Who Is Dick Durbin's Wife? New Details About Loretta Schaefer Durbin

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Dick Durbin has been a United States Senator from Illinois since 1997 and since 2005, he’s been the Assistant Democratic Leader. He’s also served as Minority Whip from 2005 to 2007, Majority Whip from 2007 to 2015, and then Minority Whip once more since 2015. Before that, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982-1996.

But Durbin has been in the news a lot lately since the Brett Kavanaugh hearing last week. In his exchange, Durbin called on Kavanaugh to demand an FBI probe saying, “I’ve got a suggestion for you: Right now, turn to your left in the front row, to Don McGahn, counsel to President Donald Trump, ask him to suspend this hearing and nomination process until the FBI completes its investigation of the charges made by Dr. Ford and others and goes to bring the witnesses forward and provides that information to this hearing.”

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Since finding himself even deeper in the spotlight, we’re all curious about Durbin’s personal life and family, making us question: just who is Dick Durbin’s wife? What do we know about the life they built together? Does his politics affect their household? Here are 5 things to know about Loretta Schaefer Durbin.

1. They had three children.

After marrying in June 1967, the couple welcomed three children: Christine, born in 1968, Paul, born in 1969, and Jennifer, born in 1971. In 2008, Christine passed away at the age of 40 due to a congenital heart condition, after spending weeks in the hospital.

2. She’s also a grandmother.

According to Durbin’s bio as Senator, the couple are grandparents to Alex, Ona and Floyd.

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3. She’s a lobbyist.

She began lobbying in 1998 and retired in 2014 when she was 68. She formed the Government Affairs Consulting, LLC in 2012 and was a partner in Government Affairs Specialists, Inc. (GASI), a bi-artisan lobbying firm that lobbied in the Illinois legislature for 10 years.

4. But she’s also pursued other endeavors.

From 1985 to 1994, Loretta was an assistant for two Democratic lawmakers and worked for the Illinois Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation, which included tracking federal funds and legislation. She also helped start the Illinois Women's Institute for Leadership in the early 2000s.

5. She faced allegations of conflict of interest.

The pushback included accusations that Durbin helped her get clients through his political position. A 2014 Chicago Tribune article claimed that some of her clients, “have received federal funding promoted by Durbin,” a claim that both he and his wife deny.

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The conflicts also included her lobbying firm “receiving a one-year contract with a housing nonprofit group around the time the senator went to bat for the organization; a state university receiving funds through an earmark by Durbin when his wife was its lobbyist; and Durbin arranging federal money for a public health nonprofit when his wife was seeking state support for the same group.”

However, the couple maintains that they avoid conflicts of interest, with Loretta saying, “We were never asked to do any federal lobbying, and we never did.”

Durbin himself backed her up: “People know the name because I’ve been around for a while. But whether that helps or hurts her in attracting clients, you know, there are some people who are not wild about me and they may just decide they wouldn’t want to have my wife work for them. But I have never, ever, ever referred a client to her. And she has not asked me ever to contact anybody on her behalf. We really tried our best to make this something where there’s a clear line between what we do.”

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Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.