Tag Archives: Jason Chaffetz

Housing allowance? Don’t think so, Rep. Chaffetz

Jason Chaffetz is about to walk away from his public service job as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Before he goes, he is leaving with a parting gift in the form of an idea that fellow House members ought to reject out of hand. Chaffetz thinks Congress should enact a $2,500 monthly housing allowance for its members. It would give members of the House and Senate a little bit of financial cushion to enable them to live like normal human beings.

I don’t think so, young man.

Chaffetz earns $175,000 annually to serve his Utah congressional district constituents. It’s a handsome salary to be sure. However, during his time in office, Chaffetz decided to perform a bit of a publicity stunt by sleeping on a couch in his office, rather than renting an apartment/condo/flat somewhere like many other members of Congress.

As The Hill reports: “A $2,500 monthly allowance would cost taxpayers about $30,000 a year per lawmaker, or roughly $16 million a year for all 535 members.”

That’s a lot of money

I’ll stipulate that $16 million doesn’t measure up when compared to the size of the federal government budget. It’s not even significant compared to the size of the annual budget deficit, let alone the national debt. It’s still 16 million bucks. Boil that down to terms as they relate to me — and perhaps most of you who are reading this post — then we’re talking about some real money.

Again, according to The Hill: (His idea) “would allow the non-millionaires to participate and you would be able to have your spouse join you here,” said Chaffetz, 50, who’s spent 1,500 nights away from his wife and children during his eight-plus years in Congress. “If I wasn’t buying as many airline tickets, it would ultimately be less expensive.”

I wish the Utah Republican well as he embarks on a new career and life, reportedly as a “contributor” to the Fox News Channel. He represents a political party, though, that prides itself on personal responsibility and fiscal prudence.

Tossing potentially another $16 million a year at Congress to create what amounts to a public housing fund for well-compensated lawmakers, though, strays a bit too far from the GOP’s long-standing tradition.

Rep. Chaffetz spoils possible role as truth-seeker

I had thought Jason Chaffetz might emerge in the U.S. House of Representatives as a lame duck with some bite.

The Utah Republican for now chairs the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform. He’s about to surrender that chairmanship and apparently his congressional seat as he heads back home to ponder what he wants to do next.

My hope had been that Chaffetz would be unafraid of political blowback as the congressional probe of Donald J. Trump’s relationship with Russian government officials picked up steam. The committee he chairs plays a principal role in the search for the truth.

Thus, I figured that Chaffetz — free from the pressure of seeking re-election — would be unleashed as he pursued all the facts.

But he’s going to leave the House of Reps at the end of June. His committee chairmanship will go to someone else.


In the meantime, there’s reporting now that congressional Republicans are beginning to pull back from the president as his domestic political troubles deepen even as he continues his first overseas trip as president. Trump’s journey to the Middle East got off to a good start with his speech at the Arab summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His trip continues in Israel, where he well might face a rockier reception, given the trouble he got into regarding his release of Israeli intelligence information to visiting Russian dignitaries at the White House the other day.

There well might come a moment if the FBI probe deepens into the president’s Russia connections, or as the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller picks up steam when key congressional Republicans tell the president the political truth. That his support is dwindling to dangerous levels.

I had thought that Chairman Chaffetz might emerge as that GOP go-to guy, given that he won’t face a re-election in 2018. That’s not going to happen.

At issue, of course, is whether Russian hackers sought to influence the 2016 presidential election. Chaffetz lamented today that the president has been eerily silent about those allegations, other than to dismiss them and disparage the intelligence agencies that have concluded that the Russians did try to manipulate the election.

“You would like, I would think, the president to kind of beat (Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov) over the head with the fact that, if they actually did interfere in any way, shape or form, how wrong that is and how outraged America is on both sides of the aisle,” Chaffetz said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The president hasn’t done such a thing. Instead, he bragged about the “great intel” he had and spilled many of the beans about what he had regarding certain Islamic State activities in the Middle East.

No can do, Mr. President.

As for Chaffetz, he’s nearly a goner and he’ll hand over a key congressional committee gavel to a politician who won’t nearly be as candid as the lame-duck chairman.

Is Rep. Chaffetz the GOP answer man on impeachment?

Given that I am a red-blooded American male, which means that I am wrong a good bit more than I am right, I will advance this notion with some trepidation.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz could emerge as the stand-up congressional Republican who gets his GOP caucus members to see the unvarnished truth behind the president of their party.

Donald J. Trump might be in some serious political trouble with what we’re hearing now about what he allegedly “asked” FBI Director James Comey to do; he reportedly suggested that Comey shut down an investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russian government officials.

Obstruction of justice, anyone?

So, where does Chaffetz fit into all of this?

He chairs the House Government and Oversight Committee. He has announced he will not seek re-election to his Utah congressional district seat in 2018. He is a lame duck. He has no more pandering to do to get elected. He need not worry about his “base” of supporters.

Chaffetz said this week he is preparing to ask to see a memo that Comey wrote after meeting with the president shortly after Trump fired Flynn from his national security adviser job. The memo reportedly is part of a meticulous paper trail that Comey has left that details conversations he had with the president.

There could be much more to this than we know about already. Chaffetz might want to see all that Comey wrote down and which now is in the FBI files, presumably locked away somewhere inside the J. Edgar Hoover Building. If the FBI has its former director’s memoranda, then it belongs to the public. Chaffetz, therefore, would seem to be entitled to see them as a representative of a committee charged with examining “government operations.”

Chaffetz is set to chart a new life for himself away from Congress. The timing of these revelations — and of the chairman’s decision to step away from the House — suggest to me that Chaffetz has far less to lose politically than other congressional leaders who have been unable or unwilling to take decisive action against the president.

Mr. Chairman, are you up to the task of rooting out the truth, no matter where it leads?

So long, Chairman Chaffetz

Jason Chaffetz stunned his U.S. House of Representatives colleagues today by announcing his intention to step away from Congress next year.

The Utah Republican won’t seek re-election.

Scuttlebutt is going in a couple of directions: Chaffetz might run for Utah governor in 2020 or he might seek a U.S. Senate seat after that.

The young lawmaker has made a bit of name for himself during his time in Congress. He chairs the House Oversight Committee and spent a lot of time — and taxpayer money — looking for dirt to throw onto Hillary Rodham Clinton while she was running for president this past year. He came up empty, as did his predecessor as chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

My own thoughts of Chairman Chaffetz, though, go back to when he was first elected to Congress. He became one of those grandstanders who slept each night on a couch in his office. He didn’t bother with renting an apartment, or buying a home in Washington, D.C.

I recall him making some noise about wanting to connect with his constituents back home. He flew home regularly to be with his wife and children. I admire his dedication to his family.

However, I always have wondered about politicians who call attention to themselves ostensibly to make some sort of statement about staying in touch with the home folks. I am left to ask: How many folks back home sleep on office furniture?

Trump team continues to ‘unify’ Congress

Donald Trump’s effort to “unify” Congress is continuing to produce a bumper harvest.

For instance, the U.S. House Oversight Committee chairman, Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, has called for an investigation into senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway’s apparent shilling for Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing. Ranking Democratic committee member Elijah Cummings of Maryland joined Chaffetz in seeking to know whether Conway violated federal ethics laws.

The lawmakers sent a letter to the head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, Jr., suggesting that Conway’s appearance on “Fox and Friends” could have crossed the line that bans federal officials from promoting private business endeavors.

Chaffetz and Cummings have recommended punishment for Conway.

Trump, quite naturally, is standing by Conway, who has told the media that the president is “100 percent behind me.”

Ethics just keep getting in the way.

The president’s myriad business interests — along with those of his grown children — are likely to continue dogging the administration until all of the Trumps decide to divest themselves of all that lucrative activity.

Meanwhile, I will give the president a left-handed compliment. He vowed to “unify” the country. He is keeping that pledge by unifying some of our elected representatives — although clearly not in ways he envisioned.

Imagine the surprise: Hillary’s foes will keep looking


Let me see a show of hands.

Who is surprised that congressional Republicans are going to keep looking for something — anything! — to hang around Hillary Rodham Clinton’s neck?

I didn’t think so. No one, yes?

U.S. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said he’s going to pursue an investigation into whether Clinton committed perjury to Congress while testifying about her use of a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state.


Let’s see how this goes. The FBI investigated Clinton thoroughly and determined she didn’t commit any crimes. Did the feds determine she lied under oath to Congress? Umm, no. Did they find any other criminality? Again, no.

That won’t prevent Chaffetz and other GOP lawmakers from continuing to search for someone with which to charge the defeated Democratic presidential nominee.

As The Hill reports: “‘A political election does not extinguish the need for transparency, truth and justice,’ he told Fox News this week.” The Hill adds that Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, also plans to stay on the hunt. Hmm. Imagine that.

I get that Chairman Chaffetz doesn’t want an election by itself to spell the end of a congressional probe. What I don’t get is why Chaffetz wants to keep scouring after the FBI has made its determination that “no reasonable prosecutor” would seek an indictment alleging criminality against Clinton.

If he had the goods on Clinton, surely he could have produced it long ago.

What’s more, Donald J. Trump, who’s about to become president, has said he no longer wants to pursue a probe of Clinton.

None of that, however, is likely to stop Chaffetz and other GOP zealots from continuing their incessant march into more dead ends.

Enough, already!

Here we go: Congress to probe email tempest

It was a matter of time — and it took no time at all — before Congress would decide to conduct hearings into Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email accounts while she served as secretary of state.

Here’s how I believe the inquiries break down: What will they learn? What do they hope to learn?


At issue is Clinton’s use of a private account rather than using a State Department email account to communicate with, oh, this or that foreign minister or U.S. government staffers relating to official government activity.

The hearings might enable members of Congress to learn what she said and when she said it, and to whom. The public also might learn whether Clinton divulged national security secrets while using the private account — which is the one thing she said categorically the other day she didn’t do.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said — by golly — he doesn’t want to subpoena Clinton. Sure thing, Mr. Chairman. “I’d rather not have to subpoena her, but if she’s fully cooperative there wouldn’t be a need,” Chaffetz told The Wall Street Journal. “Are we prepared to do so if necessary? I suppose so. We’re going to get to the bottom of this.”

Now, what does the Republican-led Congress hope to learn? Only God knows. I’m guessing the leadership hopes to learn something — anything — that is going to damage Clinton’s chances of getting elected president of the United States next year.

That’s how it goes in the world of politics. Something goes amiss and Congress jumps all over it.

If the hearings commence, and I am quite certain they will, be sure to tune in to all the speeches lawmakers will make prior to asking whatever questions they intend to ask. This is a bipartisan tendency. Indeed, as Republicans pontificate over their outrage at what they suspect happened, you’ll hear Democrats blather on about how they are utterly certain this is all a witch hunt.

Get ready for it. The fun is just beginning.


GOP getting unhappy over IRS probe

Might there be some restiveness brewing within Republican congressional ranks?

It appears, according to Politico.com, that some GOP members of Congress are getting a bit tired of the incessant probing, questioning and spending of taxpayer money over a controversy that seems to have run out of steam.


You remember the Internal Revenue Service “scandal” that boiled up nearly a year ago when it was learned that the most loathed agency in the federal government was vetting conservative political action groups’ request for tax-exempt status? Remember when all that broke?

It was considered a big deal because some folks feared that the IRS got its marching orders from the White House, perhaps from within the Oval Office itself. Heck, maybe the president himself awoke in the wee hours one morning, picked up the phone and called the IRS himself and ordered the agency to stick it to those right-wingers, correct?

Well, none of that seems to have happened. Instead, the IRS acted apparently as it is charged to do — with liberal and conservative groups alike — and vetted tea party groups carefully to ensure that they didn’t violate federal tax status laws. Investigators have determined that all decisions reportedly were made by field office personnel; they were not mandated by White House directives.

None of that has satisfied House Government Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who keeps beating the drum looking for something — anything! — that ties this controversy to President Obama’s shirt tail.

It turns out some of his GOP colleagues — not to mention Democratic House members — are getting weary of it.

“There is a perception that if your case is rock-solid, it doesn’t need months to sort it out,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who is considered a probable successor to Issa as chairman, given that Issa is being term-limited out of the chairman’s seat at the end of the current Congress.

The case has been far from rock-solid. In fact, it has been shown to be mushy soft and full of holes.

Let’s get off this one, Mr. Chairman, and get back to legislating — which is what we pay our lawmakers to do.

Words have consequences, Rep. Chaffetz

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, used an interesting term to describe the influence senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has on Obama administration policy.

He said Jarrett has “tentacles on every issue.”



Not her hands. Not her fingers. She’s not merely involved. She has tentacles.

When I think of the term “tentacles,” I think of the slimy deep-sea creature that skulks along the ocean floor. Now I suppose Rep. Chaffetz, a tea party golden boy, is trying to ascribe some seedy description to the Obama administration’s senior political adviser.

Why is it such a surprise that President Obama relies on an individual to give him advice? President George W. Bush had Karl Rove. President Bill Clinton had his wife. President George H.W. Bush had Jim Baker. President Ronald Reagan relied on Mike Deaver.

I guess they all had “tentacles” on their respective bosses’ policies.

Jarrett is no different. It’s the pejorative term “tentacles,” though, that seems so irksome.