Chaffetz Joins Fox News – Cited Money as One Reason He Quit Congress
Should Congressmen get a living stipend?
Now former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz shocked many when he abruptly announced he’d be quitting Congress before the end of his term.
In a recent interview, Chaffetz insisted his decision was personal, that he was disappointed by the state of politics, and that he and his wife made the decision together for personal reasons. Chaffetz alluded to living on a tight budget, but only this week did he confirm money played a role in the decision-making process.
Congressmen make $170,000 a year. Chaffetz called it a “handsome salary” but not enough to maintain two separate households, not when one is in the most expensive city in the country.
Part of the ‘Couch Caucus’, Chaffetz was one of many Congressional members who slept on cots or couches in their offices rather than spring for separate housing.
Chaffetz told Fox News Wednesday night:
“I mean, look, we’re paid a very handsome salary, but our home is in Utah. I didn’t move to Washington, D.C. I sleep in a cot in my office,” Chaffetz, R-Utah, said on Fox News Wednesday night.
“And faced with another 100 to 200 nights a year where my wife’s by herself in Utah and I’m in a cot in Washington, D.C. – as nice as the salary is — I can’t afford to have two places and have a quality of life I’d like to have at this point,” he said, adding that serving in Congress is a “rich man’s game.”
Before his departure, Chaffetz called for a $2,500 legislature stipend to assist those who could not afford two households. From The Hill:
Just days before he resigns from Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Monday that House and Senate lawmakers should receive a $2,500 per month housing allowance — something he explained would help ease housing costs for members who can’t afford two mortgages or rents.
“I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” Chaffetz told The Hill in an interview in his Capitol office, where he sleeps whenever he’s in Washington. “In today’s climate, nobody’s going to suggest or vote for a pay raise. But you shouldn’t have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress.”
Wednesday, Chaffetz announced he’s signed a contract with Fox News where he’ll be working as a contributor:
Fox News Channel (FNC) has signed soon-to-be former Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to a contributor role.
He will offer political analysis across FNC and Fox Business Network’s (FBN) daytime and primetime programming, starting on July 1st.
Prior to joining FNC, Chaffetz represented Utah’s Third Congressional District beginning in November 2008. In May, he announced that he would resign from Congress effective June 30th.
During his time as congressman, he served as the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and was a member of the House Judiciary Committee. He also served on the Homeland Security Committee.
Chaffetz had an integral role in many government investigations, including the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, the Benghazi terrorist attack, the IRS targeting scandal and the Secret Service investigation.
Prior to running for Congress in 2008, Chaffetz worked as campaign manager and chief of staff to former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. (R).
Before his political career, Chaffetz worked in the local business community for 16 years, specializing in corporate communications work and later owning his own communications firm, Maxtera Utah Inc.
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Don’t elect anyone to public office if they need to hold office as their day job; they are too vulnerable to being corrupted.
Fortunately we have cleverly constructed our bizarrely complicated campaign finance system to guarantee that only millionaires will be able to run for any public office from now on.
no. your job is not to be pampered and comfortable.
Why should a lawyer have to live in poverty when serving as a congressmen?
What a joke…poverty
That finally settles it. Chaffetz is only in it for the money. He couldn’t even finish out his term before going through the revolving door to make a grab for the money. of What a colossal hypocrite.
It’s much more of a hardship to serve for Members from the Western United States than it is for those from teh East Coast. It’s never going to happen, but I propose that there be an amendment that Congress convene in a different state every year. Hosting Congress would be something like getting a Super Bowl for a year, with each state being the beneficiary of the economic impact instead of the DC metro area. It should start alphabetically — Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, etc., etc. It would have the salutary effect that Members of Congress from east of the Appalachians would have the opportunity to see flyover country. They might understand their nation a bit more.
Make it permanently in Alaska and I’ll vote for it.
Barrow would be nice.
Have Congress sit together in DC for only 90 days. During the rest of the year have them “work from home” electronically. It will keep them closer to their constituents and make the job of special interest lobbyists harder, having to travel to all 57 states ( heh heh) to button hole politicians.
It is not a personal choice when you run for and are elected to represent the people in your district.
He will be Fox’s Morning Joe… Unfortunately
Quits the House so he can join Fox.
These jerks think we’ll believe just about anything, don’t they?
I can relate. For a couple years in my younger days I “job shopped” working a couple states away from home. The money was good but being separated from home and my family got to me after a while. There can be temptations in that situation, too.
To answer Kemberlees original question, yes, they should receive per diem when congress is in session. When I was job shopping, that was part of the deal.
If they can’t live on 150K a year then they shouldn’t have taken the job. Per diem hell. They are paid too much already. What they should be paid is the median income for their state, period.
Instead of a housing allowance, how about a congressional dorm where members can stay during sessions?
I’ve been saying that for years. They’re not there to have fun, they are there to do a job and then go home.
Quarterly Congressional meetings in WDC. The rest of the time based in their District or State offices. Technology makes communication and meetings easy. And, of yeah, savings. Lots of savings.
Do prostitutes hire hookers?
They’re in the same union, right?
With unisex bathrooms, low flow toilets and washing machines that take 2 hours to cycle.
A dorm really does make the most sense. It could probably be built as a single building or a two-building complex, 535 single-efficiency style apartments of about 450-500 square feet each for about $40 million, and at Chaffetz’s proposed $2500/month stipend, would pay for itself in about 2.5 years.
It would become an available housing. Those that don’t want to live in it are not required to do so, but it would still count as a taxable addition to their salary ($30k annual benefit). Eminent domain a piece of land right near one of the metro rail stations, and then Congress-persons can basically only have food costs for being in Washington DC.
I actually read a book once about a system of government where you could be what they called a “Citizen”, but was basically a Judge/legislator all in one.To be a “Citizen” you had to be chosen by your district, move into the apartment building provided for citizens. The most important part, however, was that when you became a citizen you turned over all your wealth and possessions to the government and forbidden from gaining wealth or possessions while you remained a Citizen. You were provided everything you needed, but you basically lived a life that was low middle class. I like that idea.
Imagine the security needed if you had one building everyone knew was filled with congressmen. You would probably need a detail of at least 10 secret service agents. Regular congressmen have no secret service protection.
If they are in a dorm they would need protection. It would cost more than a raise. 175k is great money for regular people, but nothing for these guys. My brother does political advertising and had to have an apartment in The Capital area. It gets very expensive. The way it is now only the rich or corrupt can afford it. Mostly corrupt and in the pocket of the lobbyists.
Exactly, a dorm makes too much sense.
But this isn’t about money I don’t think
Gee, call me naive but I thought the founders set up compensation for public service so that people would go into for altruistic reasons and not for personal gain.
I think you meant “patriotic” rather than “altruistic”. Altruism is where you do something where you receive absolutely nothing in return – not even the satisfaction of doing something good for the Country.
My bad. Right you are.
I don’t have a problem with congressmen being paid 170,000 as long as they do the job they were elected to do.
However, I do take issue with members of Congress bitching about their salary when the middle class in America is struggling to exist, mostly because of them.
Being in Congress (cannot really call it “serving,” can we?) should be a part-time job that pays very little. Representatives and Senators should have to hold real jobs just like their constituents, or deplete their personal wealth, and they should be prohibited from passing laws from which they are exempt.
We do not need a ruling class, let alone the permanent ruling class we have now.
I have absolutely no sympathy for Chaffetz or any of his colleagues. For the most part, they are corrupt parasites.
See, that’s why we get the best congressmen that money can buy. When an honest person is (rarely) elected, he soon discovers that $170,000 isn’t enough to support two homes and transportation between the two. He also learns that he is vastly outnumbered by career politicians who are only in it for the campaign contributions and perqs. I don’t blame Chavitz at all for realizing his mistake and bailing out. Sarah Palin did the same and God bless her for doing so.
The problem is that you get the likes of Harry Reid, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangel, etc. who make gobs of $ by becoming Congress critters. Those who are NOT corrupt are at a disadvantage.
Sarah Palin did the same
Palin never claimed that she couldn’t manage the money. She wanted to reduce the nonstop harassment of her family.
Sarah Palin had to cough up over $500,000 of her own money – on a salary of $125,000 – for her legal defense. Her husband Todd was forced to go back to work on the North Slope to pay those bills. Not only that, but her legal defense fund had to give back the $368,000 in donations they collected. Who needs that?
Well the answer to that is simple. Congress is in session way to much.
Set up a couple of apartment buildings for congressmen to use for the 3 months we allow them to be in session in DC. The rest of the time they can live at home and work from their offices.
The “best” political analysis money can buy. Jason Chaffetz on Fox News.
So what is Schaffer an expert at, anyway?
This is the most asinine pile of BS I’ve ever heard. The benefits and perks packages of being in Congress are lavish to say the least.
Congress shouldn’t be a career. It shouldn’t be treated as a regular job. No pensions, no healthcare, etc.. Give them a straight salary and provide inexpensive dorm style housing. No congressman or senator should leave DC richer than they arrived.
Yes, a government which is little more than an easy path to corrupt riches can never be a good government.
I should have read the comments Sanddog before offering my two cents worth of opinion and saved myself an embarrassing repeat of your excellent idea. ;-))
I don’t agree with that, even regular jobs provide insurance and pensions, I have no problem with that, but the pension should be a 401K and the provided insurance should be a BCBS bronze plan.
There is a simple solution to this housing affordability problem: Build a dormitory to house them.
marine barracks nearby iirc.
Oh for the love of god… get an apartment in Fredericksburg and commute like the rest of us. You don’t even start your workday until 10AM or so.
I’m not going to support you getting a housing allowance so you can get a SFH in Alexandria.
We should probably consider converting some buildings in the DC area to apartment-dorm type facilities and provide them with a place to live and eat. Then cut Congressional sessions down to about 5-6 months and cut their salaries accordingly.
Most important thing we need to do is to stop letting them vote their own raises. If congress wants a raise they should go to their employer (you know the citizens of the US) and ask for one. Congressional Raises for the next year should be voted on on November 2nd of every year.
rather than a housing allowance construct a housing complex that would provide each representative with a 800 sq foot apartment (2 bedrooms and a living room) the second bedroom becomes sitting room/office. comes rent free. for the senators you construct a larger apartment since they are elected to a 6 yr term lets say 1000 sq feet. also rent free and utilities are free. no more complaints about the cost of living in DC.
also the apartments would be furnished with furniture
I like the idea of quarterly sessions in DC
of say 30-45 days …
the rest of the time you are back in your
electronically everything can be done
and when your in DC you can stay in
the govt supplied dorm rooms.
as far as retirement goes … a 401 k
is as far as you should get …
and healthcare .. while you are in office
yes it is supplied … as a taxable benefit
after you leave .. you pay your own way ..