Jason Chaffetz Grows in Stature in the US House of Representatives
Most of the online gambling community knows Jason Chaffetz as the member of the House of Representatives most associated with Restore America’s Wire Act, also known as RAWA. While South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is the main sponsor of RAWA in the U.S. Senate, Jason Chaffetz fills the same role in the House of Representatives.
People who read about gaming laws know that Chaffetz sits on the House Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee is pivotal in the move to pass Restore America’s Wire Act, because that is the committee which reviews the bill and decides whether to put it on the House floor for a vote. During the 113th Congress, Republicans controlled the Judiciary Committee (and continue to do so). Since Chaffetz is a epublican politician, one might expect he could move the bill out of committee and into a House vote scenario. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the Chairman of the committee and also a GOP lawmaker, was cold to the idea during the 2014 sessions of Congress. If that is all one has to go on, one might think the Utah-based Jason Chaffetz is a minor player in the House of Representatives. That’s not so–at least not anymore.
New House Oversight Committee Chairman
What gamblers and industry observers might not know is that Jason Chaffetz just received the votes to become the House Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Chaffetz is set to replace Representative Darrell Issa of California, who is stepping down due to house rules on term limits for committee chairmen. Chaffetz steps into one of the most powerful posts in the U.S. House of Representatives.
One authority site describes the Oversight Committee as having “government-wide oversight jurisdiction and expanded legislative authority”, which makes the committee “one of the most influential and powerful committees in the House”. The Oversight Committee has broad jurisdiction and fills the main investigative role in the House. Of all the committee chairmen, the Oversight chairman is the only one who can issue subpoenas without a committee vote. By recent tradition, chairman follow the protocol of a vote, but it isn’t needed.
Expanded Influence and Power
When the 114th Congress opens in January 2015, Jason Chaffetz is set to be among the most respected and influential lawmakers in the House of Representatives. Issa tweeted this weekend that Chaffetz, is “an experienced leader” who will “continue the pursuit of transparency in gov(ernment).” Clearly, the Utah congressman has the firm backing of his own party, or else he would not have won the vote to succeed Issa.
What It Means for RAWA
That could mean a key proponent of Restore America’s Wire Act could be in a key position of power and influence. It should be noted that the Oversight Committee does not have a direct role in the passage of online gambling laws. But powerful committee chairmen are in a position to influence and command respect of their peers, which translates to a better position of leverage in all their affairs in Congress. When Jason Chaffetz speaks in the 114th Congress, fellow lawmakers among the Republicans and Democrats are more likely to listen.
Chaffetz Will Show More Decorum
It appears Jason Chaffetz is going to be quite type of leader in the House. When he was still vying for Issa’s position earlier this fall, he told The Wire, “I have the greatest respect and admiration for Congressman Issa, but I don’t intend to be Darrell Issa-like. How you do things matters in this body, and how we do things would be a bit different.”
Therefore, it appears one of Sheldon Adelson’s handpicked favorites in the U.S. Congress has attained a new level of power. He is also likely to be quieter than his predecessor, who once infamously shut off the microphone of the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee. Because he’s going to show better manners with his newfound status, online gambling proponents should be aware one of the men who is most vocal about banning online gambling throughout the United States will be wielding more influece behind the scenes.
About Jason Chaffetz
Jason Chaffetz’s father, John Chaffetz, was previously married to Kitty Dukakis, the wife of former Democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency in 1988. Jason Chaffetz is half-brothers with the actor John Dukakis. Despite his role in the GOP, Chaffetz remains friendly with his famous Democratic family members. In fact, he was a Democrat until 1990, when he had a chance meeting with Ronald Reagan.
When he was still in college, Jason Chaffetz was the starting placekicker for the BYU college football team (in 1988 and 1989). He was in the business world for most of the next 20 years, and only ran for Congress in 2008. Since then, Chaffetz has been on the fast track to power in the U.S. House of Representatives.