William E. Dannemeyer

William E. Dannemeyer


name =William E. Dannemeyer

date of birth= birth date and age|1929|09|22
place of birth= Long Beach, California
death_date =
death_place =
state = California
district = 39th
term_start =1979–1993
preceded = Charles E. Wiggins
succeeded = Edward R. Royce
party = Republican
religion = Lutheran

William Edwin Dannemeyer (born September 22 1929) is a right-wing American politician, activist, and author. He is currently honorary national chairman of Citizens for a Better America. He served as U.S. Representative from the 39th Congressional District of California from 1979 to 1993, during which time he and friend and fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Robert K. Dornan came to personify Orange County conservatism. Dannemeyer is an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.

Early life

Dannemeyer was born in Long Beach, California. He attended Trinity Lutheran School in Los Angeles and Long Beach Poly High School, entering Santa Maria Junior College in 1947 before transferring to Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. He graduated from "Valpo" in 1950 and earned a J.D. at Hastings College of the Law of the University of California in 1952. From 1952 to 1954 he served in the United States Army in the Counter Intelligence Corps during the Korean War.

He began practicing law in Santa Barbara in 1955, serving concurrently as a Santa Barbara County deputy district attorney. He moved to Fullerton in 1959 to become the assistant city attorney. He was elected originally as a Democrat to the California State Assembly in 1962 and was reelected in 1964; was a municipal and superior court judge pro tempore 1966–1976; and returned to the Assembly for a final term in 1976 as a Republican.


In November 1978 he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives, and returned for six additional terms. He accumulated a strongly conservative record on the Budget, Judiciary, and Energy and Commerce Committees, supporting legislation to suppress illegal immigration, restrict telephone sex lines, and illegalize flag desecration.

He attempted to block federal funding of evolution-related exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution in 1982, and pushed for easing the separation of church and state.

On fiscal issues, he advocated budget cuts in social programs, renegotiation of the national debt, tax reduction, and deregulation. He was the lead Republican sponsor of the 1985 deregulation of natural gas prices.

In 1989, he was one of the successful House managers in the impeachment trial of then-Judge Walter Nixon for committing perjury in front of a grand jury.

Dannemeyer was an outspoken critic of homosexuality and on June 29 1989, infamously read a graphic description of gay sex into the Congressional Record entitled "What Homosexuals Do." In this statement, Dannemeyer said:

activities peculiar to homosexuality include: Rimming, or one man using his tongue to lick the rectum of another man; golden showers, having one man or men urinate on another man or men; fisting or handballing, which has one man insert his hand and/or part of his arm into another man's rectum; and using what are euphemistically termed 'toys' such as one man inserting dildoes, certain vegetables, or lightbulbs up another man's rectum."

He gained national notoriety with his proposals to stop the emerging AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, such as banning HIV-positive immigrants. He was the only prominent politician to support the LaRouche movement's Proposition 64 in 1986. ["Dannemeyer's AIDS Views Have Moderated Somewhat; ROBERT W. STEWART. "Los Angeles Times" Los Angeles, Calif.: May 15, 1989. pg. 3] A California ballot initiative he backed, Proposition 102, would have mandated widespread testing, tracing of sexual partners by state authorities, and a mandatory quarantine of persons with AIDS. It failed by a considerable margin. He did succeed in pushing hospitals to notify post-1977 recipients of blood transfusions that they were at risk. In 1989 he published "Shadow in the Land: Homosexuality in America", attacking the gay rights movement.

In 1985, Dannemeyer voiced his concern with AIDS, " [People with AIDS] emit spores that have been known to cause birth defects."

In 1992, Dannemeyer did not run for reelection to the House. Instead, he ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator, but lost to fellow Orange County Republican John F. Seymour.

Post-Congressional activities

In 1994, in a letter to congressional leaders, Dannemeyer listed 24 people with some connection to then-President Clinton who had died "under other than natural circumstances" and called for hearings on the matter. The list was mostly compiled by Linda Thompson, an Indianapolis lawyer who in 1993 quit her year-old general practice to found the American Justice Federation, a for-profit group that promotes pro-gun causes and various conspiracy theories through a shortwave radio program, a computer bulletin board and sales of its newsletter and videos." The list is known as the "Clinton Body Count" and is still maintained on several right-wing conspiracy-oriented websites [http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/outrage/clinton.htm] .

In 1994, Dannemeyer ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator, but lost to Michael Huffington. After leaving public office, he remained a harsh critic of the Clinton Administration.

In September 2006, Dannemeyer sent a letter to all 400+ police chiefs in California, as well as to all 58 county sheriffs and district attorneys and to the state Attorney General, urging that there had been a serious miscarriage of justice in the Scott Peterson case. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/10/23/BAG83LU0M21.DTL sfgate.com] ]

Dannemeyer is on the board of directors of the Catholic League (headed by William Donohue).


*CongBio|D000044 Retrieved on 2008-07-23
* [http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/dc/dcdocuments09.htm Speech on Sodomy in 1990]

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