The Dan Lungren trivia challenge!

Think you know your Congressman? Take SN&R’s quiz and learn fun facts!

With thanks to Paul Slansky and The New Yorker for the model provided in "The Bush Quiz."

Congressman Dan Lungren is in for the fight of his life. On November 6, either he or his challenger, local physician Ami Bera, will be elected to represent most of Sacramento County in the 113th Congress. It’s one of the most hotly contested House races in the country; polls show the contenders are neck and neck, each with about 47 percent of predicted voters.

Lungren, whose career in politics is exhaustive, was first elected to Congress at age 32, where he represented Long Beach for 10 years until he was elected California’s attorney general in 1990. After serving eight years at that post, he ran against Gray Davis for governor, failed, and, after a brief hiatus as a lobbyist, boomeranged back to Congress, representing the Sacramento region.

Just in time for the upcoming District 7 election, and in honor of Lungren’s long career in government, SN&R devised the following 47-question trivia challenge. Check your answers against the key below and enjoy! (Please note: All facts stated in this quiz are accurate, but there is only one correct answer to each question.)

1. Which of the following nicknames or titles have been bestowed on Dan Lungren?

a) “The Bull”

b) “Styrofoam Dan”

c) “Knight of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine of America”

d) all of the above

2. Dan Lungren won his first congressional seat in 1978. To what did pundits credit his win?

a) The unpopularity of then-President Jimmy Carter

b) The simultaneous passage of Proposition 13

c) His blunt opposition to the policies of California’s then-Gov. Jerry Brown

d) The fact that his father, John Lungren, was former President Richard Nixon’s personal physician

3. In 1983, Congressman Dan Lungren voted against the Equal Rights Amendment that stated succinctly that “legal rights cannot be abridged on the basis of sex.”

a) True

b) False

4.Which individual, in 1984, told The New York Times, “There’s a whole network of very strong religious groups in this country. And they’ve only begun talking to one another in the last few years.”

a) Newt Gingrich

b) Rush Limbaugh

c) Jerry Falwell

d) Dan Lungren

5.Which ultraconservative organization with the goal of “taking back” Congress was Dan Lungren a founding member of during his time in the House?

a) The tea party, officially dedicating to reducing the role of government and “restoring America’s founding principles”

b) The Conservative Opportunity Society, dedicated to reducing the role of government, combating “the liberal welfare state” and saving “moral values”

c) The Club for Growth, dedicated to “lower taxes and limited government”

d) The Moral Majority, dedicated to reinforcing the family and reintegrating religion into society

6. In 1987, Congressman Dan Lungren vigorously opposed the effort to have the U.S. government make reparations to surviving Japanese-Americans relocated to internment camps during World War II.

a) True

b) False

7. Which of the following Dan Lungren activities did Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau satirize in his famous cartoon strip?

a) Lungren’s status as lead singer in a rock band called Elvis and the Lawmen

b) Lungren’s 1996 use, as attorney general, of 100 agents and a battering ram to raid the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, which distributed medical marijuana to cancer and AIDS patients

c) Lungren’s uncharacteristic bid in 2011, to restore Yosemite National Park’s Hetch Hetchy Valley to its natural state

d) Lungren’s traffic stop by police for speeding in the Commonwealth of Virginia in July 2010 while live on the air in a KFBK interview

8. Which member of Dan Lungren’s family has not been employed as a high-powered Sacramento or Washington, D.C., lobbyist?

a) Brother

b) Wife

c) Son

d) Self

9. Attorney General Dan Lungren pursued only 15 polluter prosecutions during his eight years in office while his predecessor, Attorney General John Van de Kamp, pursued 179 pollution cases in four years.

a) True

Was it Stephen Colbert or Congressman Dan Lungren who said, “Let freedom ka-ching” about the Citizens United ruling that allows unlimited campaign spending by corporations?

b) False

10. When Dan Lungren told the Los Angeles Times, “This thing is a disaster. … An unprecedented mess,” to what was he referring?

a) The overwhelming passage (56 to 44 percent) of Proposition 215, a 1996 measure to legalize medical marijuana in California

b) The aftermath of a report in The New York Times that Lungren “sweated profusely” under the hot television lights during his 1998 gubernatorial debate with then-Lt. Gov. Gray Davis

c) Passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2008 (which he voted against)

d) The California Citizens Redistricting Commission map, which recently put Lungren’s GOP-majority district into a newly drawn District 7 (including Elk Grove, Citrus Heights, Carmichael, Folsom) that leaned slightly Democratic

11. Who is Marian Johnston?

a) A nationally recognized lawyer (Stanford University and Columbia Law School graduate) who headed the civil-rights division at the California attorney general’s office when Lungren arrived as boss there in 1991

b) A lawyer who was demoted seven months into Lungren’s first term and removed from a civil-rights case where she had “expert” status

c) An attorney whose demotion by the state’s attorney general helped spark a flurry of protests, disapproving editorials and a 100-lawyer walkout at Lungren’s 1991 keynote speech at the California state bar convention in Anaheim

d) All of the above

12.After serving two terms as attorney general, and failing to win his 1998 bid against Gray Davis to become governor of California, Dan Lungren became a radio talk-show host on Catholic Family Radio, speaking about taxes, abortion and traditional family values.

a) True

b) False

13. Despite a new congressional ethics law meant to stop lobbyists from buying vacations for legislators, Dan Lungren drew fire when he and his wife traveled first-class to Hawaii’s Big Island in May 2008 for an American Association of Airport Executives gathering. ABC News reported that Lungren, finding a loophole, had billed $4,900 for lodging and travel as a “campaign expense.” Which of the following occurred in Hawaii?

a) The gathering at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, which kicked off with a banquet featuring a pig roasting over a spit, included a Lungren fundraiser that easily “raised” the funds that paid for the trip

b) Lungren was filmed by ABC TV cameras, hanging out at the pool, wearing what a reporter called “a festive yellow Hawaiian shirt”

c) As chairman of an important congressional committee overseeing airport security, Lungren told the ABC reporter filming this that his conference with airport executives was “in full compliance with ethics laws”

d) All of the above

14. Physician Bill Durston, who ran against Lungren for Congress in 2008, said this: “While I was fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, [he] was sitting out the war on a medical draft deferment, serving as the chair of youth for Nixon.”

a) True

b) False

15. Dan Lungren voted in March 2011 against removing U.S. armed forces from Afghanistan.

a) True

b) False

Match the quote about the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United (which allows unlimited campaign spending and acknowledged “corporate personhood”) with the person who said it:

16. Sacramento-born Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

17. Ami Bera, local physician and District 7 candidate

18. Stephen Colbert

19. Congressman Dan Lungren

a) “I would support anything to overturn Citizens United. … [It’s] corrosive to politics.”

b) “The absence of prearrangement and coordination … alleviates the danger that expenditures will be given as a quid pro quo for improper commitments from the candidate.”

c) “This is a great day, Mr. Speaker. The Supreme Court finally got it right.”

d) “Let freedom ka-ching. … Corporations do everything people do except breathe, die and go to jail for dumping 1.3 million pounds of PCBs in the Hudson River.”

Match the individual with their super PAC:

20. Steven Colbert

21. Koch Brothers

22. Karl Rove

23. Jonathan Soros

a) Americans for Prosperity

b) American Crossroads (now affiliated with Crossroads GPS)

c) Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow

True or false: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s failed push to “green” the congressional cafeteria resulted in a new nickname for Congressman Dan Lungren, “Styrofoam Dan”?

d) Friends of Democracy

24. From the list of super PACs in questions 20-23, choose the Karl Rove-backed one that gave Dan Lungren $670,000 for attack ads during the last two weeks of his close 2010 re-election bid against local physician Ami Bera and is widely acknowledged to have won the seat for Lungren?

25. Überconservative casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given a combined $36.3 million to super PACs so far in the 2012 election cycle (according to CalPIRG’s “Megaphones for Millionaires”). At least $5 million of that has gone to the super PAC American Action Network that recently sent mailers to help Lungren.

a) True

b) False

26. Jonathan Soros, son of liberal hedge-fund billionaire George Soros, plans to raise $8 million for his super PAC to support 10 or more Democratic candidates in swing races, including local physician Ami Bera’s race against Dan Lungren. Soros has already given $180,000 to this cause. What is Soros’ avowed reason for giving Bera money?

a) Because Lungren has repeatedly voted against gay marriage and against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation

b) Because Lungren holds a “radical” position on campaign-finance reform, e.g. he applauds Citizens United and believes all caps should be eliminated on direct contributions to candidates

c) Because Lungren voted in 2011 to defund Planned Parenthood and all its affiliates

d) Because just a few months ago, Lungren voted to block a piece of legislation, the Stop the Rate Hike Act of 2012, that would have stopped the doubling of student loan rates for 7 million students

Which quote from Dan Lungren matches what circumstance?

27. “They are moving us closer and closer to pacifism.”

28. “President Clinton and her husband Bill …”

29. “If I was starting a football team in a national budget league, I’d pick Paul Ryan as the captain and quarterback.”

30. “I cannot say, per se, that waterboarding is torture.”

a) His answer to a question at a Folsom town-hall meeting in 2007 about America’s use in Iraq of a torture technique prohibited by U.S. military law and the Geneva Conventions

b) His remark about the sitting president and first lady during a breakfast speech at the 1996 California state GOP convention in Anaheim

c) His comment to the Wall Street Journal about the current GOP vice presidential pick’s 2011 budget bill

d) His response in 1983 during the height of the Cold War to the Catholic Bishops who took a stand against nuclear weapons and what they called an “unwinnable” arms race

31. Dan Lungren receives an annual $56,000 pension from the state of California for serving as attorney general of California for eight years. He accepted a 25.9 percent raise during his last month in office (known as pension spiking) that resulted in this comparatively high annuity.

a) True

b) False

32. As a member of Congress, Dan Lungren receives an annual salary of $174,000. After he leaves the House, and in addition to his pension (above) from the state of California, Lungren will be eligible for an additional $64,000 a year in federal, inflation-protected pension benefits.

a) True

b) False

33. Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said in 2009 that President Barack Obama’s health-care plan would create “death panels” for seniors. True or False: Dan Lungren joined in, claiming Obama’s plan would require a 100-year-old woman in need of a pacemaker to “take a pain pill instead.”

a) True

b) False

34. Though largely embraced by the tea party, Dan Lungren is controversial among this group’s membership for one chief reason. What is it?

a) For deciding, in 1983, to change his previous opposition to Martin Luther King Jr. Day becoming a federal holiday

b) For claiming to be an earmark reformer while requesting and obtaining earmarks (a total of $93.13 million in 2009) for his district

c) For sharing his family’s famous holiday Jell-O recipe on NPR (use cherry Jell-O, jellied cranberries and sour cream)

d) For being present at Newt Gingrich’s first communion in 2009 when the former speaker converted to Catholicism

35. Dan Lungren has not been endorsed by the Sierra Club or the League of Conservation Voters. Why?

a) In 2011, he advocated for expansion of offshore oil drilling, the development of shale oil reserves and drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska

b) In 2011, he voted for barring the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases and, earlier, voted to bar greenhouse gases from Clean Air Act rules

c) In June 2009, he voted no on enforcing limits on CO2 global-warming pollution and, the year before, voted no on tax credits for renewable energy

d) All of the above

36. What earned Dan Lungren the nickname “Styrofoam Dan”?

a) His claim that efforts to combat climate change are “ideologically driven”

b) His refusal in 2011 to approve Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to “green” the House cafeteria

c) His performance on the floor of the House in 2009, invoking Harold Hill from The Music Man by rapping, “Oh, we got trouble, right here in Capitol City, with a capital ’T’ and that rhymes with ’D,’ and that stands for “Democrat”

Was it Jon Stewart or Congressman Dan Lungren who remarked that George W. Bush “answers questions the way an 8-year-old does when they didn’t read the book”?

d) His claim that the regulation of carbon by the Environmental Protection Agency is a “vicious blow” to “our freedom”

37. To what do Democrats credit Dan Lungren’s 2011 call to restore Yosemite National Park’s magnificent Hetch Hetchy Valley?

a) As a political ploy to irritates House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco

b) As a political ploy to irritate Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who lives in San Francisco

c) As a political ploy to irritate both Pelosi and Feinstein

d) As a fitting tribute to naturalist John Muir, who, like Lungren, wanted Hetch Hetchy restored to its ecological glory

38. Dan Lungren voted in favor of three of the following bills while in Congress. Which one did he vote against?

a) HR 1800, the 2011 reauthorization of key provisions of the Patriot Act which, for example, extended roving wiretaps for another six years

b) HR 801, a 2005 bill to allow human embryonic stem-cell research lines

c) HR 3, a 2011 bill that sought to prohibit federal funding of abortion

d) HR 1076, the March 2011 bill to end federal funding of National Public Radio

39. Dan Lungren is considered one of the House members most vulnerable to losing his congressional seat on November 6. Which campaign and sponsoring group has made defeating Lungren one of its top priorities?

a) Tea Party Ten, Credo’s project targeting the most extreme members of Congress

b) Flat Earth Five, the League of Conservation Voters’ project targeting key “climate change deniers” in Congress

c) Red to Blue, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s project to return its party to a majority in Congress

d) All of the above

40. Dan Lungren has received more than $1 million in campaign contributions from financial interests over his career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Which of the following votes has he cast in just the last two years that involve the regulation of the financial industry?

a) Voted against the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, a bill to improve accountability and transparency in financial institutions and end “too big to fail”

b) Voted for HR 839, the 2011 HAMP Termination Act that eliminated a government foreclosure-prevention program that sought to obtain loan modification for homeowners on their mortgage debt

c) Voted for HR 1315, a Wall Street-backed bill that, in June of 2011, eviscerated the Dodd-Frank bill

d) All of the above

41. GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s 2011 budget sought to alter Medicare drastically and would raise health-care costs for future retirees by $6,400 per year (according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities). Dan Lungren vigorously supported Ryan and voted for his budget.

a) True

b) False

42. Dan Lungren voted in 2011 for a plan that took nearly $55 million from Pell grants with the cuts affecting nearly 65,000 students—one-third of University of California undergraduates.

a) True

b) False

Match the quote about a former president with its originator:

43. Stephen Colbert

44. Dan Lungren

45. Hillary Rodham Clinton

46. Jon Stewart

a) “I suffered emotionally through [Richard Nixon’s] ordeals. We reject his advice and counsel to our detriment.”

b) “If we cared about facts … would President [Ronald] Reagan have won the 1987 NBA slam-dunk contest? No!”

c) “He’s tremendous. … [George W. Bush] answers questions the way an 8-year-old does when they didn’t read the book.”

d) “My husband is not the secretary of state, I am.”

47. Which of the following groups have been formed to help remove Dan Lungren from office on November 6?

a) Women Against Lungren

b) Veterans Against Lungren

c) Students Against Lungren

d) Environmentalists Against Lungren

e) Seniors Against Lungren

f) All of the above


1. d; 2. b; 3. a; 4. d; 5. b; 6. a; 7. b; 8. b; 9. a; 10. a; 11. d; 12. a; 13. d; 14. a; 15. a; 16. b; 17. a; 18. d; 19. c; 20. c; 21. a; 22. b; 23. d; 24. b; 25. a; 26. b; 27. d; 28. b; 29. c; 30. a; 31. a; 32. a; 33. a; 34. b; 35. d; 36. b; 37. c; 38. b; 39. d; 40. d; 41. a; 42. a; 43. b; 44. a; 45. d; 46. c; 47. f

Bonus round questions!

1. Dan Lungren voted no in 2009 on Edward Kennedy’s Serve America Act to promote volunteerism and public service as “a new social invention.”

a) True

b) False

2. Of the following, which can Dan Lungren take credit for?

a) He co-authored California’s landmark three-strikes law

b) He single-handedly stopped contraceptive activist Sandra Fluke (who Rush Limbaugh called a “slut,” making her famous) from speaking in Congress to a panel on birth control

c) He helped organize an all-night House floor debate in the early ‘80s, in support of a constitutional amendment to permit prayer in schools

d) All of the above

3. The greater Sacramento media market, which includes up to four potentially competitive congressional races during the upcoming 2012 election season, including the Dan Lungren vs. Ami Bera contest, has accumulated $10 million in ad reservations by both the national parties and various super PACs through Election Day.

a) True

b) False


1. a; 2. d; 3. a