Todd Tiahrt

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In November 1997, Tiahrt was one of eighteen Republicans in the House to co-sponsor a resolution by Bob Barr that sought to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Bill Clinton. [12] [13] The resolution did not specify any charges or allegations. [13] This was an early effort to impeach Clinton, predating the eruption of the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal. The eruption of that scandal would ultimately lead to a more serious effort to impeach Clinton in 1998. [14] On October 8, 1998, Tiahrt voted in favor of legislation that was passed to open an impeachment inquiry. [15] On December 19, 1998, Tiahrt voted in favor of all four proposed articles of impeachment against Clinton (only two of which received the needed majority of votes to be adopted). [16] [17] [18] [19]

Tiahrt Amendment

Tiahrt is the author of the Tiahrt Amendment which prohibits the National Tracing Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation. [20]

This precludes gun trace data from being used in academic research of gun use in crime. [20] Additionally, the law blocks any data legally released from being admissible in civil lawsuits against gun sellers or manufacturers. [20] Some groups, including the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, believe that having further access to the ATF database would help municipal police departments track down sellers of illegal guns and curb crime. These groups are trying to undo the Tiahrt Amendment. [21]

Numerous police organizations oppose the Tiahrt Amendment, such as the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Conversely, the Tiahrt Amendment is supported by the National Rifle Association, [22] and the Fraternal Order of Police (although it allows municipal police departments only limited access to ATF trace data in any criminal investigation). The NRA has claimed that undoing the Tiahrt Amendment would lead to a rash of lawsuits against gun dealers. [21]

In their 2010 letter of appreciation on behalf of the NRA Political Victory Fund and the 50,000 NRA members in Kansas, Tiahrt was honored with a 4th consecutive congressional race A+ NRA rating for his contributions to the pro-gun efforts. [23]

Tiahrt had earned the highest rating, by "voting for every pro-gun bill." [23] This included "critical pro-gun reforms" like the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA); [24] "legislation to expand Right-to-Carry to national parks and wildlife refuges", the Tiahrt Amendment to reform the ATF, and "legislation to restore" Second Amendment rights to Washington, DC. The A+ ranking took into consideration the letter he submitted to court briefs that he signed as a "critical friend of the court briefs" [23] in the 2008 landmark case District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, and that Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban and requirement that lawfully-owned rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock" violated this guarantee. [25] and the 2010 SC case McDonald v. Chicago which found that the right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment against the states, clearing up any uncertainty left in the wake of the Heller case. [26]

Tiahrt-Bilbray Bill Fairness for American Students Act

A bill was introduced by Tiahrt and Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) called the Fairness for American Students Act that would close a loophole in current law that several states have used to provide lower-cost college tuition to illegal immigrants compared to tuition rates U.S. citizens from neighboring states have to pay. [27] [28] Kansas and Nebraska are two of the states that currently offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.[ citation needed ]

Former Tiahrt congressional staff

Matt Schlapp is chairman of the American Conservative Union and a Fox News political commentator. Schlapp began his political career as a campaign volunteer for Tiahrt in 1994 and following Tiahrt's election in November 1994, Schlapp moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as Tiahrt's communications director and eventually chief of staff for five years. [29] He later served as White House Political Director for President George W. Bush.

Matthew Stroia serves as chief of staff to U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA). He served as a legislative counsel for Tiahrt from 2008 to 2011. [30] [31]

Joel Katz currently serves as district director for U.S. Representative Andrew Clyde (R-GA). [32] He served as legislative correspondent for Tiahrt from 2009 to 2011, and then went on to serve as legislative assistant for U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and chief of staff to U.S. Representative Doug Collins (R-GA). [33] [34]

Jeff Kahrs began as an intern for Tiahrt in the Kansas State Senate from 1993 to 1994 and later served as Tiahrt's legislative director and chief of staff from 1995 to 2010. [35] Kahrs currently serves as senior advisor to U.S. Representative Jake LaTurner (R-KS). [35]

Josh Bell served as a legislative correspondent and aide for Tiahrt from 2002 to 2011. [36] He currently serve as chief of staff to U.S. Representative Ron Estes (R-KS). [37]

Robert Noland was the only employee of Tiahrt's congressional campaign in 1994 and worked for Tiahrt throughout his tenure in the U.S. House, mostly as his district director in Wichita. [38] Noland later served as executive director of the Kansas Family Policy Council. [38]

Political positions

Abortion and family planning

Tiahrt opposed government-funded abortions. While serving in Congress, he spoke at the annual March for Life. [39]

The "Tiahrt Amendment" of 1998, which was most recently included in the FY2020 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, ensures that no government funding is used in connection with forcible sterilizations in foreign countries following media and NGO reports that some governments were offering financial incentives to meet sterilization quotas. [40] [41] The amendment ensures that in foreign countries where the U.S. government funds voluntary family planning projects, women are not denied the right to participate in any general welfare program or denied the right of access to health care. Further, the amendment requires that any experimental contraceptive drugs and devices and medical procedures are provided only in the context of a scientific study in which participants are advised of potential risks and benefits. [41]

Government funding for needles

Tiahrt was cited as responsible for preventing the City of Washington D.C., from spending federal or District funding on "needle exchange programs" for drug users from 1998 through 2007. [42]

Comments on the TSA

On November 23, 2010, Tiahrt spoke in Wichita against recent TSA security measures and how they affect citizens' privacy. [43] In 2009, along with Kansas' then-U.S. Senators, he co-authored a letter to the Homeland Security Secretary expressing concerns over new rules for privately owned aircraft over 12,500 pounds, which critics feared would further burden the already hurting private aviation industry and in turn the local communities where the small aircraft are manufactured in Kansas. [44]

Stimulus spending

Tiahrt voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [45] and spoke against the stimulus in the House, planning to introduce an act to repeal the stimulus. [46]

Personal life

Tiahrt and his wife Vicki met while attending Evangel University. [47] They have three children, Jessica, John and Luke, and five grandchildren. Jessica Tiahrt Healy graduated from George Mason University School of Law and is an attorney at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. [48] John Tiahrt graduated from Wichita State University. On July 24, 2004, the Tiahrts' youngest child, sixteen year-old Luke, died of an apparent suicide at the family home in Virginia. [49] [50] The family established the Luke Tiahrt Memorial Fund to provide grants to organizations that benefits teenagers. [51]

Electoral history

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Todd Tiahrt
Todd Tiahrt, official photo portrait, color.jpg
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Kansas's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1995 January 3, 2011
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kansas's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative