Todd Tiahrt

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Todd Tiahrt
Todd Tiahrt, official photo portrait, color.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kansas's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byDan Glickman
Succeeded byMike Pompeo
Member of the Kansas Senate
from the 26th district
In office
January 11, 1993 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byKenneth D. Francisco[1]
Succeeded byNancey D. Harrington
Personal details
William Todd Tiahrt

(1951-06-15) June 15, 1951 (age 71)
Vermillion, South Dakota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseVicki Tiahrt
EducationEvangel University (BA)
Southwest Missouri State University (MBA)

William Todd Tiahrt[2] (/ˈthɑːrt/ TEE-hart; born June 15, 1951) is an American politician who served as the U.S. representative for Kansas's 4th congressional district from 1995 to 2011. A member of the Republican Party, he was elected as part of the historic Republican Wave of 1994, defeating 18-year incumbent U.S. Representative Dan Glickman. He ran in 2010 for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Sam Brownback.[3] He lost to fellow Republican U.S. Representative Jerry Moran of Hays, Kansas, 50%–45%.[4]

Tiahrt twice sought to regain the 4th District House seat, representing a district which encompasses eleven counties in the south central region of the state, including the City of Wichita. In 2014, he ran against incumbent Mike Pompeo in the Republican primary but was defeated. Then, in 2017, after Pompeo vacated the seat to become President Donald Trump's CIA Director, Tiahrt sought the Republican nomination for the special election to fill it, but came in third, losing to Kansas state treasurer Ron Estes.[5]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Tiahrt was born in Vermillion, South Dakota, the son of Marcine (née Steele) and Wilbur E. Tiahrt.[6] He attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology where he played football as a running back.[7] He went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Evangel College in 1975, and received a M.B.A. from Southwest Missouri State University in 1989. He was a teacher at Kansas Newman College and Evangel College and worked for Boeing as a proposal manager.[8]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


Tiahrt was elected to the Kansas State Senate in 1992. After only one term, in 1994, he won the Republican nomination for the 4th Congressional District and was elected in an upset over 18-year Democratic incumbent Dan Glickman. Over 1,800 people volunteered for Tiahrt's campaign which spent only $200,000, less than a quarter of Glickman's expenditures.[9]

One factor in the win was the 1990s reapportionment, in which Hutchinson and surrounding Reno County were shifted to the "Big 1st" District. Hutchinson was replaced with more reliably Republican Montgomery County. After a tough reelection bid in 1996, Tiahrt was reelected to the U.S. House six more times with little difficulty, before his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid in 2010.

Committee assignments[edit]

Leadership roles and Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Dean of Kansas' delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Founder and chairman of the House Economic Competitiveness Caucus
  • Deputy Majority Whip

Impeachment of Bill Clinton[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 2008-2011.[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 2009-2011, 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 1993-1994 and later served as Tiahrt's legislative director and chief of staff from 1995-2010.[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 2002-2011.[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[edit]

Abortion and family planning[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

  • 2017 Republican Convention for Kansas 4th District
    • Ron Estes, 66 votes, 2nd Ballot
    • Alan Cobb, 43 votes
    • Todd Tiahrt, 17 votes
  • 2014 Republican primary race for Kansas 4th District
    • Mike Pompeo (inc), 42,877 votes, 63%
    • Todd Tiahrt, 25,501 votes, 37%
  • 2010 Republican primary race for U.S. Senator – Kansas
    • Jerry Moran, 160,620 votes, 50%
    • Todd Tiahrt, 144,221 votes, 45%
  • 2008 race for Kansas 4th District
  • 2006 race for Kansas 4th District
    • Todd Tiahrt (R), (inc.) 64%
    • Garth McGinn (D), 34%
  • 2004 race for Kansas 4th District
    • Todd Tiahrt (R), (inc.) 66%
    • Michael Kinard (D), 31%
  • 2002 race for Kansas 4th District
    • Todd Tiahrt (R), (inc.) 61%
    • Carlos Nolla (D), 37%
  • 2000 race for Kansas 4th District
    • Todd Tiahrt (R), (inc.) 54%
    • Carlos Nolla (D), 42%
    • Steven Rosile (L), 4%
  • 1998 race for Kansas 4th District
    • Todd Tiahrt (R) (inc.) 58%
    • Jim Lawing (D) 39%
    • Craig Newland (T) 3%
  • 1996 race for Kansas 4th District
    • Todd Tiahrt (R), (inc.) 50%
    • Randy Rathbun (D), 47%
  • 1994 race for Kansas 4th District


  1. ^ "Our Campaigns - KS State Senate 26 Race - Nov 03, 1992".
  2. ^ Rep. Todd Tiahrt,
  3. ^ Jeffrey Young (2009-01-31). "Kansan Tiahrt makes Senate bid official". The Hill. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  4. ^ Jean, Pamela (August 4, 2010). "2010: Kansas Primary Election Results". Kansas Free Press.
  5. ^ Hegeman, Roxana (February 9, 2017). "Kansas Republicans pick Estes as nominee for US House seat". St. Louis Dispatch. Retrieved February 11, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Profile". Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  7. ^ "Mines to honor 1970 Hardrocker SDIC champions". Rapid City Journal. October 30, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "TIAHRT, Todd (1951-)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  9. ^ "INCUMBENT'S DEFEAT IS A CASE STUDY IN GRASS-ROOTS POLITICS". Chicago Tribune. November 20, 1994.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "SELECT AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE" (PDF). Retrieved March 29, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ Pace, David (6 Nov 1997). "17 in House seek probe to impeach president". The Record. The Associated Press. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  13. ^ a b Hutcheson, Ron (17 Nov 1997). "Some House Republicans can't wait for elections". Asheville Citizen-Times. Knight-Rider Newspapers.
  14. ^ Barkham, Patrick (18 November 1998). "Clinton impeachment timeline". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Roll Call 498 Roll Call 498, Bill Number: H. Res. 581, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. 8 October 1998. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  16. ^ "Roll Call 546 Roll Call 546, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. 19 December 1998. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Roll Call 545 Roll Call 545, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. 19 December 1998. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Roll Call 544 Roll Call 544, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. 19 December 1998. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  19. ^ Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154; p:225-7000, DC 20515-6601 (19 December 1998). "Roll Call 543 Roll Call 543, Bill Number: H. Res. 611, 105th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  20. ^ a b c Grimaldi, James V.; Horwitz, Sari (October 24, 2010). "Industry pressure hides gun traces, protects dealers from public scrutiny". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  21. ^ a b Knight, Healther (June 19, 2007) "Mayors Fight Gun Measure", San Francisco Chronicle; accessed December 12, 2016.
  22. ^ "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah". Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  23. ^ a b c "Rating letter". Kansas State Rifle Association. July 21, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  24. ^ Mascia, Jennifer (April 7, 2016). "Lawsuits Against Gun Sellers Almost Never Make it to Trial. This One Will". The Trace. Retrieved February 2, 2018. The Missouri Supreme Court will allow a woman to sue a gun dealer despite PLCAA, a law that shields manufacturers and retailers from most liability suits.
  25. ^ Barnes, Robert (2009-10-01). "Justices to Decide if State Gun Laws Violate Rights". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-02-19. the 5 to 4 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment extends beyond the federal government and federal enclaves such as Washington.
  26. ^ Mears, Bill (June 28, 2010). "Court rules for gun rights, strikes down Chicago handgun ban". CNN. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  27. ^ "Rep. Todd Tiahrt Introduces Bill to Prohibit In-State Tuition to Illegal Aliens". NumbersUSA. January 29, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ "H.R.4548 - Fairness for American Students Act". 26 April 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "Who We Are - Matt Schlapp". The American Conservative Union.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ "Matthew Stroia". Legistorm.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ "Hill Climbers: Staffer Serves on Hill and in Church". Roll Call. February 10, 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. ^ "Joel N. Katz". Legistorm.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  33. ^ "Voyages Summer 2014". Voyages - Christopher Newport University. July 13, 2014.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. ^ "Joel N. Katz". Legistorm.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  35. ^ a b "U.S. Representative Jake LaTurner announces his full staff for the 117th Congress". January 29, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  36. ^ "Josh Bell". Legistorm.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  37. ^ "CONGRESSMAN ESTES ANNOUNCES HIS WASHINGTON, DC TEAM". May 23, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  38. ^ a b "Tiahrt Names Campaign Chief for Race in Kansas 4th". Kansas Public Radio. June 4, 2014.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  39. ^ "Words of Support From Bush at Anti-Abortion Rally". The New York Times. January 23, 2004.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  40. ^ "Using Gifts as Bait, Peru Sterilizes Poor Women". The New York Times. February 15, 1998.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  41. ^ a b "Abortion and Family Planning Related Provisions in U.S. Foreign Assistance Law and Policy" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. August 21, 2020.
  42. ^ Budget Forbids Money for Needle Exchange, Washington Post, October 22, 1998.
  43. ^ Tiahrts comments on the TSA,; accessed December 12, 2016.
  44. ^ "Proposed TSA security rules irk private fliers". Lincoln Journal Star. March 1, 2009.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  45. ^ "Todd Tiahrt's Voting Records - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  46. ^ "Tiahrt Takes another Swing at Obama Stimulus Spending". YouTube. June 18, 2009. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12.
  47. ^ "From the Heart - The Tiahrts' Love Story". Splurge!. 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  48. ^ "We Are NRECA: Jessica Healy on electric cooperative legal resources". YouTube. February 6, 2020. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12.
  49. ^ "Authorities speculate that 16-year-old committed suicide". Topeka Capital-Journal. July 25, 2004. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  50. ^ "Tiahrt's son laid to rest". Lawrence Journal-World. July 29, 2004. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  51. ^ "Tiahrt Family Releases Statement After Son's Suicide". 13 WIBW. July 31, 2004. Retrieved December 8, 2016.

External links[edit]

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