Popular Investment Adviser Chris Temple Has Neo-Nazi Ties
In the last two years, Chris Temple became a star of the financial press, despite his neo-Nazi ties. That was the first surprise
By Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok
Things began looking up for Chris Temple in late 2001. Suddenly, after a November mention in a column on Forbes Newsletter Watch, the investment adviser who operates from a farm in Spooner, Wis., found himself regularly sought out for his prognostications by some of the leading organs of the U.S. financial press.
In the next two years, Temple's views on gold and other markets were prominently featured in Forbes' on-line publications. He was quoted by Barron's Online, CBS Marketwatch, Gold News Weekly and other financial commentators. Forbes.com even published an "Adviser " entitled "The Sage of Spooner."
But Temple's crowning glory may have come when his own financial newsletter, The National Investor, was added to those tracked by the respected Hulbert Financial Digest (HFD). HFD is probably the leading rater of market newsletters in the United States and tracks a selection of the best-rated newsletters' recommendations.
All of these financial experts apparently had overlooked a key fact: For almost 20 years, Temple, 42, has been a prominent member of the radical right.
He has worked for former Klan leader David Duke and Holocaust denier Willis Carto. He has marched alongside neo-Nazis and quoted Hitler approvingly in his writings. He is a close friend of Louis Beam, a former Texas Klan leader who was once on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. He has spoken at several gatherings of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations and written for or edited anti-Semitic publications.
He has even described himself, according to one watchdog group, as "very much a National Socialist."
That might be reason enough to leave the publications that have spotlighted Temple red-faced. But there is more.
On Sept. 17, a federal grand jury in Wisconsin indicted Christopher L. Temple on 67 counts of mail fraud and money laundering — charges that could bring him a maximum of 1,340 years in prison and perhaps $20 million in fines. Temple is charged with stealing $1.6 million from his clients.
From Whiz Kid to Jew-Hater
Raised in Binghamton, N.Y., Chris Temple boasts on his Web page (nationalinvestor.com) that he was recruited by a local financial planning firm shortly after leaving high school.
At the age of 18, he was licensed to work in the New York insurance industry; just a few months later, he was licensed to market investment securities through his firm. Within two years, at age 20, Temple became a firm principal and took over its brokerage arm, according to his account.
In the following years, Temple realized that he was "woefully untrained" in truly understanding the markets. But he persevered, he says, until he did.
The result, Temple says on his Web page now, is that he is "perhaps the most accurate market commentator among today's newsletter writers and investment advisers," a man who many call "the most knowledgeable analyst on the gold market ANYWHERE."
That may be. But what is certain is that as Temple learned the financial ropes, he was also heading down a highly unusual ideological path. That seems to have begun innocuously enough, with Temple becoming involved in a mid-1980s battle against low-level radioactive waste dumpsites in upstate New York.
After about two years, he started to argue that the federal government had no authority to order the state of New York to accept the dumps — an argument based on the 10th Amendment to the Constitution that has since been adopted by many right-wing theorists.
At the same time, Temple was already reading The Spotlight, a poorly produced tabloid that contained a bizarre mix of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories, dubious medical advice and products, and a heavy dose of extreme-right economic theories, with their customary emphasis on gold.
In the latter part of the 1980s, Temple took an interest in the Populist Party, a radical-right organization started in 1983 by Willis Carto, who was also the force behind The Spotlight.
According to a letter he wrote that has been posted on the Internet, Temple was "ballot access coordinator" for New York in 1988, when David Duke ran for president on the party's ticket, winning fewer than 50,000 votes.