Adam Schiff

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This article is about the American legislator. For the fictional district attorney, see Adam Schiff (Law & Order).
Adam Schiff
Adam Schiff, official photo portrait, 111th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 28th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Howard Berman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 29th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Henry Waxman
Succeeded by Tony Cárdenas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 27th district
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by James Rogan
Succeeded by Brad Sherman
Personal details
Born Adam Bennett Schiff
(1960-06-22) June 22, 1960 (age 58)
Framingham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Eve Schiff
Children Alexa
Alma mater Stanford University
Harvard University
Religion Judaism

Adam Bennett Schiff (born June 22, 1960) is the U.S. Representative for California's 28th congressional district. He has served in Congress since 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Schiff represented the 27th and 29th Districts between 2003 and 2013, which included the areas of Alhambra, Altadena, San Gabriel, Burbank, Glendale, South Pasadena, Temple City, Monterey Park and Pasadena. In 2010, his district was re-districted to include new areas including Hollywood, Echo Park, Hollywood Hills, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Sunland-Tujunga, and West Hollywood, in addition to areas he represented before like Burbank, Glendale, and the western part of Pasadena.

Schiff has become an influential voice for his party in the House of Representatives on foreign policy and national security issues.[1] He serves as Ranking Member of the 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 career

He was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, to a traditional Jewish family, and moved to Oakland during high school.[2] He received a political science degree from Stanford University and a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.

After receiving his degree from Harvard, Schiff was a lawyer, working as a prosecutor in the Los Angeles branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office. During his time as 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."[3] The first time Miller was tried, it resulted in a hung jury; the second time, it resulted in a conviction overturned on appeal,[4] and the third time he was convicted.

California State Senate

Schiff was elected to the State Senate after two unsuccessful attempts in 1996.[5] He was a member of the California State Senate, serving as the chair of that body's judiciary committee during his one term.

During his tenure in the California 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 Representatives

Schiff is currently serving his eighth term in Congress.

Armenian Genocide

Schiff has been a leading voice in Armenian-American issues; he claims to have over 70,000 Armenian-Americans in his district.[6][7] He has strongly pushed for signing of the US House Resolution 106 recognizing the Armenian Genocide. On October 11, 2007, the resolution sponsored by Schiff was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.[8] Turkey's prime minister said that approval of the resolution would endanger U.S.-Turkey relations.[9] The resolution was again approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 4, 2010 by a 23-22 margin.[10] He continues to reintroduce the resolution each subsequent Congress.

Campaign finance reform

After the Supreme Court strike 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.[11]

Helicopter noise

Beginning with Rep. Howard Berman before he 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.[12] After reintroducing his legislation, Schiff has 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.[13] The FAA has announced that they will create a county-wide helicopter noise public complaint system, the first step towards regulation.[14]

Intelligence and surveillance reform

Schiff has been a prominent supporter of surveillance reforms, especially in the wake of the leaks of classified intelligence by Edward Snowden.[15] 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.[16] 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,[17] 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.[18]

Investigation of Benghazi attack

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.[19] 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.[20] 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."[21] Despite those reservations, he still accepted an appointment to the Committee because if he felt he "could add value, [he] would serve."[22]

Press freedom

Schiff formed the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Caucus for the Freedom of the Press in 2006[23] 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.[24][25] 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.[26] 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 in consultation with the Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy, to establish a grant program aiming to promote freedom of the press worldwide.[25] On May 17, 2010 President Barack Obama, accompanied by the Pearl family, signed into law the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act.[27]

War authorization reform and authorization against ISIS

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."[28] 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.[29]

Committee and caucuses

Committee assignments


  • 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

Congressional campaigns


Schiff was elected in 2000, defeating Republican incumbent Jim Rogan. 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[30] (several elections in 2006[31] and 2008[32] 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 (it was the 9th District from 1913 to 1933, the 11th District from 1933–43, the 20th District from 1943 to 1975, the 22nd District from 1975 to 1993, and the 27th District from 1993 to 2003).

2010, 2012 and 2014

In 2010, Schiff defeated Tea Party backed Republican John Colbert for a 6th term.[33] In 2012, he defeated Republican Phil Jennerjahn.[34] In 2014, he defeated independent candidate Steve Stokes. [35]

Personal life

Schiff lives in Burbank, California with his wife Eve Marion (née Sanderson)[36] and two children, Alexa and Elijah.[37]

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,[38] and has since participated in other races in Philadelphia, New York City and Malibu.[39] In 2014, Schiff became 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.[40] The tour includes up to 2,500 bicyclists and more than 500 support crew participants who cycle or crew to raise funds for HIV/AIDS services & raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.


  1. Neuman, Johanna (5 June 2005). "Congressman Is Gaining a Name in Foreign Affairs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  2. Peschiutta, Claudia (22 July 2000). "Meet Adam Schiff". Glendale News-Press. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  3. Soble, Ronald (10 October 1990). "Ex-FBI Agent Miller Guilty of Espionage". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  4. Fleeman, Michael (22 August 1990). "THIRD ESPIONAGE TRIAL BEGINS FOR FORMER FBI AGENT". Associated Press. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  5. Mills, James (30 August 2012). "Adam Schiff Enjoying Getting to Know West Hollywood". Patch-AOL. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  6. Washington Post: "Worse than irrelevant: A congressional resolution about massacres in Turkey 90 years ago endangers present-day U.S. security", p. A16, October 10, 2007
  7. Wall Street Journal: "Political History", Review & Outlook, October 2, 2007
  8. "US House Speaker: Armenian Genocide Measure Will Go Forward". Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  9. "Turkey's PM says U.S. relations in danger". Reuters. October 12, 2007. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  10. Simon, Richard; Watanabe, Teresa (March 5, 2010). "House panel narrowly passes recognition of Armenian genocide". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 7 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  11. Wells, Jason. "Rep. Schiff introduces constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United decision". 
  12. Aguilar, Erika (7 December 2012). "Congressman Schiff says he will reintroduce helicopter noise bill". Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  13. Simon, Richard (14 January 2014). "Spending bill to likely give L.A. $130 million for key rail projects". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  14. "FAA To Create Public Complaint System For Helicopter Noise". CBS Los Angeles. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  15. Holman, Kwame (2 July 2013). "Crusader for More Transparency on Intelligence Sees Risk and Reward From Snowden Leaks". PBS. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  16. Anderson, Nate. "House reaffirms FISA as "exclusive means by which electronic surveillance may be conducted"". Ars Technica. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  17. Shabad, Rebecca (14 January 2014). "Schiff unveils NSA metadata reform bill". The Hill. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  18. Sledge, Matt. "Adam Schiff Prepares FISA Court Bill To Create Special Privacy Advocate". Huffington Post. 
  19. Weisman, Jonathan (22 May 2014). "Pelosi Picks 5 Democrats for Panel on Benghazi". New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  20. Walsh, Dierdre (6 August 2014). "Benghazi probe presses ahead despite new report". Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  21. Hicks, Josh (4 May 2014). "Schiff: Benghazi select committee a ‘colossal waste of time’". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  22. Mikailian, Arin (24 May 2014). "House appoints Schiff to Benghazi investigation committee". Burbank Leader. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  23. "The Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press Calls on Secretary of State Rice to Urge Russia to Protect Journalist Rights". Schiff Congressional Website. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  24. "President Obama Signs the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act". The Cypress Times. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Meckler, Laura (2010-05-17). "Obama Signs Pearl Press-Freedom Act". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  26. "U.S. to Promote Press Freedom". The New York Times. New York, NY. 
  27. Meckler, Laura (17 May 2010). "Obama Signs Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  28. Ackerman, Spencer. "Congressman Preps Bill to End Terror War Authority". Wired. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  29. Schiff, Adam (November 17, 2014). "Congress must exercise its war powers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  30. Center for Responsive Politics. "Most Expensive Races 2000". Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  31. Center for Responsive Politics. "Most Expensive Races 2006". Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  32. Center for Responsive Politics. "Most Expensive Races 2008". Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  33. [1] Archived March 13, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  35. Kellam, Mark. "Schiff, Gatto easily win their political races". Glendale News-Press. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  36. Stone, Kurt F. The Jews of Capitol Hill: A Compendium of Jewish Congressional Members Lanham, Md. | Scarecrow Press | 2011
  37. "Meet Adam Schiff « Adam Schiff for Congress". 1960-06-22. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  38. Wilkie, Christina (21 June 2010). "Schiff completes inaugural D.C. Triathlon". Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  39. Rojas, Warren (30 May 2014). "Adam Schiff Mounts Most Grueling Endurance Challenge Yet". Roll Call. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  40. St. John, Stevie (31 May 2014). "Rep. Schiff Pedaling from SF to LA with HIV/AIDS Ride". WEHOville. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James Rogan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 27th congressional district

Succeeded by
Brad Sherman
Preceded by
Henry Waxman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 29th congressional district

Succeeded by
Tony Cárdenas
Preceded by
Howard Berman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 28th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Betty McCollum
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Pat Tiberi