Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Utah's Chaffetz expected to leave office by end of June

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the Republican House Oversight Committee chairman who shocked the world with his unexpected retirement announcement last month, made another surprise announcement on Thursday: He will resign from his congressional seat before his term expires in 2019.

Mr. Chaffetz, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, announced in April that he would not run for re-election and hinted he may step down early to take a job in the private sector.

A top Utah state lawmaker says that U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz is expected to leave office by the end of June.

"After careful consideration and long discussion with my wife, Julie, we agree the time has come for us to move on from this part of our life", the Utah Republican writes in a letter to his 3rd District constituents.

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"There are lots of good people who care about these issues and are well-suited to carry out these investigations", Chaffetz said.

"[The investigation] could go on for years", said Chaffetz.

The top investigative body in the House recently requested James Comey's memos and invited the fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director to testify next week before its panel.

Just earlier this week, after news broke that Trump had asked FBI Director James Comey to scrap the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in February, Chaffetz subpoenaed Comey's memos, and invited the ex-agency chief to testify next week before his committee. Trump allegedly asked Comey to back off an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn's ties to Russian Federation.

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"Rep. Gowdy is talking to members in the conference about the qualities they believe are most important for the next Chairman to possess", Gowdy spokeswoman Amanda Gonzalez said.

Herbert has said he already has the authority to call a special election if one of Utah's four seats in the U.S. House becomes vacant and conduct it similar to a regular election.

Chaffetz and a spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment on reports of his departure. "I turned 50, I'm sleeping on a cot", Chaffetz said of his life as a congressman in Washington. "And what I worry is that the Democrats are going to politically exploit this on a daily drumbeat, making up theories, making up stories. when you don't have the definitive word from somebody who's going to be essentially silent".

At that time, he said he meant to return to the private sector, though he did not rule out running for public office again at some point.

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