Adam Kinzinger donates his congressional papers to Dirksen Congressional Center in Pekin

‘His complete papers will help tell the story behind the policies he pursued,’ research center says

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., left, speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., listens at right. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Former U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger donated physical and digital papers, along with artifacts from his 12 years of service in the U.S. House to the Dirksen Congressional Center in Pekin.

Kinzinger said the Dirksen Congressional Center’s mission is to educate the public on the inner workings of Congress and he believes the United States needs a transparent understanding of Congress “more than ever.”

“Growing up in Illinois, I learned at a young age the legacy of Everett Dirksen,” Kinzinger said in a Wednesday press release. “It’s a legacy that helped guide me during my 12 years in Congress to selflessly serve my constituency and always put the interest of my district before my political interests. I could not think of a better institution to partner with in donating my Congressional papers from my time in Congress.”

Kinzinger did not run to retain his seat in November after Illinois’ congressional redistricting would have put him against fellow Republican Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, in the primary.

During his time in Congress, Kinzinger garnered national attention with his criticism of former President Donald Trump. He also was one of two Republicans to sit on the House Jan. 6 committee that investigated the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The panel issued an 814-page report asserting Trump took part in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and failed to act to stop his supporters from attacking the Capitol. Before ending its work, the committee also referred its findings to the Justice Department and recommended a criminal investigation against the former president.

Located in Pekin, the center holds the papers of its namesake, 1964 Civil Rights Act architect U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen, as well as those of House Minority Leader Bob Michel; U.S. Rep. and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos; U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis; and Time magazine congressional correspondent Neil MacNeil.

With the donation of the Kinzinger Collection, the archives at the Dirksen Center now have congressional records for members from Illinois dating to 1933.

“From growing up in central Illinois to becoming one of the youngest members of the McLean County Board to his dozen years in the House, Congressman Kinzinger has reflected the values of central Illinois, including bipartisanship and independence,” White said. “We appreciate the privilege of cataloguing and maintaining his papers alongside those of other public servants featured in our collection who demonstrated the same values over nine decades.”

Kinzinger began his career in public service while a student at Illinois State University, when he won election to the McLean County Board in 1998 at the age of 20. After serving in the United States Air Force, he won election to Congress in 2010 and served for six terms before deciding to not seek re-election in 2022. He now serves as a senior political commentator at CNN and operates the Country First PAC.

“Many Americans are familiar with him now because of his service on the select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol,” White said. “His complete papers will help tell the story behind the policies he pursued, the agreements – and disagreements – he had over three presidential administrations and the expertise he brought to debates in subjects from national defense and veterans’ issues to commerce and energy. We know these papers will have enormous interest among scholars studying history and government as well as from journalists writing about current events.”