Dana Rohrabacher

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search
Dana Rohrabacher currently serves the 46th Congressional district of State

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, has represented the 46th District of California in the United States House of Representatives since 1989. (map)

Record and controversies

Iraq War

Rohrabacher voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Involvement with Afganistan and the Taliban

Mr. Rohrabacher had a history of involvement in Afghanistan dating back to the Cold War, when he openly supported the groups that would later coalesce into the Taliban regime for their active opposition to the Soviet Union, including fighters under the command of Osama bin Laden.

In late 1988, Rohrabacher went to Afghanistan:

After I left the White House and was elected to Congress, but before I was sworn into Congress, I knew I had that two months between November and January to do things that I could never do once I was elected to Congress. I chose to hike into Afghanistan as part of a small Mujahedin unit and to engage in a battle against the Russian and communist forces near and around the city of Jalalabad. [1]

In the November/December 1996 issue of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Rohrabacher was reported as saying that the Taliban were not terrorists or revolutionaries, that they would develop a disciplined society that would leave no room for terrorists, and that the Taliban posed no threat to the United States.[2]

However, in a September 11, 1998, editorial in the The Washington Post, Rohrabacher strongly rebuked the Taliban for their obstinacy in providing refuge to Osama bin Laden, mass killings of Shi'ites and ethnic Uzbeks, Turks, and Tajiks, and restrictions on the rights of Afghan women and children:

It has been no secret that bin Laden has been sheltered by the Taliban. The Clinton administration was mute while one of the most violent anti-Western Muslim sects spilled into Afghanistan from their Pakistan-based "religious schools" and took control of the capital. We remained paralyzed while they moved to destroy moderate Muslim forces. While administration officials expressed concern of the Taliban's complete denial of rights for women, it was little more than lip service. Even modest support from the United States for moderate Muslim forces in Afghanistan and serious political pressure on Pakistan could have thwarted the takeover of this strategically important country by these militant extremists. The danger of the spread of fanaticism expressed by the newly independent republics of Central Asia was smugly ignored.

During the summer of 2001, Rohrabacher made a trip to Qatar that was paid for by the Islamic Institute and the Government of Qatar, according to Rohrabacher's financial disclosure forms. While in Qatar, Rohrabacher, Grover Norquist, and Khaled Saffuri met with Taliban Foreign Minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil. Wakil reportedly asked for help in increasing the amount of foreign aid sent by the United States to Afghanistan, apparently in exchange for U.S. oil company UNOCAL being allowed to construct of an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. If Rohrabacher was conducting diplomacy, he was in violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits citizens from doing so if not in an official capacity. Rohrabacher told wire service reporters who were present in Doha, Qatar at the time that he had discussed a "peace plan" with the Taliban. But Norquist, a close associate of Rohrabacher, said that the meeting happened accidentally and that it included Rohrabacher yelling at them about blowing up the Buddhist statues" in Afganistan.[3]

The Taliban later announced in Kabul that it had rejected what it considered were unreasonable demands by the U.S. side. Rohrabacher's staff would not answer questions about the Taliban talks. [4] After his diplomatic overtures were apparently rejected, Mr. Rohrabacher became one of the most fervent public opponents of the Taliban.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Mr.Rohrabacher claimed that the attacks were due to incompetence on the part of the Clinton administration. [5]

Possible ethics violations

On November 4, 2005, The Los Angeles Times reported that Rohrabacher "used his influence to open doors in Washington for a Hollywood producer pitching a television show after the producer paid him a $23,000 option on a screenplay." [6] The producer, Joseph Medawar, has since been indicted on fraud charges by the FBI and has plead not guilty. The question is whether the producer paid him the money for the screenplay or if the money was for the introductions to congressional and federal officials conducted by Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher claims that the introductions were done in good faith and were nothing that was not done regularly for legitimate causes, and that the introductions have only become an issue because of Joseph Medawar's misdeeds.

Links to Jack Abramoff

Rohrabacher is also connected to indicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has been charged with fraud in connection with his purchase of the SunCruz Casinos. Rohrabacher was listed as a financial reference for Abramoff. "I don't remember it, but I would certainly have been happy to give him a good recommendation," Rohrabacher said. "He's a very honest man."[7]

Rohrbacher is a "college friend" of Abramoff, and has been "his most steadfast defender on Capitol Hill." [8]

Involvement with the 1985 Jamba insurgents' summit

According to an article in The Weekly Standard, "...Rohrabacher was brought in to help muster support from inside the White House" for the 1985 Jamba Democratic International, a summit of right-wing insurgent groups at the headquarters of UNITA in the Angolan bush. It was co-organized by Abramoff and Jack Wheeler.[9] According to the UK Observer newspaper, the event was "...attended by a who's who of the extreme Right: members of the Oliver North group, Laotian guerrillas, Nicaraguan Contras, Afghan mujahideen and South African security police." [10]

During the proceeding, the assembled fighters listened to "...(Lewis) Lehrman read a letter Rohrabacher had drafted on Reagan's behalf, expressing solidarity with those struggling against the Soviet empire." [11]

DC voting rights

On January 4, 2005, Rep. Rohrabacher introduced the District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2005 (H.R. 190) allowing District residents to vote in Maryland congressional elections (the increase in Maryland's voting population would lead to it receiving an additional House seat). The bill would also remove the District's three electoral votes for presidential elections and allow District citizens to vote as Maryland residents in elections for both president and vice president. The bill attracted one sponsor, Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), but never made it to the floor.

Main article: Voting rights in the District of Columbia



Rohrabacher was born June 21, 1947 in Coronado, California. He graduated from Palos Verdes High School in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, attended Harbor Junior College, and received his bachelor's degree in history from California State University, Long Beach in 1969. He received his master's degree in American Studies from the University of Southern California.

Rohrabacher was an influencial activist in the radical anarcho-capitalist movement, starting from about 1969,[12] though he drifted towards the mainstream along with Charles Koch, the billionaire who helped fund his political campaigns.

He worked for awhile in the early 1970s as an editorial writer for The Register (today called The Orange County Register) newspaper] in Santa Ana, California, then a conservative newspaper with a libertarian bent.[13]

In the late 1960s and early 70s, Rohrabacher was influenced by the anarcho-capitalist ideas of Robert LeFevre, who had moved his Freedom School to Santa Ana, California, renaming it Rampart College. [14] Rohrabacher would appear at various meetings and conferences, including the "Left-Right Festival of Mind Liberation" in 1969. [15]Rohrabacher would often play the four-string banjo and sing his original libertarian-themed songs, including "Individual Man": "I don't own nobody. Nobody does own me. I'm just an individual man, just want to be free..."

Prior to his election to Congress in 1988, Rohrabacher served as Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. For seven years he was one of the President's senior speechwriters. During his tenure at the White House, Rohrabacher played a leading role in the formulation of the Reagan Doctrine. He also helped formulate President Reagan's Economic Bill of Rights, a package of economic reforms that the President introduced in a speech before the Jefferson Memorial.

Congressional Career

With Reagan soon leaving office, Rohrabacher left the Administration in 1988 to pursue the open House seat recently vacated by Dan Lungren. With the fundraising help of friend Oliver North, Rohrabacher was able to win the Republican primary and capture the seat, centered around northern coastal Orange County. A friend and fellow White House aide, Christopher Cox, won a seat in the same election in southern Orange County. The pair remained close, though Cox — now chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission — rose in the party hierarchy while the more iconoclastic Rohrabacher charted his own course.

In August of 1997, Rohrbacher married Orange County political operative (and fellow surfer), Rhonda Carmony. On April 27, 2004, he and his wife became parents to triplets.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Democrats nominated Jim Brandt to face Rohrabacher in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006)[2] Rohrabacher retained his seat.

Positions and Views

Rohrabacher is a staunch opponent of illegal immigration. He authored California's Proposition 187, which sought to deny immigrants without proper documentation any government services, including education for their children. In 2004 he proposed a bill to withhold emergency room services to people who cannot prove their immigration status. The proposed bill was overwhelmingly defeated [16].

Rohrabacher supports giving Washington, D.C. residents the right to vote for congressional representation as Maryland residents.

Committees and Affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and Caucuses

Boards and other Affiliations


DC Office:
2338 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0546
Phone: 202-225-2415
Fax: 202-225-0145
Email: dana AT mail.house.gov

District Office- Huntington Beach:
101 Main Street, Suite 380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Phone: 714-960-6483
Fax: 714-847-5153


Articles and resources

Local blogs and discussion sites

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Dana Rohrabacher. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Committee on Foreign Affairs/Subcommittee on Asia Pacific and the Global Environment, House Committee on Foreign Affairs/Subcommittee on International Organizations Human Rights and Oversight, House Committee on Science and Technology, House Committee on Science and Technology/Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, House Committee on Science and Technology/Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics,
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 8, 1988
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 1989
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 101 Main Street, Suite 380 Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Phone: 714-960-6483 / Fax: 714-847-5153

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: June 21, 1947

  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. "2006 Elections in California," Center for Responsive Politics.
  3. Members, Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China, accessed July 30, 2008.