John H. Rousselot, 75, the conservative California Republican who served in Congress for 14 years and who also had served as a Western regional and national officer of the John Birch Society, died of a heart ailment May 11 at a hospital in Irvine, Calif. He lived in Mission Viejo, Calif.
He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1960 when he defeated incumbent Democrat George Kasem in California's 25th District. But he was so outspoken in defending the right-wing Birch Society, which he had just joined, that he failed to win reelection. In 1970, he was returned to Washington for six terms from the 26th District.
He was again defeated, in 1982, after redistricting threw him into a new 30th District, which was shaped to elect a Democrat and Hispanic. He failed in a 1992 comeback campaign in California's 25th District.
During his years in Congress, he became active on the Banking and Currency Committee, and later the Budget and Ways and Means committees, where he staunchly opposed spending and tax increases, proposed cuts in the food stamp program and worked for deregulation of the savings and loan industry. He also advocated U.S. military occupation of Cuba two years before the Cuban Missile Crisis.
After being turned out of Congress in 1963, Mr. Rousselot was named regional director of the Birch Society. He also served as national Birch Society public relations chairman.
But he resigned from the Birch Society on April 17, 1979, when he was contemplating running for the U.S. Senate, "to demonstrate to the citizens of California that I am my own man, controlled by no organization or individual." He also said that he had become disillusioned because Birch Society founder Robert Welch had besmirched President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a communist agent and Winston Churchill as a traitor.
Mr. Rousselot spent 1983 in the Reagan White House as special assistant for business matters and then served as Western states coordinator for Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign.
From 1985 to 1988, Mr. Rousselot was president of the National Council of Savings Institutions, a Washington-based lobbying group for banks and savings and loans.
After lobbying for Charles H. Keating Jr. and his failing Lincoln Savings and Loan Co. in 1989, he was named the S&L's final chairman and chief executive before its collapse.
With four others, he tried to buy the institution shortly before it was shut down by federal regulators who said that its assets were dissipated.
John Harbin Rousselot was born in San Marino, Calif., and majored in political science and business administration at Principia College in Elsah, Ill.
In the 1950s, he established a public relations firm in Los Angeles and became president of the California Young Republicans. From 1958 to 1960, when he resigned to run for Congress, he was national director of public information for the Federal Housing Administration.