The Secret Lives of Bob Dornan

Inside the Fevered Imagination of O.C.'s Most Infamous Congressman

Roy T. Hultman of Omaha, Nebraska, is a representative contributor, writing checks to Dornan for small amounts with great frequency. During the 1994 campaign, Hultman sent Dornan $10 on July 5, 15, 22, 25 and 29; Aug. 8, 9, 15, 22, 26; and Sept. 6, 7, 13 (twice), 16, 23 and 30. He also made $10 contributions 24 times in 1993. Why would a Nebraska man send more than $400 to a California politician like Dornan?

Hultman, an amiable, elderly man who said he was on a fixed income, answered my call on the first ring. He turned down the volume on his blaring radio when I asked if he had given money to Congressman Robert K. Dornan.

"Who?" he said. I repeated the name. "Not that I know of."

After I explained that he is listed as a contributor, Hultman said his memory had been fading in recent years and that he probably had sent the money. I asked what sparked the contributions. "I really couldn't tell you," he said. "This man's name doesn't quite click in my mind. What does he stand for?"

Dornan stands for himself. After 20 years, his rebarbative rhetoric still hypnotizes the media, which ignore his failings and promote his feisty image, which excites the fringe, who contribute the millions that keep him in office. As long as this circle remains unbroken, Dornan will escape much-deserved scrutiny and continue as congressman for life in the 46th Congressional District--and presumptive spokesman for term limits. One GOP presidential-primary voter put it best after hearing one of Dornan's stump speeches earlier this year. Dornan's message, the fellow Republican said, is "more appropriate for a lounge act."

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