Some DC residents are organizing PACs against Rep. Jason Chaffetz
Some are giving money to Republican Damian Kidd, currently Chaffetz's only primary opponent
Washington, DC residents, upset that a Utah congressman is meddling in their local politics, are using their voices and money – and setting up a PAC – to try and help oust him.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz represents the 3rd Congressional District in Utah, but residents in the District have a bone to pick with him. He serves as the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which under the Constitution has the right to block legislation passed by DC’s council.
Chaffetz did just that last week when the committee tried to overturn the District’s law allowing assisted suicide, drawing outrage from local leadership, who say Congress is overstepping its authority to reverse Washington’s laws.
While the measure never went to a full House vote and ended up becoming a law in the District, residents are still unhappy with the authority Chaffetz sought to exercise and the fact that he has said he wants to aggressively step up congressional oversight in Washington.
In response, some DC residents are giving money to Damian Kidd, a Republican lawyer from Utah and currently Chaffetz’s only primary opponent.
Kidd says after he announced his run in February, he “started hearing from DC residents almost immediately.”
“We here in the 3rd congressional district of Utah feel the same way that they do in Washington in that we disagree with federal overreach on local maters,” Kidd said. “While we in the 3rd district disagree with some of the laws in DC, we are all frustrated with the federal overreach Chaffetz is utilizing.”
Chaffetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As protests against Chaffetz are igniting in Washington, many of Chaffetz’s own constituents are expressing their displeasure with their congressman. At a rowdy town hall in Utah two weeks ago, protesters continuously cut off Chaffetz and yelled at him about everything from his stance on Obamacare to his failure to use his position on the Oversight committee to properly investigate President Donald Trump’s financial dealings and communications with Russia.
Lynette Craig is a resident of the District of Columbia, but has roots in Utah. During her time here, she said she has grown frustrated with the lack of representation for Washington residents in Congress – they have a delegate to the House, but not a voting member – and as a result became involved in the movement for DC statehood. Now, she is banding together with fellow activists to create a PAC called Americans for Self-Rule.
“We intend to use the funds in whatever way possible to make meddlesome congressional representatives, especially Chaffetz, keep their hands off of DC,” Craig said.
“It’s an extra burn, having Utah roots, that Chaffetz is hurting my family back home, and now I live in the District and see that Chaffetz ran on a platform of reducing federal overreach but came here and had no problem exacting overreach on the District.”
Charles Allen, the DC councilmember representing Ward 6, has been leading “Hands Off DC” movements and meetings. Allen said his constituents are fed up and are relaying that message to Chaffetz’s own constituents.
“If I were a voter in Utah, I didn’t send my congressman to DC to meddle in local politics. I think they’ve got a whole lot more they can be doing instead of dealing with local laws and taxpayers,” Allen said. “I have no ability to hold Chaffetz accountable, but he has a whole bunch of ways he can impact my life and I think that is absolutely a shame.”