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Rob Hurtt is a wealthy California businessman and was, in the mid 1990s, the California State Senate Republican Leader. He was also a catalyst in the recent vote for California's Proposition 8, which denies equality to gays and lesbians in the state of California, an effort to which he contributed a sum of anywhere from $278,070 to $550,000. With this sort of generousity toward wingnut politics, he has been called the "Daddy Warbucks" of the Christian Right. He is, indeed, a profile in right wing Christian hatred, as is evident in his being named a top top ten funder of Prop 8.

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According to Wikipedia

A businessman, Hurtt owns and operates a manufacturing company, Container Supply Company, of which he has been president for over 30 years and currently employs more than 200 people. Under Hurtt's presidency, Container Supply Company donated $278,070 to the 2008 capmaign to ban same-sex marriage in California.

Hurtt was elected to the Senate in a 1993 special election with 76% of the vote to represent the 32nd District after Senator Ed Royce vacated the seat to become a member of Congress. After redistricting, the district was renumbered the 34th District. During the 1990s, the 34th district consisted of portions of Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, La Palma, Santa Ana, Buena Park, Midway City, Stanton, and Westminster.

Elected to a full term in 1994, his priorities in the Senate were "reducing job-killing business regulation, eliminating wasteful government spending, expanding commitment to public safety, improving education, and reforming tax policies."

In 1998, Hurtt sought a second full term but was unexpectedly upset by attorney Joe Dunn who defeated Hurtt by 2%.

Hurtt's business information, provided by Californians Against Hate is:

Container Supply Company–PO Box 5367, Garden Grove, CA 92846-0367 • Tel: 714.892.8321

As an elected official, Hurtt proved to be little more than an ideologically driven mouthpiece for business interests, and was subject of a scathing 1998 profile in the L.A. Times, which noted the following.

His voting record this legislative session is the worst among state senators seeking reelection. He has won approval for only one of 48 bills introduced over the past two years. He ranks near the bottom in attendance on the Senate floor.

Heading into a potentially tough November reelection battle, state Sen. Rob Hurtt faces an unusual criticism: Democrats and even a few Republicans wonder if the wealthy industrialist really wants to keep the job.

Hurtt insists that he does, saying he intends to continue his pursuit of lower taxes, smaller government and friendlier regulations for California businesses.

But on the campaign trail, the conservative Republican from Garden Grove faces charges that he is spread too thin and has grown stale as a state lawmaker. While much of the talk is political bluster, there are some tangible signs that Hurtt’s interest in public service has waned, particularly when it comes to his voting record.

and

Even during his tenure as GOP Senate leader, Hurtt was viewed by many as oddly uninvolved, delegating many traditional responsibilities to subordinates. That only helped cement an image of disinterest. In budget talks with legislative leaders and the governor, for instance, Hurtt rarely spoke.

"Rob is not a natural politician," said one Republican Senate insider. "He doesn’t have patience or inclination to do the things politicians do, the schmoozing, the little things to build relationships–doing political favors, going to bat for people, getting chits."

Hurtt's legislative incompetence, which likely led to his downfall as an elected official, may have had something to do with an ideological, non pragmatic style

Hurtt rarely seeks incremental change as he pushes a legislative agenda of reducing taxes, curbing crime and slashing regulations on business. Instead of nibbling at an issue, he goes headlong. And mostly he loses. The Democrats don’t help much. Hurtt supporters say his bills invariably get rough treatment from the majority party.

And yet, Hurtt did have a few local fans.

"I like his performance," said Buck Johns, a leader in Orange County’s influential Lincoln Club. "The vote record is an overplayed statistic."

Instead, Johns said, Hurtt has brought business acumen to the Capitol and provided a campaign windfall for Republicans with his wallet.

"He’s made a run at reducing the size of government, reducing taxes, making government less intrusive," Johns said. "He’s done a good job helping organize and strengthen the party, and he was a key guy in getting a majority in the Assembly."

Hurtt's funding of Prop 8 at such a high level is a reflection of past practices of his PAC, called Allied Business PAC. As Common Cause explains,

Like the prospectors of long ago who looked over the frontier and saw opportunities for fortune and power they stand before a landscape without boundaries. The law is on their side. The enemy is disarmed. Their bank rolls are worth more than their face value. The place is California and it has become an El Dorado for a handful of business executives who just three years ago pooled resources to form Allied Business PAC.

Allied is the largest political action committee or PAC in the nation's biggest state. It's the child of frustration and money. It's what happened when a few wealthy entrepreneurs decided that just giving money to the Republican Party was like "giving it to a black hole," says Danielle Madison Allied's executive director. "You don't know where it goes. You can't say 'Look this is what we just got in return.'" So the executives decided to form a PAC of their own.

and

"Who are they representing?" asks Chris Soper, assistant professor of political science at Pepperdine University. "By virtue of their name it is not clear," he says, "(but) there have been accusations that they are the Christian right."

While Allied is not shy about extolling its founders' business know-how and family values, it puts less emphasis on its religious roots. "We are a conservative group; we are fiscally and socially conservative," Madison says.

Allied co-founder and largest backer Howard Ahmanson, for example, who inherited a multibillion-dollar savings-and-loan fortune, is also a top donor to the Christian "reconstructionist" movement, which wants to make biblical precepts the law of the land. "The Bible teaches that there should be the death penalty for homosexuals sodomites (and) adulterers because it is treason against the family," says reconstructionist leader Rev. R. J. Rushdoony. Allied co-founder Ed Atsinger, who made his fortune in Christian radio, and co-founders Robert Hurtt and Roland and Lila Hinz have also donated to religious right causes.

Allied's increasing influence in California politics has many observers worried; they believe the small but powerful PAC could be but the first of many wealthy groups to take advantage of the state's unique electoral and campaign financing laws. This is what can happen, they say, when terms for state officials are limited but campaign contributions to them are not. It is precisely that combination of unlimited money and a large number of open seats that has enabled Allied's handful of well-heeled backers to begin substantially reshaping the state's legislature in a very short time.

Such a system is particularly susceptible to manipulation by would-be political players with a strong ideological agenda and lots of money to put behind it, observers say. Because Allied's deep-pocketed principals support a pro-business, socially conservative and, some say, radical religious agenda, observers believe that policies governing the state's 31 million residents will reflect not the views of the majority but the values of the wealthy few.

Allied (later called California Independent Business PAC) has thus had success in California at electing anti-abortion, anti-feminist, anti-gay, pro-gun, pro-school prayer and pro-censorship elected officials. It has done this via success at fundraising, allowing it, for example, to do the following.

The pro-business, anti-abortion PAC, which emerged as a political force three years ago, was the biggest contributor to state legislative races in 1994.

According to Lockyer's figures, Allied Business contributed $5 million during 1993 and 1994 to state political causes, including Republican legislative candidates, the Republican Party and the failed school-voucher ballot initiative.

In November, Republicans won a majority in the 80-member state Assembly for the first time since 1971. Allied Business contributed to the campaigns of more than half of the Republicans who won Assembly seats.

This link indicates both Allied's exclusive funding of Republicans and also what a difference money makes for elections in a large, heavily populated state like California.

Hurtt is an affiliate of the far right Council for National Policy (CNP)

According to a November 26, 1995 article in The Los Angeles Times, California state Senator Rob Hurtt Jr. came under the influence of Dobson in the early 80s. Hurtt, in turn, helped bring together a group of men who have built a formidable political machine by spending over $8,000,000 from their own pockets to change the face of California politics. All are members of the CNP. This group of men now consists of:

*Howard Ahmanson. Jr., the heir to the Home Savings fortune, chair of the California Independent Business PAC, successor to the Allied Business PAC, 20+-year trustee of R. J. Rushdoony's Chalcedon, board member of the Claremont Institute, and deep-pocket political campaign contributor. In a 1985 Orange County Register interview, Ahmanson stated he wanted to dedicate his fortune to see that we had Biblical law integrated into our everyday lives.

*Roland Hinz, owner of Daisy/HiTorque Publications, publishers of Dirt Bike and Motocross magazines. His wife, Lila, has served on the board of directors of Paul Weyrich's National Empowerment TV.

*Edward G. Atsinger III, owner of 29 commercial Christian radio stations, graduate of Bob Jones University, and board member of the National Religious Broadcasters Association.

*Richard A. Riddle, owner of I. W. Walker, a box manufacturing company and a partner in Richray Industries, an import-export company which does a lot of business with South Korea, and a graduate of Bob Jones University.

In addition

Another CNP member is assemblywoman Barbara Alby, an ally of former state senator H. L. (Bill) Richardson, a long-time Christian Reconstructionist activist. Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian of San Diego County is a new member. Former assemblyman Patrick Nolan is still listed in the 1995 CNP phone directory as a member, although he is presently a resident of a federal correctional facility. Nolan pleaded no contest to political corruption charges. Christian Reconstructionist guru R.J. Rushdoony has been listed as a member for many years, although he claims he hasn't been to a meeting in years and doesn't know who pays his annual membership fees. Some other Californians who are members:

*Pat Boone, actor/singer/info-mercializer
*William Dannemeyer, former U.S. Representative
*Robert K. Dornan, U. S. Representative and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination
*William Saracino, Citizens for Responsible Representation, slate mailer expert
*Louis K. Uhler, U.S. Taxpayers Association, author of California legislative term limits
*Barbara Keating-Edh, Citizen Alert, failed candidate for the Assembly
*James Dignan, former chair of the Republican State Party
*Dr. Henry M. Morris, retiring president of the Institute for Creation Research
*Margret Lesher, former owner of the Lesher publishing empire which she reportedly sold for $350,000,000
*W. Robert Stover, chairman of Western Temporary Services (among their temporary services, they supply most of the Santas for department stores and malls in California)
*Larry Arnn, president of the Claremont Institute (promoters of the anti-affirmative action initiative)
*Robert W. Poole, president of the Reason Foundation
*Joseph Farah, former editor of the now-defunct Sacramento Union
*Ms. Terry Siemens, a former Miss California
*William Rusher, fellow of the Claremont Institute
*David Balsiger, movie and TV producer
*John Stoos, former executive director of California Gun Owners Association, political consultant

Given such extremist associations, and such deep pocketed support for institutionalized hate, Rob Hurtt represents a dangerous confluence of money, churches and state; he is an embodiment of the kind of Bush-Rove-Limbaugh-Dobson polarizing politics. That he helped fund a successful hate initiative in California points to the still dangerous power of the far right. Hopefully, the courts will declare this initiative unconstitutional.

And finally, what is particularly sickening is to think of all the good that could be done with $278,070 to $550,000.

Originally posted to Randian on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 03:47 AM PST.

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