Jason Chaffetz to Leave Congress on June 30

Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced he will leave Congress on June 30. (BILL CLARK/CQ ROLL CALL)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced Thursday that he will leave Congress on June 30, saying in a letter to his constituents he had notified Utah Gov. Gary Herbert of his intention to resign.

Chaffetz announced his intention not to run for re-election in April.

In the Thursday letter, Chaffetz said his decision came “after careful consideration and long discussion with my wife” and that “the time has come for us to move on from this part of our life.”

He did not confirm in his letter reports that he is in talks to join Fox News.

Chaffetz’s announcement that he would not run again to represent Utah’s 3rd Congressional District took Washington by surprise. But as Republicans have struggled to capitalize on their control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, Chaffetz – a thorn in the side of the Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – has drawn the ire of some for appearing more reluctant to scrutinize the administration of President Donald Trump.

Chaffetz, who only had nominal opposition in his four re-election bids, also heightened his national profile by saying in March that Americans might have to choose between health care and buying an iPhone – remarks that landed him a well-funded Democratic challenger.

Yet news of his early departure follows Chaffetz scheduling a public hearing for next week that’s expected to delve into whether Trump sought to quash an FBI probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The oversight committee chairman also is seeking notes reportedly written by fired FBI Director James Comey detailing his conversations with Trump, and his departure raises questions about the panel’s probe of ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

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SOURCE: U.S. News and World Report, Gabrielle Levy