Hulbert Financial Digest Highlights The National Investor Newsletter Published by Extremist Chris Temple
A Plug for a Financial Newsletter Leaves Out a Few Facts
The Hulbert Financial Digest (HFD), owned by Dow Jones & Company's Marketwatch, is the leading publication rating which financial newsletters do best at beating the market. Edited by Mark Hulbert, a respected market analyst who also writes a weekly column on investments for The New York Times' Sunday business section and whose opinions are regularly published on the Marketwatch website, HFD is described by its Marketwatch parent as "a completely independent, impartial and authoritative rating service" that helps its readers know "which newsletter to trust."
All of that may well be true. But HFD's information about one of the newsletters it rates is missing a few facts that might interest its readers.
In the May 2009 issue, HFD highlighted The National Investor, a financial newsletter published by a man named Chris Temple. Temple was pleased with what HFD had to say. In an E-mail blast to his own subscribers, Temple praised what he called HFD's "complimentary profile of The National Investor." Temple pointed out that HFD had ranked The National Investor as having the "FOURTH BEST TRACK RECORD over the past 5 years" of all the newsletters HFD tracks. And Temple added that he was particularly proud of this achievement because, during that period, "we were not operating at 100% of our potential."
Indeed, HFD did credit Temple's investment advice, explaining in its May digest that Temple's approach combines "fundamental and technical analysis." HFD even produced a two-page special report on the newsletter. But the publication left out a couple of fascinating details — including the explanation for why Temple hasn't been, as he wrote, operating at his full potential.
Chris Temple just emerged from federal prison this past May, released to a halfway house in Eau Claire, Wisc. During the five years that HFD analyzed for its recent profile of The National Investor, Temple was producing his newsletter from behind bars.
Temple is a long-time white supremacist and an adherent of a viciously anti-Semitic religion, Christian Identity. What may be more interesting to investors, however, is the fact that he was sentenced to six years in prison for mail fraud and money laundering in a financial scam. Temple had run a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors through his now defunct partnership, Phoenix-Millennium Partners. In 2004, investigators charged that Temple stole $1.6 million from investors between 1998 and 2003, using the money to publish his newsletter, remodel his home, and pay off earlier investors. Temple also was sued by one of his investors, Donald Eldon, for over $130,000. Eldon's lawsuit claimed Temple duped his customers, exerting "unauthorized control" over their money and promising big returns. In August 2003, Eldon was awarded $393,230.
Temple doesn't hide his criminal past. On his personal website, he admits that he used his partnership to "raise money from new investors to pay off old ones."
Since the 1980s, Temple has been a prominent member of the radical right. He was "ballot access coordinator" in 1988 for the Populist Party when former Klansman David Duke ran for president on the party's ticket. He worked closely with Holocaust denier Willis Carto, writing for Carto's tabloid The Spotlight; in the mid-1990s, he became the newspaper's financial writer. (According to Temple, he and Carto formed a partnership where the newsletter now touted by HFD would be half-owned by Carto and receive promotions in The Spotlight in return. That arrangement fell apart after Temple accused Carto of draining $70,000 from their newsletter operation. But Temple did not definitively break with Carto and The Spotlight until 1999.)
That's not all. Temple has marched alongside neo-Nazis and quoted Hitler approvingly in his writings. He was once a close friend of Louis Beam, a former Texas Klan leader who was at one point on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. He has spoken at several gatherings of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations and, starting in 1990, began to write for a radical-right newspaper called The Jubilee. Temple reportedly even once described himself as "very much a National Socialist."
Until his imprisonment, Temple was a popular source in the financial press, with his words quoted by Barron's Online, Gold News Weekly and other business publications. Forbes.com even published a special "Adviser" feature about him entitled "The Sage of Spooner" (Temple was living in Spooner, Wisc., at the time). But since his arrest and imprisonment — and the widespread revelation of his political views — Temple hasn't gotten much press.
Temple isn't the only white nationalist who has found good fortune at Marketwatch. Peter Brimelow, who runs the anti-immigrant hate site VDARE.com, serves as a financial columnist at Marketwatch. VDARE, named after Virginia Dare, the first English (read white) child born in the New World, regularly publishes the work of white nationalists and anti-Semites. In June, for instance, VDARE posted an essay by Kevin MacDonald, an anti-Semitic professor in California, who wrote about how "the rise of Jews to elite status in the United States" and their support of immigration were "necessary conditions" to the demise of "WASP America."
Brimelow writes several columns a week on investment for Marketwatch, where there is no mention of VDARE or his other ties to white nationalists. Earlier this decade, Brimelow penned several columns praising Temple's investing advice. But Brimelow quit writing about Temple once he was sent to prison.
Laurie Wood contributed to this article.