Adam Bennett Schiff (born June 22, 1960) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for California's 28th congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, Schiff has served in Congress since 2001.
|Chair of the House Intelligence Committee|
January 3, 2019
|Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Dutch Ruppersberger|
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2001
|Preceded by||James E. Rogan (27th)|
Henry Waxman (29th)
Howard Berman (28th)
|Succeeded by||Brad Sherman (27th)|
Tony Cárdenas (29th)
|Constituency||27th district (2001–2003)|
29th district (2003–2013)
28th district (2013–present)
|Member of the California State Senate|
from the 21st district
December 2, 1996 – November 30, 2000
|Preceded by||Newton R. Russell|
|Succeeded by||Jack Scott|
Adam Bennett Schiff
June 22, 1960
Framingham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Eve Sanderson (m. 1995)
|Education||Stanford University (BA)|
Harvard University (JD)
Schiff represented the 27th congressional district from 2001 to 2003 and 29th congressional district from 2003 and 2013, which initially included the areas of Alhambra, Altadena, San Gabriel, Burbank, Glendale, South Pasadena, Temple City, Monterey Park and Pasadena. In 2010, his district's boundaries were re-drawn to include, among others, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta-Montrose and Sunland-Tujunga, as well as large slices of central Los Angeles including Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz.
Schiff is an influential voice for the Democratic Party on foreign policy and national security issues in the House of Representatives. He serves as the Ranking Member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is currently on leave from the House Appropriations Committee which he joined in 2007. He previously served on the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee and serves on the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.
Early life, education, and careerEdit
Schiff was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, the son of Edward and Sherrill Ann (Glovsky) Schiff. He was raised in a Jewish family, and moved to Danville, California, during high school. He received a political science degree from Stanford University and a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.
After Harvard Law School, Schiff began working as a prosecutor in the Los Angeles branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office. While an assistant U.S. Attorney, he gained attention by prosecuting a case against Richard Miller, a former FBI agent convicted of "passing secret documents to the Soviet Union in exchange for a promised $65,000 in gold and cash." The first time Miller was tried, it resulted in a hung jury; the second time, it resulted in a conviction overturned on appeal, and the third time he was convicted.
California State SenateEdit
Although Schiff was elected to California's 21st State Senate district, the area the district currently represents has changed through redistricting, and the area Schiff originally represented is now roughly considered the 25th Senate district.
During his tenure in the state senate, Schiff authored Senate Bill 1847, Chapter 1021. Signed into law in 1998, this created the Pasadena Blue Line Authority, which continued work on the stalled then-Blue Line light rail extension to Pasadena, which would later be named the Gold Line instead.
U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit
Schiff is currently serving his ninth term in Congress.
2003 invasion of IraqEdit
Schiff voted in favor of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In February 2015, discussing how or whether to tailor Bush-era plans from 2001 and 2002 to fight ISIS, Schiff was asked if he regretted voting to invade. He said, "Absolutely. Unfortunately, our intelligence was dead wrong on that, on Saddam at that time. [The vote] set in motion a cascading series of events which have [had] disastrous consequences."
Armenian genocide resolutionEdit
Schiff has been a leading voice in Armenian-American issues; he claims to have over 70,000 Armenian-Americans in his district. He introduced U.S. House Resolution 106, recognizing the Armenian genocide, which was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on October 11, 2007 but began to lose support after Turkey's prime minister said that approval of the resolution would endanger U.S.-Turkey relations. On March 4, 2010 the resolution was again approved to go forward by the House Foreign Affairs Committee by a 23-22 margin. Immediately, the Turkish government recalled its U.S. ambassador. Schiff said in 2007, "When you think about what we have against us -- the president, a foreign policy establishment that has condoned this campaign of denial, the Turkish lobby -- against that you have the truth, which is a powerful thing but doesn't always win out." He continues to reintroduce the resolution each subsequent Congress.
Campaign finance reformEdit
After the Supreme Court struck down campaign finance reform legislation in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission cases, Schiff introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn both decisions, H.J.Res 31, drafted by Harvard Law School Constitutional scholar Laurence H. Tribe.
Beginning with Rep. Howard Berman before Berman was defeated for reelection, Schiff has worked on reducing unwanted helicopter noise across Los Angeles County by proposing legislation to force the FAA to study and regulate helicopter noise in Los Angeles, the Helicopter Noise Relief Act. After reintroducing his legislation, Schiff worked with Senator Dianne Feinstein to push the FAA to act, and together they attached a provision in the 2014 omnibus appropriations package directing the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and FAA to address helicopter noise in Los Angeles County skies. As a result, in 2015 the FAA created a county-wide helicopter noise public complaint system, the first step towards regulation.
Intelligence and surveillance reformEdit
Schiff has been a prominent supporter of surveillance reforms, especially in the wake of the leaks of classified intelligence by Edward Snowden. In 2007, in response to disclosure of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, Schiff and Rep. Jeff Flake offered a successful amendment in the House of Representatives to clarify that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is the exclusive means for collecting foreign intelligence information within the United States. Schiff has been a critic of the bulk collection of telephone metadata by the National Security Agency. In January 2014, Schiff introduced the Telephone Metadata Reform Act, which would prohibit the bulk collection of domestic phone records. Schiff has also introduced several bills aimed at reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, including a bill to require outside counsel to be appointed to argue for privacy and civil liberties protections in certain cases before the Court.
Investigation of Benghazi attackEdit
Schiff was appointed to the House Select Committee on Benghazi in 2014 by Nancy Pelosi to serve as one of the five Democrats on the Committee. Schiff had participated in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence investigation into the attacks on the Benghazi diplomatic compound, which found that the initial talking points provided by the intelligence community were flawed but without an intention to deceive, and that diplomatic facilities across the world lacked adequate security. The report's findings were unanimous and bipartisan. Before he was appointed as a Member of the Benghazi Select Committee, Schiff called the establishment of a select committee to investigate the 2012 attack a "colossal waste of time," and said Democratic leaders should not appoint any members, stating: "I think it's just a tremendous red herring and a waste of taxpayer resources." Despite those reservations, he still accepted an appointment to the Committee because if he felt he "could add value, [he] would serve."
Schiff formed the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Caucus for the Freedom of the Press in 2006 aimed at advancing press freedom around the world. The Caucus proposed the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act and it was originally introduced to Congress by Schiff and Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) and by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.) on October 1, 2009 in response to the murder of Daniel Pearl by terrorists in Pakistan. The legislation requires the United States Department of State to expand its scrutiny of news media intimidation and freedom of the press restrictions during its annual report on human rights in each country. After its introduction, the act passed through the House of Representatives with a vote of 403 to 12 and passed unanimously in the Senate; however, a provision requiring the Secretary of State (in coordination with the Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and in consultation with the Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy) to establish a grant program aiming to promote freedom of the press worldwide was removed in the Senate. On May 17, 2010 President Barack Obama, accompanied by the Pearl family, signed into law the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act.
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in YemenEdit
In 2015, Schiff supported the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, saying: "The military action by Saudi Arabia and its partners was necessitated by the illegal action of the Houthi rebels and their Iranian backers. ... But ultimately, a negotiated end to this crisis is the only way to restore order in Yemen and shrink the space for terrorism."
After the President's speech at the National Defense University examining the U.S. war powers during the War on Terror, Schiff introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, the legislation passed in the days after the September 11 attacks to combat Al Qaeda, because he felt that "the current AUMF is outdated and straining at the edges to justify the use of force outside the war theater." The bill, introduced with Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), was intended to sunset. In addition to his legislation, Schiff has been a forceful proponent of debating and voting on a new war authorization against ISIS.
Comments on Trump-Russia collusion investigationEdit
On April 2, 2017 Schiff, the ranking member on the House Select Intelligence Committee which is tasked with conducting inquiries related to Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, appeared on CNN's State of the Union. In the wide-ranging interview Schiff and host Jake Tapper discussed Michael Flynn's request for immunity, Schiff's and Devin Nunes's separate inspections of White House documents, Trump's allegations of wiretapping in Trump Tower, and Nunes's apparent close association with the Trump White House. Tapper asked Schiff if there was evidence of Donald Trump–Russia collusion. Schiff replied: "I don't think we can say anything definitively at this point. We are still at the very early stage of the investigation. The only thing I can say is that it would be irresponsible for us not to get to the bottom of this." Tapper asked, "Do you think that Chairman Nunes was part of an attempt to provide some sort of cover for the president's claim about Obama wiretapping him at Trump Tower, which, obviously, this does not prove, but to cover for that, or an attempt to distract, as you're suggesting?" Schiff replied, "It certainly is an attempt to distract and to hide the origin of the materials, to hide the White House hand. The question is, of course, why? And I think the answer to the question is this effort to point the Congress in other directions, basically say, don't look at me, don't look at Russia, there is nothing to see here." A few days later Nunes recused himself as leader of the investigative panel while the House Committee on Ethics investigated whether he had disclosed classified information.
On July 23, 2017, on "Meet the Press", Schiff stated, "[A]t the end of the day we need to make sure that our president is operating not in his personal best interests and not because he's worried about what the Russians might have but because what he is doing is in America's best interest. The fact that we have questions about this is in itself harmful." The following morning on Twitter President Trump referred to Schiff as "Sleazy Adam Schiff, the totally biased Congressman looking into 'Russia'" and called the Russian collusion investigation "the Dem loss excuse". Schiff responded on Twitter that the President's "comments and actions are beneath the dignity of the office."
Schiff called North Korea "one of the most brutal and despotic regimes in the world." After the death of American student Otto Warmbier who had been imprisoned during a visit to North Korea, Schiff said: "The barbaric treatment of Otto Warmbier by the North Korean regime amounts to the murder of a U.S. citizen."
In April 2018, asked whether he thought Trump deserved at least partial credit for North Korea’s involvement in talks with the US, Schiff responded: “I think it’s more than fair to say that the combination of the president’s unpredictability and indeed, his bellicosity had something to do with the North Koreans deciding to come to the negotiating table.
Murder of Jamal KhashoggiEdit
On 16 November 2018 The Washington Post and other news media reported that the CIA had concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the assassination of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, has been briefed by the CIA on the agency assessment and stated afterwards that President Donald Trump was lying about the CIA findings.
Committee and caucusesEdit
- Co-chair of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus
- Co-founded the Democratic Study Group on National Security
- Co-founded the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press
- Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
In 2000, Schiff challenged Republican incumbent Jim Rogan in what was then the 27th District. The district had once been a Republican stronghold, but had been trending Democratic since the early 1990s. In what was the most expensive House race ever at the time (several elections in 2006 and 2008 later eclipsed it), Schiff unseated Rogan, taking 53 percent of the vote to Rogan's 44 percent. He became only the second Democrat to represent this district since its creation in 1913.
After the 2000 census, the district was renumbered as the 29th and made significantly more Democratic. As a result, Schiff has never faced another contest nearly as close as his 2000 bid, and has been reelected eight times. His district became even more Democratic after the 2010 census, when it was renumbered as the 28th and pushed into Los Angeles itself.
In 2010, Schiff defeated Tea Party–backed Republican John Colbert for a sixth term. In 2012, he defeated Republican Phil Jennerjahn. In 2014, he defeated independent candidate Steve Stokes. In 2016, he defeated Republican candidate Lenore Solis. In 2018, he defeated Republican candidate Johnny Nalbandian.
Schiff and his wife Eve have two children, Alexa and Elijah.
Schiff has participated in multiple endurance challenges including triathlons and marathons. Schiff was the only Congressman to participate in the inaugural Washington, D.C. triathlon in 2010, and has since participated in other races in Philadelphia, New York City and Malibu. In 2014, Schiff was the first member of Congress to participate in the AIDS/LifeCycle, a seven-day charity bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding to fight HIV and AIDS. Schiff is vegan.
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- "After Otto Warmbier's death, top senators say U.S. should consider banning North Korea travel". USA Today. June 20, 2017.
- "Trump's 'Unpredictability' Helped North Korea Peace Talks, Adam Schiff Says". Newsweek. April 29, 2018.
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But Schiff -- mild-mannered, judicious, vegan -- has ...
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Adam Schiff|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
- Congressman Adam Schiff official U.S. House site
- Adam Schiff for Congress
- Adam Schiff at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Column archives at The Guardian
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 27th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 29th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 28th congressional district
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority