After eight years, five months, 23 days and a few slowly ticking seconds (but who’s counting?) Jason Chaffetz’ days ruling the 3rd District roost are over. The congressman, whose last day in office was Friday, was unabashedly loathed by the left, but also a champion for the conservative causes his electorate seemed to favor.
And while it’s likely that whoever ends up replacing him will hold true to similar conservative principles, it’s hard to imagine anyone running the show with quite the same panache and temperament as the former BYU Cougar.
As a sort of WTF time capsule, City Weekly has compiled a list of Chaffetz’ top hits throughout his storied tenure:
June 24, 2008
Unlike Chaffetz’ sweeping notoriety today, in 2008, he was an untested whippersnapper challenging six-year incumbent Chris Cannon, whose political machine and proverbial bags of money made him a favorite. Riding high on anti-establishment sentiments, Chaffetz nearly won the nomination outright in the Republican caucus and then took 60 percent of the vote in the primary. Chaffetz agreed to work tirelessly to hold Washington accountable … as long as there’s not a Republican in the White House.
As a display of frugality, Chaffetz moved to D.C. with a thrifty $45 office cot to save on housing costs. Just think of how many cots poor people could afford if they weren’t obsessed with their iPhones.
Jan. 6, 2009
When Chaffetz agreed to go on Stephen Colbert’s former Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, the freshman congressman should have expected some light ribbing at his expense. What he probably didn’t see coming was Colbert gleefully besting the former football kicker in a leg-wrestling match. After it aired, Chaffetz jokingly demanded a rematch on a local TV program. Colbert displayed receipts shortly thereafter.
Sept. 21, 2009
Chaffetz, enraged that the TSA at Salt Lake International Airport made him step into the “strip search” machine, uncharacteristically let slip an obscenity, allegedly telling an officer he was “full of shit.” Chaffetz was an early opponent of the TSA full-body scanners, and he later vowed to stop—as Provo’s Daily Herald quoted him—“TSA porn.”
Jan. 13, 2010
It’s not just Utah progressives who eye Chaffetz with shades of acrimony. So do many Washington, D.C., residents, who didn’t elect the congressman but were still subject to his whims, including his 2010 attempt to halt same-sex marriages in the nation’s capital. Before Chaffetz announced his decision to leave, a D.C. political-action committee began raising funds to oust him, but true to form, Chaffetz denied them the satisfaction.
Sept. 29, 2015
The coup de grâce at an Oversight Committee hearing with the head of Planned Parenthood was a shocking chart revealing PP was spending more on abortions and less on other services. Except that they weren’t. Chaffetz bungled the deathblow. Confused by what was presented to her, Cecile Richards said she had never seen the chart. Chaffetz responded that he “pulled those numbers right out of your corporate reports.” When Richards realized the source of the figure was from an anti-abortion group, a flustered Chaffetz said he’d get the bottom of it, and that was that.
Sept. 30, 2015
Responding to a report that the Secret Service intended to embarrass him by leaking a personal file, Chaffetz lambasted the agency for bullying and intimidation tactics. One of the details that came to light in this episode was that Chaffetz in 2003 applied to work for the secret service but was rejected as an applicant. CNN reported that a Secret Service email implied they had “information that he might find embarrassing,” and that it “needs to get out.” Did the Secret Service not see the Colbert clip?
March 17, 2016
When Chaffetz’ critics accuse him of wielding his power as Oversight Committee chair to score political points, his interaction with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy can be Exhibit A. Trying to get to the bottom of the Flint, Mich., contaminated water crisis, Chaffetz grilled the EPA by asking a line of rhetorical questions that devolved into a loud tirade of accusations.
Oct. 7, 2016
Chaffetz led the pack of Republicans who repudiated then-candidate Donald Trump after a loathsome Access Hollywood tape leaked, in which Trump bragged that his fame and fortune allowed him to assault women with impunity. Human beings found it to be pretty disgusting. Chaffetz concurred, saying he could no longer endorse Trump and look his daughter in the eye. Endorsement be damned! He voted for Trump the following month.
Jan. 20, 2017
Following his dog with a Gmail bone narrative, Chaffetz posted a picture of himself on Instagram shaking Hillary Clinton’s hand with the caption “So pleased she is not the President. I thanked her for her service and wished her luck. The investigation continues.” Among the kinder comments on the thread, was this by @theturk25: “How's the investigation coming, fuckface?”
Feb. 9, 2017
Chaffetz’ angriest constituents (or paid goons bused in from out of state, depending on who you ask) tested their vocal cords at a town hall by booing and shouting down the congressman for equivocating. The star of the night, however, was a young girl, who point-blank asked Chaffetz whether he believed in science. Now that elicited a cheer.
April 6, 2017
Channeling his inner Lee Greenwood, the one and only @jasoninthehouse tweeted “God bless the USA!” following the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles by the U.S. from the Mediterranean Sea into Syria leaving nine civilians dead. Oddly, even in the aftermath of his retirement announcement, no tweets paying homage to"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" have been composed.
May 4, 2017
The image of Chaffetz scooting into the chambers of Congress with a bum leg to vote on a health care bill that would effectively kick more than 23 million people off their insurance—while flashing a cat-that-ate-the-canary grin—was, to some, a bit disconcerting. Furthering their frustration, Chaffetz’ foot ailment might fall into the category of a pre-existing condition, which many in the medical community say won’t be adequately covered if the GOP plan passes.
June 28, 2017
Two days before Chaffetz’ congressional credit roll, and hot on the heels of his cry to bump congress members’ annual $174,000 salary by a cool 30K (that's a lot of cots!), Fox News shocked absolutely no one by confirming the representative would be joining their payrolls. So, while you can sympathize with Chaffetz when he says it’s time to “get off the crazy train” that is Congress, it is curious that he’s eager to land on the Fox News loony rails.
If this playlist is pulling all your nostalgia, fret not. Jason and the Chaffetz are rumored to be getting the band back together for an encore gubernatorial bid in 2020. Till then, keep rocking my friends.