injured loved ones at hospitals across the country . He won a Charles Dick Medal of Merit in 2004 for this initiative, thus becoming the last Marylander to win this award, which was previously awarded to U.S. Rep. Beverly Byron (1992), State Senator John Astle (1993), U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (1994), U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (1998) and State Del (now State Comptroller) Peter Franchot (1999).
Ruppersberger, along with Michigan Republican Mike Rogers, co-sponsored the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, designed to increase intelligence sharing between private cyber security firms and government agencies. More than 60 businesses and trade organizations submitted letters of support including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Time Warner, Verizon and AT&T, IBM and Intel. Despite several amendments to address privacy concerns, some groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have criticized the act for a lack of civil liberties protections, claiming that it authorizes government surveillance of private communications and allows companies to hand over large amounts of personal information on their clients without a warrant or judicial oversight, and thereby creates a cybersecurity loophole in existing privacy laws, such as the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. CISPA passed the House of Representatives on April 26, 2012. It was reintroduced into the House on February 13, 2013, and passed on April 18, 2013, by a bipartisan vote of 288-127. Of the 92 Democrats who supported the bill, many of them cited significant privacy improvements over the 2012 version.
Barred from a third term as County Executive, Ruppersberger opted to run for Congress in 2002 after 2nd District Congressman Bob Ehrlich made what turned out to be a successful run for governor. The Maryland General Assembly significantly altered the 2nd by shifting most of its share of Harford County to the 1st and 6th Districts. In its place, the legislature added a heavily Democratic portion of Baltimore City that had previously been in the 1st District. This turned the 2nd from a swing district into a strongly Democratic district. It was an open secret that the district was drawn for Ruppersberger; local media called the new district "the Dutch district." An August 2011 editorial by The Washington Post describes the 2nd district as "curlicue territories strung together by impossibly delicate tendrils of land" and "a crazy-quilt confection drawn for the express purpose of ousting the incumbent at the time, Rep. (and later Gov.) Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, and installing C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat who still holds the job." He defeated Republican opponent Helen Delich Bentley, who had represented the 2nd district from 1985 to 1995, with 55 percent of the vote. Ruppersberger has never faced another contest even that close and has been reelected five times. On April 10, 2013, the Baltimore Sun reported that Ruppersberger was considering a run for governor of Maryland in 2014. In January of 2014, Ruppersberger announced that he would not run for Governor, but instead would seek reelection to the House of Representatives.
Ruppersberger married his high school sweetheart in 1971 and has two grown children, Cory and Jill, and three grandchildren.