Pat Nolan

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Nolan in 2018.

Patrick James Nolan (born 1950) is an American lawyer, politician and conservative activist.

Political career[edit]

Pat Nolan looks on as children's TV host Sheriff John speaks at a public gathering. Circa 1980

In 1978, Nolan was elected to the California State Assembly, serving the 41st district comprising Glendale, Burbank, Toluca Lake and Sunland-Tujunga.[citation needed]

In 1984, he was elected Assembly Republican Leader, and began an aggressive campaign to elect a Republican majority in the Assembly.[citation needed]

Incarceration and corrections work[edit]

Nolan was prosecuted as part of an FBI sting operation called Shrimpscam to target elected officials who accepted illegal campaign contributions. After entering a guilty plea on one count of racketeering in the mid-1990s, Nolan resigned his seat and spent 25 months in a federal prison and four months in a halfway house. His experiences in prison changed his outlook and the course of his work.[1] [2]

After his release, he was recruited by Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries to be President of Justice Fellowship, the Prison Fellowship affiliate that works to reform the criminal justice system. During Nolan's time at Prison Fellowship, they have formed broad bi-partisan coalitions with civil rights and religious organizations to support important issues in Congress. They successfully protected religious freedom for prisoners in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. A similar coalition successfully pressed for the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Nolan was later appointed to serve on the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, a bipartisan panel aimed at curbing prison rape.[1] Nolan also served on the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons.[citation needed]

Prison Fellowship was a major force in another left-right coalition that developed legislation to focus prisons on preparing inmates to successfully return to their communities. Called the Second Chance Act, the bill had strong bi-partisan support and passed both houses overwhelmingly.[citation needed]

Nolan authored "When Prisoners Return" a guide for churches and community groups on ways they can help prisoners as they make the difficult transition from prison to their home community.[citation needed]

His racketeering conviction was pardoned by Donald Trump on May 15, 2019.[3]

Pardon of Patrick Nolan by President Donald Trump.

Personal life[edit]

Nolan's family includes his wife, Gail, and three children, Courtney, Katie and Jamie. They live in Leesburg, Virginia.[4]


  1. ^ a b "The Commissioners". National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. Archived from the original on 2008-05-08. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  2. ^ August 27, 1996, Ex-Assemblyman, Jailed in Federal Probe, to Run Prison Reform Group by MARK GLADSTONE, TIMES STAFF WRITER,[1]
  3. ^ Mai-Duc, Christine (2019-05-15). "Trump pardons Pat Nolan, former GOP lawmaker taken down in FBI's 'Shrimpscam' probe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  4. ^ Warren, Jenifer (July 5, 2007). "He found a calling in prison". Los Angeles Times.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob Naylor
California State Assembly Republican Leader
November 8, 1984–November 10, 1988
Succeeded by
Ross Johnson