Robert Edward Badham, 76, a six-term Republican congressman from Orange County, Calif., died after a heart attack Oct. 21 at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, Calif. He lived in Newport Beach.
Mr. Badham, who served from 1977 to 1988, was ranking member of the House Armed Services procurement subcommittee. A fiscal conservative except on military expenditures, he represented a district of defense contract workers and defense plants. An ad from his 1986 campaign boasted that his actions led to $10 billion in federal spending in his district.
Mr. Badham was a supporter of the Division Air Defense mobile antiaircraft gun, also called the Sgt. York, which was built in his district until it was canceled in 1985 by then-Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger. He defended a Marine Corps transport helicopter until 40 major mishaps resulted in 20 deaths. Mr. Badham supported aid to the Nicaraguan contras and drug-testing of public-sector employees. Although a close friend and political ally of President Ronald Reagan, he occasionally split from the administration's positions, particularly by voting for coastal environmental protection and against offshore oil drilling.
He was criticized for his poor attendance record, with an absentee rate of 15 percent in 1986, one of the worst in the House. The public interest group Congress Watch dubbed him the most traveled member of Congress for his publicly financed trips to the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, England, Fiji, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico and Tahiti, among other destinations. Newspaper editorials decried his use of excess campaign funds on personal travel, flatware, a home video camera, a Cadillac, clothes for his wife and her dermatology bills. Mr. Badham said donors who disapproved of his spending should ask for their money back, and those who didn't like his travel itinerary should vote for someone else. In 1988, he chose not to run for a seventh term.
Mr. Badham rarely made national news in his 12 years on Capitol Hill, and when he did, it was for quirky rather than substantive issues.
Explaining a decision to withdraw an amendment to study a new Israeli jet fighter, he said: "I knew I didn't have the votes. I didn't want to be a goy kamikaze." In 1985, he prompted a series of pun-filled news articles when he championed a constituent's automated egg-breaking contraption that had run afoul of the manufacturers that sold liquid, frozen and powdered eggs.
Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Badham attended Occidental College and graduated from Stanford University. He served in the Navy during the Korean War and worked in his family's wholesale hardware business until 1969. His voluble expression of opinions when he was foreman on a federal grand jury led someone to suggest he run for public office.
From 1962 to 1976, he served in the California State Assembly, where he co-authored the law that created an environmental fund with fees from personalized license plates. He also sponsored laws to protect tidal pools along the California coast, where a marine refuge is named for him.
After he left Congress, Mr. Badham worked as a consultant for defense firms and other businesses and worked for a family real estate and investment company, according to one of his sons.
His marriage to Ann Badham ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Anne Badham of Newport Beach; three children from his first marriage, Sharron Badham of Palm Desert, Calif., Robert E. Badham Jr. of Riverside, Calif., and William Badham of Davis, Calif.; two children from his second marriage, Phyllis Alzamora of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and Jennifer Stewart of Ladera Ranch, Calif.; a brother; and 11 grandchildren.