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Underdog to Congress • Rep. Jason Chaffetz wasn't widely known in Utah before he joined up to help Jon Huntsman's bid for governor in 2004 but quickly rose from serving as Huntsman's spokesman to running the campaign to serving as the new governor's chief of staff. He lasted less than a year in that spot, disappearing from public life until his 2008 challenge of six-term Republican Rep. Chris Cannon in the 3rd Congressional District. Entering the race as a clear underdog, he knocked off David Leavitt in the GOP convention and went on to thump Cannon in the primary.
Secret Service secret • As Chaffetz dug into a series of security lapses of the Secret Service, agents in the force began to dig into Chaffetz. Just minutes into a hearing, a senior agent logged into the service's computer system and discovered that the Utah Republican had once applied to join the agency and had been rejected. Some 45 agents or employees viewed the file and someone leaked it to the news media in an effort to embarrass the congressman. In the end, though, Chaffetz's investigations brought about new reforms and cost the jobs of multiple agents including its director.
The "non"chart • While grilling Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in his Oversight Committee, Chaffetz had his aides flash on the screens a chart showing the number of abortions provided by the group (327,653) as compared to cancer screenings and other preventable services (935,573). Except the chart ignored the y-axis, overlaying two sets of data that didn't cross, making it appear that the nonprofit was focused more on providing abortions than other services. The gaffe brought Chaffetz widespread mockery.
Run for speaker • When then-House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced he would leave Congress, Chaffetz said he would run for the spot. His long-shot bid he wasn't even a member of House leadership earned a big boost when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., withdrew from the race, leaving only Chaffetz and Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., as candidates. But Chaffetz later backed Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who won the speaker's post handily.
October surprise • Just 11 days before the 2016 presidential election, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to several congressional committee heads saying that he was looking into new evidence in the investigation of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's use of private email servers. Chaffetz tweeted that the case had been reopened. Comey later said he knew Congress would leak his letter. "Of course," he said. "I know how Congress works." While it's unclear how much of an impact the letter's release had on the election, it certainly helped Donald Trump's case to voters.
Obama to Trump • As Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, Chaffetz was dogged in his probes of the Obama administration. There was the gun-running case of Fast and Furious, Clinton's emails, the Benghazi attacks, the IRS scrutiny of conservative groups, the Environmental Protection Agency's response to the Flint, Mich., water crisis, the federal data breaches, to name a few. Under Trump, Chaffetz pushed off questions about Russia's meddling in the election to the House Intelligence Committee and only launched a few initial inquiries into Trump's scandals.
The town hall • While many Republicans were dodging their usual town halls, fearing a backlash, Chaffetz stood firm and took question after question from a fiery crowd in Cottonwood Heights. Video of the gathering went viral and Chaffetz blamed paid protesters for infiltrating it. In response, several constituents sent bills to Chaffetz, saying that they hadn't been paid so maybe he should fork out some dough.
Chaffetz vs. the TSA • In September 2009, Chaffetz was pulled from a line for a metal detector at Salt Lake City International Airport and steered into a queue for a body-imaging machine, a device Chaffetz had tried to ban because he said they were too intrusive. The congressman, who had voted against the ability for the TSA's union to use collective bargaining, reportedly swore at the officer and asked, "Do you know who I am?" The officer responded, "No," according to official reports about the incident.
Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi • After the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate and a CIA base in Benghazi, Libya, Chaffetz emerged as the chief critic of the Obama administration's response to the deadly assault. He flew to Tripoli to more closely scrutinize the attack that cost the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and held hearings to pin down the administration and, more specifically, then-Secretary of State Clinton. The investigation was later passed to a special select committee.
Obamacare repeal • Chaffetz couldn't have made a more dramatic entry than the day he made his way into the House chamber for the vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare on a knee scooter after surgery on his foot a pre-existing condition from a 12-year-old injury. That photo became an iconic image in the Republican battle to undo President Barack Obama's landmark achievement and replace it with a health care plan that nonpartisan analysts said would mean the loss of coverage for 23 million Americans.