George Vernon Hansen (September 14, 1930 – August 14, 2014) was a Republican politician from the state of Idaho. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years, representing Idaho's 2nd district from 1965 to 1969 and again from 1975 to 1985.
Born in Tetonia, Idaho, Hansen graduated from Ricks College (now Brigham Young University-Idaho) in 1956 and did graduate work at Idaho State University. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1954 and the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1964 to 1970. Hansen moved to Alameda, Idaho, and was established as a life insurance salesman by 1958.
Hansen was elected mayor of Alameda in 1961 and supported its merger with Pocatello the following year. Following the merger, Hansen served as a Pocatello city commissioner until 1965.
He was an unsuccessful candidate in the primary for the U.S. Senate in 1962, but won a seat in the House two years later in the 2nd district, ousting Democratic incumbent Ralph Harding. He was one of the few Republican challengers to unseat a Democrat in the wake of Lyndon Johnson's 44-state landslide that year.
He again ran for the U.S. Senate in 1968, but lost to two-term incumbent Frank Church, who would serve four terms. Hansen ran a third unsuccessful Senate campaign in 1972, losing the primary to 1st district congressman Jim McClure.
In 1974, Hansen upset three-term incumbent Orval Hansen in the August primary and won the general election to return to the U.S. House. In Washington, Hansen was known as one of the most conservative members of Congress, and a particularly vocal critic of the Internal Revenue Service.
Congressman Hansen went to Tehran in 1979 in the middle of the Iran hostage crisis to try to negotiate with the hostage takers through the fence of the U.S. Embassy. No hostages were released. In 1980 Hansen published a book titled To Harass Our People: The IRS and Government Abuse of Power.
Hansen ran again for the House in 1984, but was defeated for re-election by less than 200 votes that year by Democrat Richard Stallings. Hansen tried unsuccessfully to challenge the election result.
Campaign Finance law violations
In 1974, Hansen became the first member of Congress to be convicted of violating a 1971 campaign finance law requiring disclosure of all financial contributions to his campaign. A federal judge found him guilty of not disclosing all his loans and profits, and sentenced him to pay a fine.
Filing False Disclosure statements
In 1983, Hansen was indicted by a federal grand jury on four charges of filing false financial disclosure statements. He was accused of concealing more than $245,000 in loans and $87,000 in profits from silver speculation, much of it in his wife's name.
Violation of Ethics Act
In 1984 Hansen was convicted of violating the 1978 Ethics in Government Act. He had failed to disclose $334,000 in personal loans to his campaign. He was sentenced to six months in prison and fined $40,000. Appealing all the way to the US Supreme Court, his conviction was vacated and the fine returned to him.
In 1992, Hansen was in prison again on charges of defrauding two Idaho banks and 100 individuals in a $30 million investment scheme. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
In 2014, he died at a hospital in Pocatello, Idaho, aged 83.
|1964||Ralph Harding (inc.)||84,022||47.8%||George Hansen||91,838||52.2%|
|1966||A.W. "Bill" Brunt||33,348||29.7%||George Hansen (inc.)||79,024||70.3%|
|1974||Max Hanson||53,599||44.3%||George Hansen||67,274||55.7%|
|1976||Stan Kress||82,237||49.4%||George Hansen (inc.)||84,175||50.6%|
|1978||Stan Kress||60,040||42.7%||George Hansen (inc.)||80,591||57.3%|
|1980||Diane Bilyeu||81,364||41.2%||George Hansen (inc.)||116,196||58.8%|
|1982||Richard Stallings||76,608||47.7%||George Hansen (inc.)||83,873||52.3%|
|1984||Richard Stallings||101,266||50.03%||George Hansen (inc.)||101,133||49.97%|
|1968||Frank Church (inc.)||173,482||60.3%||George Hansen||114,394||39.7%|
- To harass our people: The IRS and government abuse of power, Positive Publications, (1981).
- How the IRS seizes your dollars and how to fight back, Simon and Schuster, (1981), ISBN 0-671-42795-4.