Jason Chaffetz

Jason Chaffetz


Chaffetz Targets Professional Sports Non-profit Tax Exempt Status


Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jason Chaffetz introduced H.R. 547, the Properly Reducing Overexemptions (PRO) for Sports Act, which would eliminate the 501(c)(6) tax-exemption for professional sports organizations with annual revenues over $10 million. The bill was introduced in the 113th Congress as HR 3965.

Under H.R. 547, organizations like the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) would lose their tax exemption. Currently, NFL and NHL franchises are taxable, but their leagues are not. 

“Professional sports organizations aren’t fooling anybody. Organizations like the NFL and NHL are for-profit businesses making millions of dollars each year. These are not charities nor are they traditional trade organizations. They are for-profit businesses and should be taxed as such,” said Chaffetz. “Closing this loophole should be combined with closing several other loopholes in order to lower tax rates in a revenue-neutral manner."

H.R. 547 is consistent with actions taken by the Tax Court with businesses that were previously classified as 501 (c)(6) organizations. For example, in 1953, the Tax Court revoked the 501 (c)(6) exemption for the American Automobile Association because "its principal activities were determined to consist of securing benefits and performing particular services for members." The Tax Court has also ruled "a trade association of manufacturers whose principal activity is the promotion of its members' products under the association's registered trademark does not qualify for exemption."

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, removing non-profit status for major professional sports leagues would increase federal revenues by $109 million over ten years.


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Rep. Chaffetz aims to fix broken budget process with Review Every Dollar Act


WASHINGTON, DC - This week, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) introduced the Review Every Dollar Act (RED Act) to strengthen spending controls, enhance oversight of government spending and bring honest accounting to Washington’s broken budget process. HR 405 has been introduced twice before, as HR 1873 in the 113th Congress and HR 3579 in the 112th Congress.


“More than ever, Washington D.C. must change the way it does business,” said Chaffetz.  “The appropriations process is flawed.  The RED Act makes fundamental changes to that process, requiring Congress to be more accountable for financial decisions.  Ultimately, this legislation is intended to slow spending by improving the process to help Congress do the right thing.  If we want different results, we have to do something different.  We have to change the process.”


The bill has five provisions that reform the way Congress creates budgets. First, the bill requires periodic sunset reviews and reauthorization of federal programs. Committees of jurisdiction shall consider whether spending programs should be modified, terminated, or reauthorized. Criteria include cost effectiveness and efficiency of the program, whether the program is duplicative with other programs and should be consolidated with similar programs, whether the original objectives of the program have been achieved, and whether alternative methods exist to carry out the objectives.


Second, the bill creates deficit reduction accounts. This reform would ensure that if an amendment is adopted that reduces the amount of budget authority provided in a bill, then that budget authority is not merely shifted to some other part of the bill but is instead made permanently unavailable and thus used to reduce the deficit.


Third, general fund transfers to the highway trust fund will be scored as spending. In recent years, the federal government has transferred more than $34 billion from the general fund to the highway trust fund. This provision does not prevent general fund transfers to the highway trust fund nor does it reduce highway spending, which includes the mass transit account, but this provision does require that such transfers be scored as spending.


Fourth, Pell Grant funding will be entirely discretionary. Currently, Pell Grants are funded through a mixture of annual appropriations and direct spending. This provision shifts current Pell Grant mandatory spending to discretionary spending without reducing Pell Grant spending or the current maximum award of $5,550. This provision simplifies the program and gives Congress better control over costs.


Fifth, this bill requires that administrative actions that increase costs of mandatory programs cannot go into effect unless Congress enacts legislation to fund them. Under current law, agencies that run programs funded through direct spending can take administrative actions such as changing eligibility that increase the cost of that program to the federal government without approval from Congress. Congressional approval should be required for all spending, including mandatory spending.


The Review Every Dollar Act reforms the federal government’s broken budget process by increasing oversight and transparency.


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Chaffetz, Wyden Stand Up for Privacy with GPS Act


Washington, D.C. – In order to create clear rules about when law enforcement agencies can access and track Americans’ electronic location data Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, reintroduced the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (GPS Act) today.

The bipartisan, bicameral bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and in the House by Reps. Peter Welch, D-VT and Jon Conyers Jr., D-MI.

“Buying a smartphone shouldn’t be interpreted as giving the government a free pass to track your movements,” Wyden said. “GPS data can be a valuable tool for law enforcement, but our laws need to keep up with technology and set out exactly when and how the government can collect Americans’ electronic location data.”

"As technology makes tracking people's movements easier and less expensive, we need to update our laws to protect privacy and respect individual rights. In light of the Supreme Court's decision in United States vJones, which was certainly a step in the right direction, we need clarification specific to the use of GPS technology. This law will settle the controversy and provide specific and clear guidelines to ensure this valuable and effective technology is not abused,” said Chaffetz.

"Smartphones make our lives easier, but the privacy of the individual and due process are fundamental to the American way of life," Senator Kirk said. "Law enforcement can greatly benefit from information obtained from smartphones and GPS devices – but only if it's obtained legally."

“Cell phones are in the pockets and purses of most Americans. While tracking technology has transformed our lives in many positive ways, it also poses a risk to privacy through potential misuse of tracking data.  The time has come to modernize our statutes to reflect the technology of our age.  This bipartisan legislation protects Americans’ right to privacy while ensuring law enforcement officials are able do their important jobs,” said Welch.

“We must enact the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act to require the government to obtain a warrant based on probable cause to compel companies such as cell phone service providers to disclose the geolocation information of their customers,” Geolocation tracking, whether information about where we have been or where we are going, strikes at the heart of personal privacy interests.  The pattern of our movements reveals much about ourselves.  When individuals are tracked in this way, the government is able to generate a profile of a person’s public movements that includes details about a person’s familial, political, professional, religious, and other intimate associations.  That is why we need this legislation to provide a strong and clear legal standard to protect this information, said Conyers, Jr. 

Courts have issued conflicting opinions about whether the government needs a warrant to track Americans through their cell phones and other GPS devices. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2012’s U.S. vs. Jones case that attaching a GPS tracking device to a vehicle requires a warrant, but it did not address other digital location tracking, including through cell phones, OnStar systems and consumer electronics devices.

The GPS Act applies to all domestic law enforcement acquisitions of the geolocation information of individual Americans without their knowledge, including acquisitions from private companies and direct acquisitions through the use of ‘Stingrays’ and other devices.  It would also combat high-tech stalking by creating criminal penalties for surreptitiously using an electronic device to track a person’s movements, and it would prohibit commercial service providers from sharing customers’ geolocation information with outside entities without customer consent.  


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Chaffetz pharmaceutical measure to remove barriers to the development of combination drugs


WASHINGTON, DC – Intended to spur the development of drugs previously considered economically infeasible, HR 406 was introduced by Congressman Jason Chaffetz today.  The bill would extend to new combination drugs containing molecules already approved by the FDA the same five-year market exclusivity as a drug product containing an entirely new active ingredient.

The existing Hatch-Waxman law gives new drugs a period of five years of “market exclusivity” to help them defray the cost of undergoing the FDA new drug approval process.  Therefore, regardless of the patent situation of a new drug, the company can count on having five years as the exclusive seller of the product.  Thirty years ago when Hatch-Waxman was enacted, all new drugs were “new chemical entities,” that is, new molecules that had never before been approved.  No one at the time considered the possibility that a new drug might be created combining existing molecules (that is, molecules that had already been approved).  

Today, however, it is clear that much of the future of conventional medicine is in combination products.  This has proven especially true in the fields of cancer, AIDS and other complex diseases.  

“As the law is currently written, virtually all combination new drugs are excluded from the five years of market exclusivity and therefore are not being developed,” said Chaffetz.  “A new drug that has been created using one or more existing molecules should not be required to go through the same rigorous, lengthy and expensive FDA new drug approval process.”

The legislation is supported by a coalition consisting of large research-based pharmaceutical companies like Sanofi and BI, small innovators like Pozen, and independent generic companies like TEVA who recognize that the future of the generic industry depends upon Congress encouraging the development of new medicines.  

This may well be the first time ever that the research-based and generic pharmaceutical companies have joined on an issue involving market exclusivity. The bill extends to new combination drugs containing molecules already approved by the FDA the same five-year market exclusivity as a drug product containing an entirely new active ingredient.  “This legislation is intended to allow companies to develop new medicines that are not financially or economically feasible under existing law,” Chaffetz said.  



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Chaffetz: No federal bailouts for states’ $4 trillion pension problem


Washington, D.C. – H.Res. 41, introduced today, declares Congress’s opposition to federal bailouts of state and local government employee pension plans. In 2012, state and local government employee pension funds reported unfunded liabilities that equal more than $4 trillion. Identical legislation (H.Res. 23 and H.Res 117) was introduced during the 112th Congress and 113th Congresses.

“Unfortunately, too many state and local government pension plans have understated liabilities and overstated asset growth rates,” said Chaffetz.  “They have employed methodologies that federal law prohibits private sector plans from using.  This is a problem states will have to face.”

The federal government is already deeply in debt, having borrowed 14 cents of every dollar spent in 2014.  As of January 2015, the federal government itself carries $18 trillion of debt, of which $13 trillion is owed to the public and $5.1 trillion is owed to Social Security and other trust funds.

“State and local governments should not look to the federal government to rescue them from the consequences of poor public policy decisions,” said Chaffetz. “With more than 16% of the total federal budget already going directly to state and local governments, the federal government can’t afford to fix this problem. Bailing out states that have recklessly adopted overly generous pension programs would send the wrong message to states that have made the hard decisions to manage their budgets responsibly.”



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Chaffetz introduces fairer system for distribution of high-skilled immigrant visas


Washington, DC—Consistent with his commitment to fix legal immigration, Congressman Jason Chaffetz reintroduced legislation to create a fair and equitable first-come first-served visa system.  HR 213, the bipartisan Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, would eliminate per country percentage caps for employment-based visas. Reps. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) will once again be original cosponsors of this legislation.

“This bill is an important step toward creating a more equitable and less arbitrary immigration system.  Our current practice of capping visas at an arbitrary 7% per country ultimately favors people from some countries while penalizing people from others.   Those from countries with larger populations or close proximity to the United States ultimately wait years longer to receive a visa than those from small countries,” said Chaffetz.  “While this bill does not fix all of our legal immigration problems, it addresses an important problem that has created a backlog of qualified workers.”

Under this system, U.S. companies will be able to focus on what they do best – hiring smart people to create products, services, and jobs for Americans. An identical version of the bill (H.R. 3012) passed the House during the 112th Congress with a resounding bipartisan vote of 389 to 15, but the subsequent version in the 113th Congress (HR 633) did not receive a vote. “The current percentage cap has created a backlog of qualified workers.  American companies view all highly skilled immigrants as the same regardless of where they are from, and our immigration policy should do the same,” said Chaffetz.

HR 213 creates a fair and equitable, “first come, first serve” system.  Under this system, US companies will be able to focus on what they do best – hiring smart people to create products, services, and jobs for Americans.

Current law prohibits US employers from hiring foreign workers to fill these jobs unless there are not sufficient US workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available. The employment of the immigrant will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed workers in the US. HR 213 does not change this, but it does encourage high skilled immigrants who were educated in the US to stay and contribute to our economy, rather than taking the skills they learned and aiding our competitor nations.  

“I am committed to helping fix legal immigration. Per country limits make no sense in the context of employment-based visas. Companies view all highly skilled immigrants as the same regardless of where they are from—be it India or Brazil,” said Chaffetz.   “By removing per country limits, American companies will be able to access the best talent.” 

The bill also adjusts family-based visa limits from 7% per country to 15% per country.

This legislation is pro-growth, pro-jobs, and pro-innovation.  It is supported by the US Chamber of Commerce, Compete America (a coalition of high tech companies (Microsoft, Google, Oracle, etc.) and various trade groups (BSA, SIA, ITIC, etc.).

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Chaffetz statement on the passing of former Utah House Speaker Rebeccca Lockhart


Today Congressman Chaffetz released the following statement regarding the tragic death of former Utah Speaker of the House Rebecca Lockhart:   "The devastating passing of Speaker, leader, trailblazer and friend Becky Lockhart weighs heavily upon all of us in the Chaffetz office.  Working with Utah's first female Speaker of the House was a great privilege for each of us.  Her story of strong leadership, decisive action and firm devotion to principle will long be remembered.     "I appreciate the unprecedented levels of inclusion and cooperation she brought to the speakership.  She remains a powerful role model for women and men across the state.  Julie and I express our profound sadness to the Lockhart family and our gratitude for the sacrifices that enabled Utah to benefit from her extraordinary leadership." Read More

Chaffetz Supports Defunding Obama's Executive Action on Immigration


Washington, D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz released the following statement after voting to cut off funding for President Obama’s executive action on immigration:

“Today we pushed back against President Obama's unilateral attempt to change laws with which he doesn't agree. I voted to defund the amnesty executive order and convey to the President in no uncertain terms that Congress will not stand by and cede the Constitutional authority entrusted to us by hardworking Americans.  His executive amnesty betrays the American people by circumventing the Constitution we in Congress have sworn to uphold. My constituents have been loud and clear. They want Congress to work together to fix legal immigration, secure the border, and protect American workers.  We still have a great deal of work to do and it ought to be accomplished within the Constitutional bounds our Founders set."


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Chaffetz, Cummings Respond to DHS Secret Service Panel Report


Washington, D.C. – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman-elect Jason Chaffetz (R – UT), and current Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D – MD), released the following statement in response to a review conducted by an independent panel appointed by the Department of Homeland Security on recent security breaches within the Secret Service:

"We appreciate the hard work this panel put into reviewing recent incidents within the Secret Service. Their report highlights many issues we have long had concerns with. Every day honorable men and women put their lives on the line to protect the President, first family, and others within the Administration. There’s no room for mistakes.

“At the start of the new Congress, we will be conducting a bipartisan investigation that will allow lawmakers to further examine some of the matters highlighted in this report. The investigation will examine security breaches that have recently been publicly reported, as well as focus on overall leadership, staffing, culture, protocol, technology, tactics and training issues. A serious and robust investigation must include cooperation on both sides of aisle in order to root out systemic problems and implement proper reforms.”


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Chairman-elect Chaffetz Announces New Oversight Subcommittees and Chairs


Washington, D.C. – Incoming Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz announced this week six new Subcommittees that will be established during the 114th Congress and the Chair selections:

“When assessing the future of the committee and our goals, we saw an opportunity to make some changes, which includes modifications to subcommittee issue areas and titles. These changes will allow the subcommittee Chairs and Members to take a new approach to addressing the matters that come before the committee. Each of the incoming Chairs brings valuable knowledge and experience to the subcommittees they have been selected to lead and I am grateful for their commitment to bringing vigorous oversight to the federal government, “said Chaffetz.

Subcommittees (in alphabetical order):

Government Operations – Mark Meadows (NC)

Included on a long list of focus areas, the Government Operations Subcommittee will focus on a range of issues that includes federal records, national archives, Executive Office of the president, U.S. Postal Service, FOIA, Department of Commerce, Treasury, Education, and Labor, and federal civil service, among other issues.

Health Care, Benefits, & Administrative Rules – Jim Jordan (OH)

This subcommittee will focus on issues related to HHS, healthcare, gov-wide rules and regulations, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid. 

Information Technology – Will Hurd (TX)

The IT Subcommittee will focus on federal IT procurement, Will Hurd (TX) Cybersecurity, IT infrastructure, emerging technologies, and intellectual property, among other issues. 

Interior – Cynthia Lummis (WY)

The Interior Subcommittee will focus on issues related to the Department of Interior, Department of Energy, EPA, and USDA.

National Security – Ron DeSantis (FL)

The National Security Subcommittee will focus on issues related to DOD, Dept. of State, USAID, DHS, VA, DOJ, and the intelligence community.

Transportation and Public Assets – John Mica (FL)

This subcommittee will focus on issues related to the Department of Transportation, TSA, FEMA, HUD, GSA, and real property.


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Washington, DC 20515
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Selected by House leadership to chair the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, Jason Chaffetz enters his third term in Congress with energy, enthusiasm, and a determination to continue reforming Washington, D.C.

Believing in the core conservative principles of a strong national defense, fiscal discipline, limited government, and accountability, Mr. Chaffetz distinguished himself as a budget hawk by co-founding the Sunset Caucus, identifying budget cutting measures, running a lean office that returned more than $600,000 of his office budget in his first term, and sleeping on a cot in the closet of his office.  He was asked by House Speaker John Boehner to chair the House Technology Operations Team, was featured regularly on CNN’s freshman year, and consistently appears in local and national media outlets to communicate the conservative message.

On November 4, 2008, Mr. Chaffetz was elected by a 37-point margin to represent Utah’s Third Congressional District.  To secure the Republican nomination, Mr. Chaffetz unseated a 12-year incumbent by a 20-point margin, and did so with no paid campaign staff, no polling, no free meals for potential voters, no campaign office, and a refusal to go into debt to finance the campaign.  Despite being outspent by over $600,000, Mr. Chaffetz’ approach to conservative principles resonated with voters and resulted in an unprecedented victory.

Mr. Chaffetz comes to Congress with a 16-year history in the local business community, executive branch experience in Utah State government, a reputation for running strong political campaigns, and a distinguished college football career.

Mr. Chaffetz, who grew up in California, Arizona, and Colorado, was invited to Utah in the mid-1980s by the legendary Brigham Young University football coach LaVell Edwards to be a placekicker.  His years at BYU literally transformed his life.

After a successful football career that included two years as the starting placekicker and two school records, Mr. Chaffetz earned a degree in communications and married Julie Johnson of Mesa, Arizona.  In February, Mr. and Mrs. Chaffetz celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.

In 1995, Mr. Chaffetz’s mother passed away after a long fight with cancer.  Consequently, he was deeply touched by the overwhelming generosity of the Utah-based Huntsman family in fighting the disease that killed his mother.  Their commitment was more than words as they personally donated hundreds of millions of dollars to research and treat cancer.

Upon reading an article about Jon Huntsman, Jr. potentially running for Governor of Utah, Mr. Chaffetz sought to meet the man who had given so much to fight cancer.  Through a mutual friend, a meeting was set up and Mr. Chaffetz eventually joined the Huntsman for Governor staff.  Shortly thereafter, Mr. Chaffetz was named Campaign Manager.  In a crowded field of contenders, Huntsman triumphed by running a well-organized, positive campaign and became Utah’s 16th Governor.  The Governor invited Mr. Chaffetz to continue working with him as his Chief of Staff.

Mr. Chaffetz used his time in the Governor’s Office to learn about the federal delegation and the issues that matter to the State of Utah.  As Utah’s representative in Congress, he is committed to represent Utah to Washington, not Washington to Utah.  Mr. Chaffetz made a commitment to voters in 2008 that he would seek to return this country to the core conservative principles of fiscal discipline, limited government, accountability and a strong national defense.  As he concludes his second term, he has a distinguished record of promoting legislation to restore those values.

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