Chaffetz Announces He Will Step Down From Congress Next Month

Bill Clark/CQPHO

House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) announced on Thursday he plans to resign from Congress on June 30.

“This week I sent a letter to Governor Herbert indicating my intention to resign from Congress effective June 30, 2017,” Chaffetz said in a letter to constituents, referring to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R).

Politico first reported Chaffetz’s plans to make the announcement on Thursday, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the lawmaker’s plans.

The House Oversight chairman announced in April that he would not seek another term in 2018 and had “made a personal decision to return to the private sector.” He later cited his lifestyle as one of the reasons he plans to leave Congress, saying, “I just turned 50. I’m sleeping on a cot in my office.”

His lifestyle may be about to get a lot cushier.

The Washingtonian reported in May that Chaffetz told colleagues he planned to take an on-air role at Fox News as early as July. Politico also reported, citing several unnamed “sources in the Capitol,” that Chaffetz has told colleagues that he will appear on Fox News.

And the report of Chaffetz’s sooner-than-expected departure from Congress comes at a time when he just got his powerful oversight panel a piece of the investigatory action around the growing scandals coming out of the White House.

In the wake of a bombshell New York Times report that then-FBI Director James Comey reportedly documented a request from President Donald Trump to shut down his bureau’s investigation into ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Chaffetz said he had his “subpoena pen ready” to get Comey’s memo.

Chaffetz announced on Twitter Wednesday that he had scheduled a hearing for next week and was trying to get Comey to testify, but apparently could not reach the former FBI director.

“I still need to speak with him,” Chaffetz tweeted, speculating that Comey “evidently has a new” phone number.

Less than 24 hours later, however, he expressed doubt that the memo actually existed.

“I question whether or not they’re actually there,” Chaffetz said of the memos Comey reportedly took down. “Nobody’s seen them.”