Linda Chavez : biography

17 June 1947 -

Political action committees and non-profit foundations

Chavez is the founder and chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank which focuses on three specific areas: affirmative action, immigration and bilingual education. In 2007, the Washington Post reported that between 1997 and 2003, her salary from that foundation ranged from $125,000 to $136,00. In 2004, the last year for which records were available to the Post, she was paid $70,000; that year the foundation also paid her son David $83,000. From 1998 to 2001, her husband, Chris Gersten, was paid $64,000 a year from the Institute for Religious Values, another foundation she helped start. By comparison, between 2003 and 2006, the two foundations, plus two others founded by Chavez and her family, raised about $350,000 per year, combined. Chavez said that "I guess you could call it the family business."

The Post also reported that Chavez and her family, through political action committees they had created, including the Republican Issues Committee, the Latino Alliance, Stop Union Political Abuse, and the Pro-Life Campaign Committee, had further family income. In 2001, the PACs paid Chavez's husband $77,00, her son Pablo $25,000, and her son David about $10,000. Then, from 2002 through 2006, the PACs paid Chavez and her family $261,000. The PACs raised $24.5 million from January 2003 to December 2006, with a total of $242,000 of that money being given to politicians.

According to campaign finance records, the Pro-Life Campaign Committee was fined $150,000 in May 2006 for failing to file accurate records with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In 2006, Latino Alliance negotiated a $2,500 settlement with the FEC for filing incomplete records. In 2007, the Republican Issues Committee paid a $110,000 fine for failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions and expenditures.

In January 2008, Chavez and her husband said that they planned to shut down all of their PACs.


  • Betrayal: how union bosses shake down their members and corrupt American politics, 2004 (ISBN 1-4000-5259-9)
  • An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal (Or How I Became the Most Hated Hispanic in America), 2002 (ISBN 0-4650-8903-8)
  • Out of the Barrio: toward a new politics of Hispanic assimilation , 1991 (ISBN 0-465-05431-5)

Run for U.S. Senate

In 1986, Chavez ran as a Republican for the United States Senate against Democrat Barbara Mikulski in the state of Maryland. Chavez left her post as the highest ranking woman in Ronald Reagan's White House in an attempt to win the open U.S. Senate seat in Maryland. The election was the second time in modern U.S. history that two women faced each other in a statewide general election. The race was covered by national media, with observers noting that Chavez was very unlikely to win.

In the campaign, Chavez attacked Mikulski, a lifelong Baltimore resident, as a "San Francisco-style, George McGovern, liberal Democrat." Chavez was accused of making Mikulski's sexual orientation a central issue of the political campaign. Chavez wrote that the term referred to Jeane Kirkpatrick's 1984 Republican National Convention "Blame America First" speech, in which she coined the phrase "San Francisco Liberal" in reference to the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. Using political advertisements and press conferences, Chavez attacked Mikulski's former aide Teresa Brennan as "anti-male" and a "radical feminist", implying that Brennan and Mikulski were radical lesbians and that "fascist feminism" was Mikulski's political philosophy. Brennan had not been part of Mikulski's staff for five years, but Chavez implied Brennan was still working on Mikulski's campaign. Secure in the knowledge that Chavez was a long-shot candidate, Mikulski did not respond in kind to the barbs. She defeated Chavez with 61% of the vote.

Awards and recognitions

In 2000, Chavez was named a Library of Congress Living Legend.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine