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David Timothy Dreier

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 26th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 1981
Preceded by James F. Lloyd

Chairman of the House Rules Committee
In office
Preceded by Gerald B. H. Solomon
Succeeded by Louise Slaughter

Born July 5, 1952 (1952-07-05) (age 57)
Kansas City, Missouri
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Unmarried
Residence San Dimas, California
Alma mater Claremont Men's College
Occupation real estate executive
Religion Christian Science

David Timothy Dreier (born July 5, 1952), American politician, has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since January 1981, representing California's 26th congressional district.[1] He was first elected to the U.S. House in 1980.


Early life

Dreier was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where his family continues to be active in real estate development; he is Vice President of Dreier Development Company in Kansas City. He graduated with a B.A. from Claremont Men's College (now Claremont McKenna College) in 1975 and an M.A. from the Claremont Graduate School (now Claremont Graduate University) in 1976. He was director of corporate relations for Claremont McKenna College before entering the House.

Dreier claims to be a distant relative of Richard Bland Lee, a Democratic congressman from Virginia who served on the first Rules Committee empaneled by the House of Representatives.[2]

Political career

In 1978, Dreier decided to run for the United States House of Representatives at the age of 26. He ran against incumbent Democrat James Fredrick Lloyd, who had first won in an upset in a Republican-leaning district in 1974. Though unknown, Dreier ran a spirited campaign. Lloyd won that race by 54% to 46%, and Dreier ran again in 1980. Helped by local enthusiasm for Ronald Reagan and the unpopularity of President Jimmy Carter, Dreier won.

In 1982, the district that Dreier represented was merged with that of fellow Republican Congressman Wayne Grisham as part of a redistricting plan engineered by Phillip Burton. Dreier outspent Grisham and won by 57% to 43%.

Dreier served as chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee from 1999 until 2007. He has also served as chairman of California's Republican Congressional Delegation since 2001. Dreier was a major player in helping elect Arnold Schwarzenegger in California's 2003 recall election, and is a frequent guest on the political talk show circuit. Whenever Dreier recognizes his colleagues to yield time, he usually mentions the hometown of the member, not just the state that member represents as all other representatives do. He referred to former Rules Committee Chairman Gerald B.H. Solomon as the "gentleman from Glens Falls, New York" and current Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter as the "gentlelady from Rochester".

Throughout his early Congressional service, Dreier established a record as a strong supporter of tax cuts and of President Reagan's anti-Communist foreign policy. One of the youngest as well as the first Californian Rules Chairman in history, Dreier plays a pivotal role in fashioning legislation promoting Republican Party positions on Social Security, child education, taxes, and national security.

Locally, Dreier is well known for supporting local institutions such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Metro Gold Line, and advocates for transportation improvements such as railroad grade separations and highway expansion. He supported bipartisan efforts to create legislation to prevent runaway film production.

Dreier has served for many years as a trustee of Claremont McKenna College, his undergraduate alma mater, which falls within his Congressional district.[3]

According to Roll Call magazine, Dreier has a personal fortune in excess of $7.5 million[4] and as much as $29 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.[5]

Dreier is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership.

Dreier was also involved in proposing the Peace Officer Justice Act. This bill, if it becomes law, would make it a federal offense to flee the United States after having murdered a police officer. This legislation was strongly opposed by Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.[6]

Dreier also publicly supported a provision in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 that excludes many US troops and legal immigrants from receiving federal tax rebates.[7]

Dreier's behavior during his visit to Colombia's Lower House Chamber on August 28, 2007[8] caused a stir among the nation's politicians and media. Dreier sat on the podium during a hearing before a gathering of local lawmakers[9] in the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia, seen by many as a sign of disrespect towards his Colombian counterparts.[10] Dreier formally apologized on August 30, 2007. According to a Reuters story, Dreier said, "I meant absolutely no offense ... I simply wanted to demonstrate my warm feeling and affection."[11]

2004 campaign

Rep. David Dreier's congress photo for the 109th Congress.

In 2004, Dreier faced strong criticism on his stances on illegal immigration from opponent Cynthia Matthews.[12] Dreier was accused of not supporting reimbursement of expenses incurred by state and local governments to serve illegal immigrants, supporting increases in the numbers of H1B visas allowed for skilled workers, not acting effectively enough in obtaining the extradition of a suspect who allegedly killed a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy, and supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants. The immigration attacks were especially damaging.

The National Republican Congressional Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) against The "John and Ken Show" on Los Angeles station KFI) alleging that the hosts, employees of Clear Channel Communications, were engaging in an illegal contribution to Matthews' campaign. The hosts held regular anti-Dreier rallies at his Glendora field office, had Matthews on frequently to discuss her positions on immigration, and dissected statements made by Dreier to other media outlets. Following his "outing" by L.A. Weekly in late September 2004, Dreier's sexual orientation and relationship to chief-of-staff Brad Smith were also discussed on the show (see "Sexual Orientation", below).

Dreier was not the originator of the NRCC complaint and disavowed orchestrating the complaint. The hosts continued the allegedly infringing activity through the election and on February 24, 2006, the FEC declared that the charges were without merit. In an interview on KABC's Doug McIntyre program, Dreier denied the charges regarding immigration. [6]

In spite of outspending his opponent by nearly 2-1,[citation needed] his opponent's unpopularity in the Democratic Party, and representing a Republican-leaning district, Dreier won his 2004 race with 54 percent of the vote[13] in the 2004 election and Dreier's then-worst total since 1980. In 2008, Dreier won with his now-worst total of 52.7 percent.[14]

House Majority Leader bid

Congressman David Dreier at the Walnut Family Festival Parade in Walnut, California. Photo by Frederick Nacino

Following the indictment of Tom DeLay on September 28, 2005, Dreier was widely expected to temporarily assume the position of House Majority Leader.[15]. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert favored Dreier for the position, presumably because Dreier has consistently adhered to the views of the Republican leadership and would have been willing to relinquish the title immediately should DeLay be able to return to the Majority Leader position. However, a conference of rank-and-file Republican representatives disapproved of the choice of Dreier in such a senior position largely because many conservative Republican House members believe that Dreier is too politically moderate. According to Dreier spokeswoman Jo Maney, Dreier declined the temporary Majority Leader position because he "would have had to give up his chairmanship of the Rules Committee to move to another position, and that's not something that he wanted to do."[16]

Openly-gay Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, when asked whether Dreier was passed over for the position because of his "moderate" views, told a crowd of reporters "Yes, in the sense that I marched in the moderate pride parade last summer and went to a moderate bar.”[17][18]

The House Majority Leader position instead went to then Majority Whip Roy Blunt, though both Dreier and then Deputy Majority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia shared in some duties.[19] Rep. John Boehner was later elected House Majority Leader.

2006 campaign

On October 2, 2005, Dreier announced he would be running for re-election. Flanked by the mayor of the city of San Dimas and the Los Angeles County Sheriff, Dreier said he would campaign on a platform of being tough on illegal immigration, supporting the "war on terror", and supporting harsher penalties for those who commit crimes against law enforcement. La Cañada businessman Sonny Sardo challenged Dreier for his seat in the June 6, 2006, Republican Primary. Dreier received 65 percent of the vote, while Sardo received 27 percent of the vote and Melvin Milton 8 percent of the vote.

Russ Warner and Dreier's former opponent Cynthia Matthews, both Democrats, ran for the right to oppose Dreier in the general election. Matthews won the election with 47 percent of the vote compared to 38 percent for Warner and Hoyt Hilsman with 15 percent of the vote. On November 7, 2006, Dreier defeated Matthews, receiving 57.0 percent of the total votes to her 37.9 percent, with 3.3 percent going to Ted Brown (Libertarian Party) and 1.8 percent to Elliott Graham (American Independent Party).

Committee assignments

Sexual orientation

In the fall of 2004, journalist Doug Ireland claimed to "out" Dreier in print in L.A. Weekly, in its issue of September 24–September 30, 2004.[20][21] The L.A. Weekly printed that Dreier had had a romantic relationship with his longtime chief of staff, Brad W. Smith, who at the time collected a $156,600 government salary. Smith earned the highest possible salary allowed by law for a committee staff member[22] and was reportedly the highest-paid chief of staff working for any House of Representatives committee chair. ("By comparison," wrote Ireland, "the chief of staff to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee makes $126,000, while the chief of staff to the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee makes just $100,696.")[20][23][24]

The alleged "outing" was a result of Dreier coming under increasing scrutiny from gay rights groups because of his voting record, which includes support of the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as votes against gay adoption,[citation needed] and against inclusion of homosexuals as a protected class in hate crime. However, he did vote for employment discrimination legislation to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2007. [25]

Dreier's 1998 and 2000 Democratic opponent, Janice Nelson, alleged that his relationship with Smith had been an open secret for many years. His 2004 opponent, Cynthia Matthews, came out of the closet and demanded that Dreier do the same. Dreier did not publicly respond to these charges, which were discussed on local radio programs in his district. At the time, the mainstream U.S. print media did not cover the story (although the controversy was later, in June 2005, addressed in the British press[26] after it was announced that British prime minister Tony Blair's son Euan would work as an unpaid intern for Dreier's committee during the summer of 2005).

Amid the controversy, Dreier voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment on September 30, 2004. He explained his opposition to the amendment by stating that he felt the Constitution was not the appropriate tool for restricting rights.[citation needed]

Dreier also opposed hate crimes protections for gay people in his vote against the Matthew Shepard Act.

On September 6, 2007, blogger Mike Rogers outed Dreier on Talk of the Nation on NPR. The topic of the program was, "The Ethics of Outing."[27]

Dreier's alleged closeted sexuality is one of the features of the 2009 documentary film Outrage. The film depicted photos of various exotic vacation locales around the world that were visited by Dreier, noting that each time, Dreier's chief of staff Brad W. Smith would arrive at the same getaway spot a day later.

26th District statistics

As of 2002, there are 639,088 people in the 26th District of California.

In the 2000 general election, the voters of the 26th District of California voted:

In the 2004 general election:

In the 2008 general election:

Median Household Income: $74,839[30]


External links


  1. ^ map
  2. ^ David Dreier, CQ's Politics in America 2006, 109th Congress, Congressional Quarterly Publications (2006)
  3. ^ "Claremont McKenna Board of Trustees". Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  4. ^ David Dreier
  5. ^ David Dreier: Campaign Finance/ Money Retrieved February 3, 2009.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Tax rebate exclusions draw controversy - Los Angeles Times
  8. ^ Associated Press, 28 August, 2007
  9. ^ Associated Press and Johnny Hoyos at
  10. ^ ""Desplante" de congresista gringo en plenaria de la Cámara". Caracol Radio (Caracol). 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-08-29. "Como un desplante fuera de las normas protocolarias y de cortesía fue calificada la intervención de un congresista de Estados Unidos en la plenaria realizada el martes por la Cámara de Representantes" 
  11. ^ LA Times blogs at:, Reuters story no longer archived.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Election 2004
  14. ^
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Californian looked likely, but Missouri lawmaker takes DeLay post
  17. ^ The Raw Story: Republicans rebuffed congressman in part due to speculation he was gay, congressman and reporters say
  18. ^ - Barney Frank: Dreier's orientation cost him the House leadership
  19. ^ - DeLay blasts indictment, prosecutor — Sep 29, 2005
  20. ^ a b LA Weekly - News - The Outing - Doug Ireland - The Essential Online Resource for Los Angeles
  21. ^ LA Weekly - News - Quiet, Dear - Doug Ireland - The Essential Online Resource for Los Angeles
  22. ^ The Blue Lemur - Progressive Politics and Media News » Chief of Staff alleged to have lived with Dreier has unusually high salary
  23. ^ The Raw Story | Anti-gay congressman David Dreier, said gay, 'lived with male chief of staff'
  24. ^ The Raw Story | Rep. David Dreier's challenger says she's a lesbian, and blasts Dreier's gay positions
  25. ^ Open Congress, House Roll Call Vote #1057
  26. ^ Euan Blair gets job in US as an intern | Special Reports | Guardian Unlimited Politics
  27. ^ NPR: Debating the Ethics of 'Outing'
  28. ^ [2]
  29. ^ [3]
  30. ^ [4]
  31. ^ [5]
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James F. Lloyd
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 35th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jerry Lewis
Preceded by
Wayne R. Grisham
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 33rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Lucille Roybal-Allard
Preceded by
Julian C. Dixon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 28th congressional district

Succeeded by
Howard L. Berman
Preceded by
Howard L. Berman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 26th congressional district

2003 – present
Political offices
Preceded by
Gerald B. H. Solomon
New York
Chairman of House Rules Committee
Succeeded by
Louise Slaughter
New York

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