Bob Schaffer

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Bob Schaffer
Bob Schaffer Head Shot.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byWayne Allard
Succeeded byMarilyn Musgrave
Member of the Colorado Senate
In office
Personal details
Born (1962-07-24) July 24, 1962 (age 57)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Maureen Schaffer
Alma materUniversity of Dayton

Robert Warren Schaffer (born July 24, 1962) is a Republican former member of the United States House of Representatives from the State of Colorado in the 105th Congress and the two succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2003). Schaffer was co-chairman of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, and an outspoken leader in promoting American interests and human rights in Eastern Europe.[1]

Schaffer is currently Headmaster of Liberty Common High School, a school chartered by the Poudre School District based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Under Schaffer's leadership, the school beat the state's all-time record composite SAT (college readiness) score.[2]

In 2004, Schaffer lost in the primary election to be the Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat. He was the Republican nominee for Colorado's other Senate seat in the 2008 election, which he lost to Democratic nominee Mark Udall.


Early years[edit]

Schaffer was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised Catholic.[3] He attended Archbishop Moeller High School.

The son of public-school teachers, Schaffer worked his way through college as a farm hand. In 1984, he graduated from the University of Dayton with a B.A. in Political Science. He was later awarded an honorary doctorate in Management from Colorado Technical University.

Colorado State Senator[edit]

Schaffer served for nine years as a Colorado State Senator in the Colorado General Assembly. Schaffer was only 25 years old in 1987 when he was appointed to finish Colorado State Senator Jim Beatty's term, making Schaffer the youngest to serve in Colorado's Senate. As a Colorado Senator, he was Chairman of the Finance Committee, the State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, and the Local Government Committee. Schaffer also was the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Schaffer was awarded the "National Republican Legislator of the Year for 1995" by the National Republican Legislators Association.[citation needed]

In 1993, Schaffer made headlines when he removed a display from the Capitol—that was in clear view of visiting children—that contained pamphlets describing "unsafe sexual practices." [4]

U.S. Congressman[edit]

Schaffer was first elected to the U.S. Congress in November 1996 representing Colorado's 4th congressional district, succeeding Wayne Allard and Hank Brown.

Schaffer served three terms in Congress, fulfilling the three-term pledge he made during his first Congressional campaign.[5]

Schaffer upheld his pledge in spite of pleas from national Republicans and President George W. Bush to run for another term.[6] Schaffer lead no less than four congressional delegations to Ukraine, and offered an ultimately unsuccessful balanced budget resolution and amendment. He was described as fiscally and socially conservative and to the right of the center of the party.[7]

His education policy work focused on school-choice and local control, and Schaffer was remembered for being able to help his Republican colleagues form their arguments when debating this issue.[7] He was succeeded by Marilyn Musgrave in January 2003. His congressional colleagues recount his tenure in congress as an education-policy expert.[citation needed]

Schaffer is of Ukrainian heritage, the son of a Ukrainian immigrant to the United States.[8] He has received multiple recognitions for his advocacy of Ukraine–United States relations, and for defense of Ukraine's territorial integrity under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.[9][10] Schaffer was co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus.[11] Schaffer served as an election observer during Ukraine's 2004 “Orange Revolution.”[8]

The American Conservative Union gave him a 100% evaluation in 2001.

Post-2002 career[edit]

Liberty Common High School[edit]

Since 2010, Schaffer has served as the inaugural principal of Liberty Common High School, a college-preparatory charter school in Fort Collins, Colorado. During his time at Liberty Common, the first four graduating classes posted the highest average composite ACT score in Colorado, with the class of 2015 breaking the state record.[12] During the 2017 - 2018 school year, Schaffer was appointed as headmaster and Torgun Lovely, former vice-principal, replaced him as principal of the school.[13]

Energy Industry[edit]

Schaffer was vice-president for business development at Aspect Energy, LLC., where he was involved in a variety of energy, mining and education projects, working primarily in wind energy. He was also a board member on the National Alternative Fuels Foundation,[14] but environmental groups released attack ads during the 2008 U.S. Senate race highlighting Shcaffer's congressional vote which gave $2.5 billion to alternative energy research and a much larger amount to traditional energy research and tax credits.[15]

Board Member[edit]

Schaffer served as president of the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education, a non-profit corporation promoting school choice reform in Colorado's public education system, and is active in the state's transformation to a market-driven education system.

Leadership Program of the Rockies[edit]

Schaffer has been chairman of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, a nonprofit corporation that provides economic education and civic-leadership training in Colorado.[16] Schaffer is a regular columnist for the Fort Collins Coloradoan daily newspaper.[17] Schaffer was also an opinion columnist for the now-defunct Northern Colorado Courier.

Colorado League of Charter Schools[edit]

Since 2003, Schaffer has been chairman of Leadership Program of the Rockies, a nonprofit organization providing economic education and civic-leadership training in Colorado.[18]

Republican National Committee[edit]

In March 2005, Schaffer was elected Republican National Committeeman for Colorado.

Colorado State Board of Education[edit]

Schaffer was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Colorado State Board of Education by a party vacancy committee, representing a district that is coterminous with the state's Fourth Congressional District. He successfully ran for the seat in 2006, against Democrat Tom Griggs. In January, 2009, Schaffer was made chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education with a unanimous decision of the four Republican and three Democratic board members.[19] Fellow board members elected Schaffer to continue his chairmanship in 2011.[20]

As Chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education, Schaffer borrowed ideas from Singapore and Finland when working to create new forward-thinking standards that are both internationally benchmarked and designed to grow students’ strategic thinking capabilities over fact memorization.[21]

Citing the importance of letting parents know if someone proximal to their children has been arrested, Schaffer took a leadership role in the effort to require parent notification if a school employee is arrested or charged with a serious crime. The measure went into effect in April 2011 despite strong opposition from the Colorado Education Association, the state-based teachers' unions.[22][23]

Schaffer maintained the position throughout the debating of the measure that parents are in the best position to make decisions about their children's safety. He voted against adopting Common Core standards, but the federal standards passed on a 4-3 vote. Adopting the standards were a keystone factor to the Colorado's application for $175 million in Race to the Top funds. In early 2011, Schaffer took heat from Democratic State Board of Education member Mary Johnson. The disagreement was over Schaffer's inviting William Maloney, Colorado education commissioner under both parties from 1997 to 2007, who spoke on “three incontestable realities concerning which America has been in denial for decades,” regarding America's education performance on a global scale, the unsustainable costs of education, and the availability of better models for the path forward.[24]

Under Schaffer's chairmanship tenure, unanimous charter school guidelines were adopted. The new concrete rules adopted best practices for charter school authorization.[25]


He is the Colorado Chairman of the Judicial Confirmation Network.[citation needed] In 2006, Schaffer founded Dreamsoft Colorado, LLC,[26] a firm that creates high-end interactive websites for business and political clients. He is also the President of AMDG LLC. As a member of the Fort Collins, Colorado community, he owned a small business.[9]

2004 U.S. Senate race[edit]

In 2004, Schaffer contended for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate after incumbent Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell chose not to run for re-election. Brewing magnate Pete Coors opposed Schaffer. Coors entered the bitter primary battle after Schaffer faced down potential contenders such as David Liniger, founder of ReMax. The nomination battle concluded when Coors won the Republican nomination over Schaffer with 61% of the vote. Coors went on to lose to Democratic nominee Ken Salazar in the 2004 general election.[27]

2008 U.S. Senate election[edit]

Schaffer's Jefferson County field office in 2008

Schaffer was the Republican nominee for the open seat of retiring Senator Wayne Allard. He lost to Mark Udall, the Democratic nominee.

On May 9, 2007, Schaffer filed his official statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission. On May 12, 2007, he made an official announcement in Boulder that he would run for the Senate to a group of over 150 Republicans attending a fundraising event.[28]

On September 28, 2008, Udall and Schaffer appeared on Meet the Press's Senate Debate series, discussing the proposed bailout of the U.S. financial system.[29]

Political opposition[edit]

In 2008, the League of Conservation Voters named Schaffer a member of its "Dirty Dozen" because of an anti-environmental record during his tenure in Congress.[30]

In 2001, then-congressman Schaffer voted for President Bush's energy plan that Democrats argued was a $33 billion gift to the oil corporations.[31] Republicans argued that the bill would help reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.[32]


  • Grand Junction Daily Sentinel on October 9, 2008 [33]
  • The Pueblo Chieftain on October 17, 2008 [34]

Link to the Jack Abramoff Scandals[edit]

Schaffer was allegedly linked to the Mariana Islands worker abuse scandal by his association with the Traditional Values Coalition, a non-profit Christian charity headquartered in Washington, D.C., which opposes abortion and advocates for religious freedom around the world. The organization was used by Jack Abramoff to pay for the trip of the then-Congressman to visit the island. The Denver Post reported that the TVC paid the $13,000 travel bill for the trip, organized by Abramoff's lobbying firm.[35] Schaffer appeared visibly angry and expressed disgust with the Denver Post's reporting, asserting that the allegations were fiction and that he had no contact with the individuals in the report, particularly Jack Abramoff.[36]

WikiLeaks Reveals Motives Behind Scandal Accusations[edit]

These accusations against Schaffer were spearheaded by Allen Stayman. Stayman leveled the unconfirmed and never proven Schaffer-Abramoff accusations at a press conference organized by Catholics United, an organization with ties to the Democratic Party and created John Podesta for the purpose of mobilizing Catholics into a socially progressive "Catholic Spring."[37][38][39]

Abramoff's lobbying team would prepare questions and "factual backup" for friendly lawmakers. Trips to the island for congressmen and staff would be a key tool to "build permanent friends," the memo said.

The congressional junkets to the Mariana Islands were designed to build support in Congress among Republican lawmakers to block labor and immigration legislation for the islands, which had been found to harbor squalid working conditions and abusive labor practices, including child prostitution and forced abortions.[35]

Schaffer claimed that he spoke with local clergy who denied there was a problem of forced abortions in the Northern Marianas,[40] the only area of the United States where abortion is banned by their local constitution.[41][42] After his return from the islands, Schaffer used his position on the Resources Committee to attack reports of abuses on the islands.[43]

Benemerenti Medal[edit]

Upon retiring from Congress in 2003, Schaffer was awarded the Benemerenti medal by Pope John Paul II. The Benemerenti Medal is an honour awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Catholic Church.[44]

Schaffer is a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem by confirmation of the Holy See in the name of and by the authority of Pope John Paul II.[45][46] He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 1214 of Fort Collins, Colorado.

During his 2008 Senate campaign, Schaffer suggested that the Northern Marianas' guest worker program might serve as a model for U.S. national immigration policy, stirring further controversy.[47]

Schaffer was particularly impressed with their pre-qualifying foreign workers before they were allowed to immigrate to the CNMI. According to a 1998 World magazine article that mainly sourced Andrea Sheldon of the TVC, some argued that the issues of the Northern Marianas labor, wage, and immigration laws are simply attacks by U.S.-based labor unions who are attempting to eliminate competition.[48] Schaffer told the Denver Post, "The workers were smiling; they were happy."[49] Schaffer downplayed criticism from anti-abortion organizations that he participated in Abramoff's lobbying strategy to protect the sweatshop system by arguing, "In five days, I did not observe a forced abortion or meet anybody who had any knowledge of them."[40]


  1. ^ "Congressman Schaffer Commends Ukraine for 9/11 Support". Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  2. ^ "Fort Collins charter school breaks Colorado's SAT record". Coloradoan. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  3. ^ "Fort Collins Catholics React to News Archbishop Chaput May Be Elevated to Cardinal, by Trevor Hughes, The Coloradoan, July 19, 2011". 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  4. ^ "Durango Herald Online". 2004-08-08. Archived from the original on August 21, 2004. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  5. ^ "Bob Schaffer To Retire". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
  6. ^ "Windsor Colorado Breaking News, Opinion, Sports and Entertainment |". Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  7. ^ a b Mulkern, Anne C. "Schaffer runs on promises made good". Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  8. ^ a b "Go Orange! | National Review". National Review. 2004-11-30. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  9. ^ a b "Guide to the Papers of Congressman Bob Schaffer". United States. Congress. House. Retrieved 2018-07-02.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ Schaffer, Bob (June 26, 1997). "Congressional Record - Ukrainian Constitution" (PDF).
  11. ^ "House of Representatives forms Congressional Ukrainian Caucus (07/06/97)". Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  12. ^ "Fort Collins charter school breaks state ACT record". 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  13. ^ "Liberty Common High School principal becomes headmaster". Coloradoan. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  14. ^ "Corrections – The Denver Post". 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  15. ^ Fender, Jessica (2008-05-21). "Schaffer's energy record focus of TV spots – The Denver Post". Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  16. ^ "Speaker profile: The Honorable Bob Schaffer | LPR Podcast Archive". Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  17. ^ "Opinion: American liberty relies upon active, engaged fathers". Coloradoan. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  18. ^ "Gustus: Welcome new Viewpoints columnist". Coloradoan. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  19. ^ "Schaffer to chair state education board – The Denver Post". 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  20. ^ "2 new Colo. education board members sworn in – The Denver Post". 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  21. ^ "Colorado's new educational standards stress strategic thinking". 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  22. ^ Whaley, Monte (2011-04-19). "Colorado school districts ordered to promptly tell parents of any criminal or sex charges against employees". Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  23. ^ "Editorial: Parents deserve to know". 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  24. ^ "Andrews: Why unions fear school reform". 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  25. ^ Robles, Yesenia (2012-01-11). "Colorado education board approves charter-school guidelines". Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  26. ^ "News". Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  27. ^ Roberts, Joel (2004-04-12). "Washington Wrap". CBS News. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  28. ^ "Former Rep. Schaffer says he'll run for Allard's seat". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2007.
  29. ^ " Video Player". NBC News. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  30. ^ "LCV Names Former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer to 2008 "Dirty Dozen"". Archived from the original on March 14, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  31. ^ "'Thanks, Bob' ad spawns spoof". Archived from the original on April 11, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  32. ^ Alvarez, Lizette (2001-02-27). "G.O.P. Energy Bill Is Likely to Set Off Fierce Policy Fight –". The New York Times. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; United States; Alaska. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  33. ^ "Schaffer for Senate". Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
  34. ^ "オリジナルTシャツは写真の使い方次第【愛着が湧く洋服を作ろう】". Archived from the original on 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  35. ^ a b Riley, Michael (13 April 2008). "Schaffer, lobbyist strategies meshed". Denver Post.
  36. ^ Lofholm, Nancy. "Schaffer 'disgusted' with articles exploring lobbyist link – The Denver Post". Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  37. ^ Riley, Michael (2008-09-29). "Old charges resurface in Senate race – The Denver Post". Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  38. ^ "The Podesta Emails". WikiLeaks. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  39. ^ Pulliam, Sarah. "WikiLeaks emails appear to show Clinton spokeswoman joking about Catholics and evangelicals". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  40. ^ a b Hoover, Tim (2008-04-22). "Abortion foes assail candidate for Senate". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  41. ^ [1]
  42. ^ "The Commonwealth Constitution : Article I". Archived from the original on June 11, 2008. Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  43. ^ Riley, Michael (2008-04-13). "Schaffer, lobbyist strategies meshed". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  44. ^ "Gustus: Welcome new Viewpoints columnist". 2016-09-08. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  45. ^ Schaffer, Bob (June 25, 1997). "Congressional Record - House" (PDF).
  46. ^ "Bob Schaffer". OPPORTUNITY COALITION™. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  47. ^ Riley, Michael. "Tricky issue of immigration played down". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  48. ^ "Micromanaging Micronesia? Playing politics with persecution". April 18, 1998. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  49. ^ "Abramoff ties cloud Schaffer's '99 fact-finding trip". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2016-03-06.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Wayne Allard
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Marilyn Musgrave
Party political offices
Preceded by
Wayne Allard
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Colorado
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
Cory Gardner