Editor's Note: This biography was written by Tech Law Journal in 1999. James Rogan lost his bid for reelection in November 2000.

Biography of James Rogan

James Rogan, Member of Congress for the 27th Congressional District, Republican.

Background. Rep. Rogan is a young, articulate, effective, rising star of the Republican party. He is also pro high tech. However, as a conservative (and a House Manager of the Clinton impeachment trial) from a swing district in Hollywood's back yard, he is also being targeted for defeat.

Rep. Rogan comes from a hard luck, wrong side of the tracks, background. But his professional career is full of sterling accomplishments. He never knew his father. His stepfather was a drunk, and his mother a felon. He dropped out of high school. With support from his grandparents, he attended community college, U.C. Berkeley, and then UCLA law school, where he made the law review.

This page was last updated on July 10, 1999.

After a brief stint with the posh law firm now named Pillsbury Madison and Sutro, he became a prosecutor for Los Angeles County. He specialized in the prosecution of gang murderers. He also prosecuted rapists, child molesters, drug traffickers and murderers. He was named by California Lawyer magazine as one of the state's most effective prosecutors. Then, in 1990, at the age of 33, he was appointed California's youngest judge. He served as presiding judge in 1993-4.

He was next elected to the California State Assembly. In January 1996, he was unanimously elected by the Republican Caucus to serve as Assembly Majority Leader. In its annual poll, Rogan was named by California Journal as the most effective legislator as well as number one in integrity among his colleagues.

In 1996 he successfully ran for the Congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Carlos Moorhead.

District. Rep. Rogan represents the 27th District in southern California. It includes the cities of Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, Sunland, Tujunga, La Crescenta, La Canada, Altadena, and a small portion of Los Angeles. The old 27th, which had re-elected GOP Rep. Carlos Moorhead with large margins in the 1980s, was redistricted after the 1990 census. Redistricting, combined with demographic changes, have made the district more Democratic, and more racially diverse, with around 10% each black, hispanic and Asian.

Related Story: Rogan Introduces Bill to Increase Damages for Copyright Infringement, 5/13/99.

Many of the Burbank and other residents of the district work for NBC and Disney studios. Not surprisingly, Rep. Rogan has taken a keen interest in protecting the copyright interests of the entertainment industry, as well as the rights all intellectual property owners. The district is also home to many engineering and high tech firms located around CalTech in Pasadena.

Ideologically, Rep. Rogan is out of tune with entertainment industry liberals. Yet, on commercial issues, he is one of the industry's best placed and most effective advocates in the Congress.

On the one hand, Hollywood liberals find much to despise in Rep. Rogan. He was one of the House Managers of Clinton's Senate impeachment trial. He is a born again Christian, and pro-life social conservative. He is also a law and order former prosecutor. That he is also a young, articulate, rising star of the national Republican party, makes him all the more objectionable.

As an example, David Geffen, the billionaire record producer (Asylum Records, Geffen Records, and Dreamworks) and AIDS activist, has said that he would work to unseat Rogan in 2000.

On the other hand, Rogan is a key player in protecting the economic interests of the entertainment industry. He is strategically placed with his assignments on the Judiciary Committtee and its Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee, as well as the Commerce Committee and its Telecom Subcommittee. Also, he has taken the lead in strengthening copyright law.

New digital technologies, which are making it increasing easy for copyrighted materials to be stolen and distributed, are threatening the bottom line of the entertainment industry. Rep. Rogan will likely be one of the industry's most effective advocates in future legislative battles to protect their intellectual property.

While liberal activists like Geffen oppose Rogan, FEC records for the 1997-1998 election cycle show that the PACs and/or employees of Sony, TimeWarner, Warner Brothers, Disney, Universal Studios, Motion Picture Association of America, National Association of Broadcasters, and National Cable Television Association (and many cable companies), contributed to Rogan's campaign.

Committee Assignments. Rep. Rogan has the ideal set of committee and subcommittee assignments for a Representative interested in high tech issues. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and its Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. The CIP subcommittee has jurisdiction over patent, trademark, copyright, and related matters of importance to high tech. The Immigration subcommittee has jurisdiction over H1B visas for highly skilled high tech workers.

He is also on the House Commerce and its Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection, which together have jurisdiction over most of the rest of the important high tech bills. He also sits on the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

Excerpts from a February 11, 1999 New York Times story about Bill Clinton's personal vendetta against Rep. Rogan and other House Managers.
President Clinton is so furious at House Republicans over his impeachment, his advisers say, that he has vowed to mount an all-out offensive to knock off many of his foes and win back the House for Democrats in 2000. ...

Clinton was particularly angry at the House members managing the prosecution, according to his advisers, believing they have needlessly prolonged the impeachment trial. Most of those managers have seats that are considered safe.

"He knows the districts, he knows the candidates and he doesn't like these people," said one adviser who has discussed next year's elections with Clinton. "He's obviously real hot on the managers. He thinks winning back the House is part of his legacy." ...

Beyond the president, his impeachment has emboldened other Democrats who say they are eager to unseat House Republicans. "After these years of Ken Starr, people are more energized than I've seen them since the '60s and '70s," said David Geffen, the entertainment mogul and major Clinton supporter. Referring to Rep. James Rogan, a California Republican who is considered one of the most vulnerable House managers in 2000, he added, "Many of us are looking forward to spending time and money and effort to defeating James Rogan."

Legislative Activities. Rep. Rogan is probably best know publicly for being one of the House Managers in the Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. However, he is active on a number of high tech issues, and supportive of high tech. He scored 80 out of 100 on the Tech Law Journal Congressional Scorecard 1998.

He is the sponsor of HR 1761, the Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999.

He is a cosponsor of many high tech bills, including:

Recent Election Data

1998 James Rogan 50% $1,259,523
Barry Gordon 47% $516,259
1996 James Rogan 50% $763,574
Doug Kahn 43% $1,052,335

Elections. Rep. Rogan is a junior Congressman with a tenuous hold on his seat. He narrowly won his first two elections. Democrats (and especially Bill Clinton) are likely to target him in 2000. Clinton carried the district in both 1992 and 1996. Rogan was first elected in 1996 with a bare majority of the vote in a race in which his Democratic outspent him with a $1,052,335 campaign. In 1998 he outspent his Democratic opponent, Barry Gordon, with $1,259,523 in campaign spending. He received significant contributions from Republican PACs, telecommunications industry PACs and individuals, accountants and their PACs, and doctors and their PACs. However, he only won a bare majority of the vote.


Work History.

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