U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is presiding over a hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill as James Comey, FBI director, testifies in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
On Tuesday, Comey announced that his office would not be recommending that prosecutors bring charges against Clinton for her handling of classified information in connection to private email servers.
In his opening statements Thursday, Chaffetz said that he was “mystified and confused” by the conclusion Comey reached.
“It seems to a lot of us that the average Joe, the average American, that if they had done what you laid out in your statement, that they’d be in handcuffs, and they might be on their way to jail, and they probably should,” Chaffetz said. “And I think there is a legitimate concern that there is a double standard. If you’re name isn’t Clinton or you’re not part of the powerful elite, that Lady Justice will act differently.”
Here are five things you should know about Chaffetz:
1. He Was First Elected in 2008
Chaffetz, 49, is serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives after having first been elected in 2008. According to his House biography, he ran for office on conservative principles, promising accountability, strong national defense, limited government and fiscal discipline. Before becoming a congressman, Chaffetz was campaign manager and chief of staff to former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., from 2003 to 2005.
Chaffetz became the chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee in January 2015 and also serves on the House Judiciary Committee, his bio states.
He has participated in several investigations, including the Benghazi terrorist attack, the Fast & Furious gun running operation, the IRS targeting scandal, and the Secret Service investigation, according to his bio, and “he is deeply engaged in exposing waste, fraud and abuse within the federal government.”
2. He Has Familial Ties to Former Democratic Presidential Nominee Michael Dukakis
A 2009 story posted on Deseret News, a Utah news organization, mentions Chaffetz’s tie to the Dukakis family. The article, which focuses on Chaffetz’s opposition to gay marriage, mentions that Michael Dukakis’ wife, Kitty, was once married to Chaffetz’s father, John Chaffetz.
Dukakis, a Democrat and former Massachusetts governor, ran for president in 1988 and lost to George H.W. Bush.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Jason Chaffetz wasn’t yet born during the time his father was married to Dukakis’ now-wife. But after Kitty and John Chaffetz divorced and Kitty married Dukakis, the families and their children, stepchildren and half siblings maintained close relationships, Dukakis said in the story.
Dukakis also told the Times that in 1988 the younger Chaffetz was a Democrat, who served as Utah youth coordinator for Dukakis.
Chaffetz’s Grandfather Was an FBI Agent
At the hearing Thursday, Chaffetz told Comey: “I have the greatest admiration for the FBI. My grandfather was a career FBI agent.”
According to a document on The Black Vault regarding Maxwell Chaffetz, who Wikipedia lists as Jason Chaffetz paternal grandfather, Maxwell Chaffetz entered the FBI on Feb. 10, 1930, as a student fingerprint classifier. He was appointed to special agent in 1934 and served in the role until 1946.
According to a biography of FBI agents in the 1930s, Maxwell Chaffetz was involved in the hunt for gangster John Dillinger, and Chaffetz took the fingerprints of Dillinger at the morgue to positively identify him after he was killed by federal agents.
4. Chaffetz Is Married & Has 3 Children
According to his House bio, Chaffetz has been married to his wife, Julie, since 1991, and the couple has three children.
In 2009, after Chaffetz was first elected to Congress, he wrote a piece for CNN in which he stated that he was learning to set aside individual time with each of his children and his wfe.
“I’m learning to balance the workload,” he wrote. “The real challenge for me is setting the work aside. My family is still the center of my life. I look forward to that flight home every single weekend.”
He went on to say that he and Julie both attended Brigham Young University and met at a wedding while in college.
5. Before the Hearing, Chaffetz Told Reporters He Believes Clinton Broke the Law
Chaffetz told Fox News on Wednesday that he wanted to know what Clinton’s intent was in using private email servers.
“If somehow, somebody is dealing in classified information for years on time and putting people in harm’s way and yet still not prosecuted, the law probably needs to be updated or they’re not properly applying the law, and that’s why we need to explore this,” he said in the interview.
He also told Today that he thinks Clinton committed a criminal act.
“I do believe that she broke the law,” he said in the Today interview, “and that’s what we want to ask.”