Ed Bethune grew up in Arkansas and joined the Marines when he was eighteen years old. He rose to the rank of sergeant. When his enlistment ended, he earned a degree from the School of Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate from the School of Law at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
He served four years as a special agent of the FBI and then became a prosecuting attorney in his hometown of Searcy, Arkansas. As a private attorney, he was lead counsel in the trial of many important cases, both civil and criminal.
In 1978, against all odds, he won a seat in the United States House of Representatives, the first Republican to hold that seat in 104 years. He served three terms in Congress and then lost a campaign for a seat in the United States Senate.
After Congress, Bethune joined the firm of Bracewell & Giuliani in Washington, D. C. and became a high-profile lawyer, successfully representing Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Majority Leader Tom DeLay and others charged with ethics violations.
He and his wife Lana have two children and eight granddaughters, and they reside in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In 1990, Ed and Lana attempted to sail their 31-foot sailboat across the Atlantic Ocean. On their sixth day at sea, they encountered a fierce storm with 30-foot waves that led to a harrowing rescue by the U. S. Coast Guard.
In 2011 Bethune wrote his memoir: Jackhammered, a Life of Adventure and in 2014 he finished the novel, Gay Panic in the Ozarks. His third book, A Pearl for Kizzy, is a novel set in Arkansas during World War II. It was published in June of 2016.
Lawyer; Member of the United States Congress, Second District of Arkansas; Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Prosecuting Attorney; Chairman, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, 9th District.
Fifty years as an attorney: Business litigation, personal injury litigation, white-collar criminal defense, federal regulatory and ethics law in Washington, D. C. and Arkansas. Represented various Members of Congress in proceedings before the House Ethics committee, including the Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and the Majority Leader of the House Tom DeLay.
General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association, 1988 to 2005. Served as Special Agent of the FBI from 1964 to 1968 in Washington, Indianapolis, Chicago, and New York metropolitan areas.
Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani, an international law firm, Washington, D. C. office, 1994 to retirement in 2006.
Elected to the United States House of Representatives, Second District of Arkansas, in 1978; reelected in 1980 and 1982.
Member, Committee on the Budget; Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs; and, Committee on Small Business.
Elected president of Republican class of new Members of Congress in 1978; reelected to that post in 1979. The class included Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney.
Republican nominee for U. S. Senate, Arkansas 1984. Lost to Senator David Pryor.
Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, 1986-1988
Awards and Honors
Conservation and Wilderness Awards from the Arkansas Wildlife Federation.
He introduced and passed The Arkansas Wilderness Act of 1984, an act signed into law by President Reagan.
Distinguished Alumni Award of University of Arkansas School of Law. Distinguished Alumni Award of University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Chosen in 1978 to be a member of the Chowder and Marching Club, a small Republican leadership group in the House of Representatives. Still an active member of the club, which includes most Republican leaders in the House and Senate. The group meets each Wednesday evening that Congress is in session.
Nominated to be a Federal Judge, Eastern District of Arkansas, by President Gerald Ford, June 1976. The nomination was blocked by Senator Dale Bumpers and failed when Jimmy Carter was elected president.
Born December 19, 1935 in Pocahontas, Arkansas.
Married Lana Douthit of Little Rock January 24, 1959. Lana is very active, as a leader, in several congressional spouse organizations in Washington, D. C., and civic organizations in Arkansas. In 1989 she served as the Social Secretary for Vice President Dan Quayle and Mrs. Quayle.
Daughter, Paige Nassetta is married to Chris Nassetta, Chief Executive Officer of Hilton Worldwide. They live in Arlington, Virginia and have six daughters.
Son, Lieutenant Commander Sam Bethune, retired after thirty years of honorable service. His final assignment was as Executive Officer of the Naval Weapons Depot at Yorktown, VA. He married Alison Anthony, the daughter of Democratic Congressman Beryl Anthony of Arkansas. They have two daughters.
Author of three books: A memoir, Jackhammered, a Life of Adventure, published in 2011, and a novel, Gay Panic in the Ozarks, published in 2014. A second novel, A Pearl for Kizzy, is set in rural Arkansas during World War II. It was published in June of 2016.
Sailing enthusiast. Lana and Ed were rescued after six days at sea by the U. S. Coast Guard in 1990 when their 31-foot sailboat, Salute, was overcome by 35-foot waves while attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Norfolk, Virginia to Portugal.
Enjoys biking, reading, writing.
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, 1961.
Juris Doctorate, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, School of Law, 1963.
Enlisted man, United States Marine Corps, 1954-1957. Honorable discharge as Sergeant. Service in Korea, 1954-1956.