By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
Dana Rohrabacher—Orange County's senior, career politician—repeatedly used his congressional status and his wife's pregnancy as props to raise secret funds from numerous individuals, including two convicted felons, a California tax cheat, an Iraq War profiteer, a Middle East oil executive, a space entrepreneur and others seeking to influence federal government policies or spending, according to documents obtained by OC Weekly.
At least five months before the April 2004 birth of his triplets, Rohrabacher launched a fund-raising campaign aimed at enticing wealthy or well-connected political players in the nation's capital, throughout the country's conservative circles and in Orange County, to help to cover his personal expenses related to raising his kids.
The congressman, who often poses as cash-poor despite living comfortably on the federal payroll for the past 33 years, collected at least $33,000 in undisclosed personal contributions from 11 corporate executives, two billionaires, seven lobbyists, four corporations and the two aforementioned convicted crooks: Jack Abramoff, a disgraced Washington, D.C., lobbyist who swindled millions of dollars in an influence-peddling con game, and Patrick J. Nolan, a former California Republican politician arrested by the FBI and convicted in "Shrimpscam" for pocketing illegal contributions.
Rohrabacher, a loudmouth known even among his political allies as a notorious cheapskate often eager to find the closest bar, wasn't able to keep his fund-raising pitch a secret and had to acknowledge the existence of the account in 2004 to the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets, but he steadfastly refused to divulge the identities of those who contributed, the dates of the payments or the amounts.
Asked at the time by reporters if Abramoff was a contributor, the now-13-term, Costa Mesa congressman claimed ignorance. But he may not have been telling the truth. According to Rohrabacher's own extensive records, which are now in the Weekly's possession, Abramoff was the second-largest individual donor, giving $2,300.
We've previously revealed that Rohrabacher—who has never faced a tough re-election battle in his high-income, Orange County coastal district—funneled as much as 50 percent of collected campaign contributions during a 2011 reporting period to his personal coffers by claiming his wife, convicted in criminal court after a prior illegal campaign scheme, earned the windfall because she allegedly works as his professional campaign adviser.
Surprisingly, the congressman's records don't show baby contributions from two of his most loyal defenders—ex-California Republican Party Chairman and chiropractic-insurance company boss Michael J. Schroeder or Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer. But the secret contributor list does include:
• Robert W. Smiley Jr., chairman of the board at Benefit Capital Companies Inc., with $1,000;
• Paul Behrends, defense-industry lobbyist, with $775;
• Wilfred N. Cooper, Newport Beach real-estate developer, with $300;
• Hazem Chehabi, Laguna Beach resident, with $2,000;
• Mohammed Bader Aldafa, Qatar diplomat, with $200;
• Albanian American Foundation, with $1,000;
• Daniel S. Goldin, former NASA administrator and CEO at the Intellesis Corporation, with $240;
• International Transportation Service Inc. and John L. Miller, Long Beach port container operator, with $480;
• A. Omar Turbi, defense-industry executive and lobbyist, with $200;
• Erik Prince, creator of Iraq War profiteering Blackwater USA, with $1,500;
• David M. McIntosh, ex-congressman and current corporate lobbyist, with $150;
• William Lansdale, California businessman who deposited income in offshore accounts to avoid federal taxes and in 1986—through political favors—won a special tax-shelter exemption, with $200;
• Alfred E. Mann, Las Vegas billionaire, with $2,000;
• Robert K. Dawson, government lobbyist, with $180;
• Elon R. Musk, founder of SpaceX, with $3,080;
• James F. McConnell, government lobbyist, with $500;
• Larry T. Smith, onetime Family Research Council director, now with Family Action PAC, with $225;
• Signal Oil & Refining Co., with $1,000;
• Christopher Cox, former congressman now in private law practice, with $480;
• Adam Probolsky, Probolsky Research boss and GOP political operative known to work for gambling interests, with $250;
• Shawn and Michelle Steel, conservative activists, with $225;
• Gilbert P. Hyatt, Las Vegas investor, with $2,250.
Several contributors have benefited from Rohrabacher's assistance or voting. For example, Prince's company won tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds in a no-bid deal for his private, mercenary army; Musk's firm grabbed a $1 billion NASA contract; Abramoff used Rohrabacher's name as a character reference in a bribery scam to defraud an Indian tribe out of tens of millions of dollars; and Smiley publicizes on his website one of the congressman's floor speeches that touted his Nevada-based company and his "monumental work."
Lax U.S. House of Representative ethics rules (helpfully written by members of congress for themselves) allow federal office holders to raise money in baby shower-type pitches and even permits them to shield the financial transactions from public view, but they also caution about accepting gifts that create the appearance of conflicts of interest.
Records obtained by the Weekly show that Rohrabacher used the baby-fund donations to hire After the Stork, a Rancho Santa Margarita company that specializes in "home care for the new mother." The accredited firm charged the congressman $30 per hour for its services, which lasted for several months.
The birth of the children wasn't a onetime shot for the congressman to use his kids as props for money-raising endeavors. Additional records obtained by the Weekly show that in 2009 he organized a joint party to celebrate the births of his kids and that of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. The event was held at the Beverly Hills home of socialite Arthur M. Kassel, a Glock-toting businessman who specializes in donating to police-union causes in exchange for receiving real police badges.
At least in that case, the congressman urged restraint to contributors so the transactions wouldn't trigger public disclosure.
"The maximum value of gifts for the Rohrabacher triplets combined cannot exceed $49," stated the glossy birthday invitations that contained five photographs of the identified kids: Annika, Tristen and Christian.
Rohrabacher—one of the most senior members in the House who is viewed within his own political party as a peculiar, loose cannon, unfit to chair a major legislative committee—did not respond to requests for an interview regarding his fund-raising practices.
This year, he's asking voters in his district to return him to Washington, D.C., for his 27th and 28th years in Congress. Last year, after leaving a Costa Mesa rental with grotesquely soiled carpets, broken furnishings, cracked appliances and maggots under the stove, he sued his ex-landlord in Orange County Superior Court for having the audacity to keep a security deposit. The landlord has countersued to collect more than $20,000 in damages caused by the unhygienic Rohrabachers.
Wow sense a whole lot of biased opinion and not a whole lot of facts, big deal he raised money for his kids.
I have to admit - I'd never heard of Dana Rohrabacher until you guys started writing stuff about him. He's outside my district, but I tend to vote Republican, so I probably would have voted for him. Anyhow - you guys are really onto something here... a politician who accepts contributions, then votes or influences the government to act towards their interests... Holy Moses! These kind of things never happen with Democrats (cough, labor unions, cough). Hiring an agency to assist with taking care of triplets for a few months - the pure EVIL. BTW - my wife and I have a tough enough time taking care of one kid, let alone three. BTW - Box Tops' comments are over the top ridiculous... better start updating your resumes guys!
Also, Mr. Moxley. I think you missed the entire point of my original comment. As a new mom myself I find your coverage in this story completely disgusting. In addition, I find you calling me a dog absolutely disgusting. I plan on contacting your employer tomorrow with a formal complaint.
@rscottmoxley Why do I have to use my real name, it wasn't required? Your system asked me to put in a screen name and others who comment don't use a name. ? Why are you saying I should muster the courage to bark using my real name? Are you calling a reader a dog? I truly can't believe that you are the author of this article and you are allowed to respond to a reader like you just did. Holy cow. I think you should have some standards as a journalist and your employer should look into where you might be breaking their policies. There is seriously something mentally wrong with you. I'm sure your employer doesn't see their business as a game and you clearly don't have good judgement.
Just so you know, I clicked on this article because of the wretched comic, but OC Weekly, it got worse from there. The article's headline claimed something really big, but the clincher was, well, here:
——Records obtained by the Weekly show that Rohrabacher used the baby-fund donations to hire After the Stork, a Rancho Santa Margarita company that specializes in "home care for the new mother." The accredited firm charged the congressman $30 per hour for its services, which lasted for several months. ——
How dare these new parents of triplets spend money on assistance for the new mother for SEVERAL months! That mom should have been able to synchronize all THREE of those little kids'... sleeping, eating, pooping, burping, puking, bathing, playing, doctor visits, food shopping, formula preparation, laundry, house cleaning, driving... within a week or minimum one month! What the heck is wrong with those parents! They most have just been living it up on the luxury lifestyle you reference!
The author clearly has never, ever, ever had children, none the less three (at once)! Last time I checked, not only are baby showers not a crime, but I bet the proud mother of the author of this article even had one! Mr. Moxley, maybe you should do some digging into your Mom's experience of you as an infant. You might gain some humanity in the process.
Also, you write that G-d forbid that the family have the audacity to throw a 1st birthday party for their kids too. That certainly must have been a crime against humanity especially all those squeaky, rolling toy gifts, hard cover board books, and toys that play the ABCs. How dare they, you say! Mr. Moxley, did you get any birthday gifts as a kid? Oh, right, that would be none of my business!
OC Weekly, since when are infants/kids fair game? This article is really about at the bottom of the barrel as it gets. Truly. Why are you even throwing articles to an author that comes off like a complete whack-o, maniac, raving lunatic to reference private information about children and characterize real children in a comic like that?
OC Weekly needs to issue an apology for invading the privacy of this family and the heads of those involved in not editing private information out should be fired. If you don't fire this guy at least you should demote him to obituaries since he clearly lacks... humanity.
I wonder if Dana would use those funds to buy OC Weekly and terminate starting with Gustavo, Scott, and the rest of the liberals!!!
@sweetliberty17761776 Did you see what this pig did to the peoples property ? It rented a house and like the dirty pig he is he destroyed the peoples property. And you losers keep backing him up he is a loser pig like Reagan they use and abuse everyone and everything they use you fools like toilet paper
The people of his District are getting the worst representation corrupt money can buy. Do you need the sky to fall on your head Henny Penny before you get the message?
Mr. Moxley has provided plenty of facts, but you apparently staunchly refuse to see the bigger picture. Rohrabacher is the very definition of a greedy, dishonest and ineffective career politician. These latest shenanigans are just the tip of the iceberg. And if you want "a whole lot of biased opinion and not a whole lot of facts" might I suggest you read the OC Register instead of the OC Weekly?
@BoxTops Hate to get in the middle of your exchange with Scott and he certainly doesn't need me to defend him, but I thought the article was right on target. Let's face it, politicans siphon off political contributions for personal use all the time and while not right and even sometimes illegal, the voters just look the other way. From my perspective, using you kids to panhandle money from people you do business with, moves it into the gutter. As a allegedly new mom, I would think you would relate with disgust to such an act, rather than defend it. This, unfortunately is only one spoke in the Rohrabacker wheel of incompetency and void of leadership and why he needs to be replaced. Fortunately, there are investigative reporters like Scott Moxley who are willing to dig up the deeds of the corrupt and famous and expose it to the voters. Now the question remaining to be answered is, will the voters of that Congressional District will wake up and smell the Starbucks, or continue to digest more of the same?
@BoxTops Yes, by all means, come forward and have the courage to bark using your real name.
@BoxTops Seems to me that you are missing the entire point here. Having baby showers for a normal person with friends, family and even close work partners is one thing. Having a baby shower by an elected official aimed at political contributors and people who you do business with is another. Anyone who cannot see a major conflict of interest in that must either be blind or related to the individual involved? Which are you? By the way, the kids didn't get tacky baby gifts, they got cash, dinero, moola, money or anything else you want to call hard dollars.
@BoxTops Hola Dana! Why can't you muster the courage to bark using your real name? Or field questions from a reporter who isn't afraid of you? You, congressman, have repeatedly and shamelessly used your own small kids for fund-raising purposing. That, my dear boy, underscores you pathetic, greedy character. PS--You suggest I should be writing obituaries, but don't you know that's exactly what I'm doing each time I tell the public about your cheating and lies and lack of character?
@FFO1939Always awesome to hear from the moron who idolizes a butcher like Franco...
@FFO1939 Wait! Wait! Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Skipped Vietnam War military service but transformed into an unabashed chicken hawk after he passed draft age) is NOT already the owner of OC Weekly? Oh, man. I apologize. Please listen, "FFO1939." In my defense, I thought jefe Dana was running the show here in OC and didn't care about the type of publicity he got as long as it was prominent and prolonged. I must have misunderstood the orders. Should I scrap my next story about his illegal, secret consulting deal?
I said put him in jail
when a person breaks a law
put them in jail
as "you losers" continue to back people like the dems who are shaper than you and keep you stuck
@FishWithoutBicycle and he is a kook
@ltpar @BoxTops Hello Mr. Itpar. Your points are taken, but why are you trying to gloss over my point? The author and cartoonist changed the entire direction of the article and put their reputation on the line when they made fun of real kids by drawing these children as weird caricatures.
I know for a fact from other OC Weekly articles published just recently that the Editor-in-Chief cares deeply about how kids are treated. See the article about the Catholic Church (really, it's a good article). It doesn't seem to me from my experience with Weekly publications that making fun of kids is in any way shape or form, their charter. The SF Weekly additionally has covered some important initiatives that the SF public schools were doing when I used to live up there. Their authors were always gracious and never handled kids inappropriately.
You question if I am truly a mom, I assure you I am. If other commentators like you don't care about how kids are portrayed in the news, that's fine. But don't call me blind or accuse me of some sort of bias — the cartoon of the infants was front and center on their home page and the author was extremely rude to me. How can someone be in the business if they can't take a step back and look at the effect of their work constructively and with professionalism. Guaranteed, it would help this author's overall credibility. While Mr. Moxley generally comes across as ambitious and out for the little guy, he truly missed the littlest ones in our society in the process.
I would lose all respect for the OC Weekly if they were to terminate Mr Moxley!! It's refreshing to hear an honest opinion and some excellent research into dis-honest and criminal matters by our Politicans and Police Force! FYI Mr Moxley or the rest of us for that matter have no problem with anyone raising money to help out with child birth. Especially incompetents who need help such as the Rohrabachers! My Grandma came here from Naples, Italy and raised 18 children with no handouts or collections and certainly no counseling on how to be a mother!! What about all the other mothers and fathers raising multi-children on income not even close to the Rohrabachers? They do it out of love and instincts!! not handouts! Mr. Moxley and the rest of us would like to know how you can justify 33k in donations from donars who qualify under the "CONFLICT OF INTEREST" clause??? Typical politician, side stepping and passing the blame! you make US sick!!!!
Reminds me of the queen inkeeper I met, muchos anos pasados en Jocotepec, driven out of Germany by the National Socialists but still defending his hero and blaming his problems on "the Jews". People's ability to kid themselves is endless.
@Boxtops, Can we get you to explain the condition you left the apartment in? Maggots?, Really?? WOW!!
Great comment! And I agree with you wholeheartedly...if we were all the same the world would be a damn boring place. Viva la difference!
@BoxTops @ltpar Not my job to defend the author, or the OC Weekly, but it was a cartoon picture and I saw nothing demeaning about it. I can undrstand why some, particularly mothers might object to the kids being included. I think by Rohrabacher using the kids as part of his money grubbing hustle, he himself opened the door for that picture. I would also point out that the OC Weekly is not just another blah middle of the road media source. They take on the controversial and challenging issues that other media groups refuse to acknowledge. While they may be biased to their particular slant on an issue, so are my comments from time to time and that's what makes the world go round.