Boehner, who largely controlled committee assignments, had casually asked what House committees Chaffetz might want to serve on. Chaffetz answered that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was his top choice.

Chaffetz received a call from Boehner aide Trevor Kolego shortly before the announcement of committee assignments. Kolego said he had bad news: Chaffetz had not been selected for the oversight committee. Worse, he was being assigned to committees he had specified as among his least desirable.

A crestfallen Chaffetz took a deep breath, as he remembers. Searching for a graceful response, he asked Kolego to thank Boehner and reaffirmed his support for the leader.

Kolego called Chaffetz back the same day and said, “Congratulations. You got all three committees you wanted.”

Chaffetz exulted, but asked, “What happened?”

“Oh, that’s just John,” Kolego replied, as Chaffetz remembers. “He wanted to figure out what kind of [expletive] you were going to be.”