Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chair of the House Oversight Committee, has decided to step down in January 2018 rather than run for another term.
While not much is known about the cause of his decision, BuzzFeed News confirmed through two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity that Chaffetz is not running for re-election in 2018. The five-term Congressman has been the recent target of the anti-Trump resistance movement, as he has so far refused to use the power of his committee to investigate President Trump for multiple conflicts of interest.
After retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was fired as national security advisor, Chaffetz drew criticism for refusing to investigate Flynn’s unsanctioned conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. However, Chaffetz did pursue a criminal investigation as late as February 2017 against a former staffer in Hillary Clinton’s State Department who helped the failed presidential candidate set up a private email server in her home.
Local constituents’ frustration with Rep. Chaffetz flared up at a February town hall event, in which the Congressmen was shouted down out by angry protesters chanting “do your job.” Attendees demanded that he properly investigate the president and cease efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
The oversight chairman also stirred up viral outrage with remarks made on national TV defending President Trump’s failed attempt to repeal Obamacare, saying people should choose between having a new iPhone and having healthcare.
Chaffetz was also behind a short-lived attempt to sell off federal land to private interests in 10 Western states. After organized resistance by hunting and fishing groups, he withdrew the bill.
According to BuzzFeed News, Chaffetz will step down in January of 2018, when the next Congress is sworn in. The Congressman released a statement on Facebook announcing he “may run again for public office, but not in 2018.”
Kevin Wallace is a journalist with five years’ experience in print and digital media, and covers politics, media, and culture for the Resistance Report. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.