(Bloomberg) — U.S. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who investigated Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi attacks and her use of email, said Wednesday he won’t seek re-election in 2018, though he isn’t ruling out a future run for political office.
A Republican House member since 2009, Chaffetz, of Utah, said in a Facebook posting, “I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career.”
Chaffetz’s pursuit of Clinton led to his statement on Twitter less than two weeks before the presidential election revealing that FBI Director James Comey had reopened his probe of her email use. Chaffetz vowed to continue his investigations of Clinton even after Donald Trump won the election.
But after Trump took office, Chaffetz drew criticism for refusing to review potential conflicts in the White House. And during the House build-up to an American Health Care Act bill vote — which was scrapped — he attracted criticism for suggesting that poor people may be forced under the GOP plan to choose between buying health care or “that new iPhone that they just love.”
In February, he did ask the White House to explain whether any classified documents were reviewed in the dining room at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate during a dinner with the Japanese prime minister.
Chaffetz, 50, said he has no “ulterior motives” for his decision not to seek re-election. The Utah governor’s seat will be on the 2020 election ballot.
“Many of you have heard me advocate, ‘Get in, serve, and get out.’ After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018,” he said in the posting.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Twitter, “Thankful to have served with @jasoninthehouse, a great defender of liberty and limited government. Wish him the best.”
Chaffetz led a House Oversight subcommittee’s investigation into the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Last year, as chairman of the committee, he asked federal prosecutors to open an investigation into whether Clinton committed perjury before Congress regarding her use of a private email server.
The oversight panel under Chaffetz also drew headlines for its investigations of Secret Service controversies and Internal Revenue Service commissioner John Koskinen’s handling of congressional requests for information about the agency’s handling of Tea Party groups’ requests for tax-exempt status.
Chaffetz briefly ran for House speaker in 2015 after John Boehner stepped down. Ryan was chosen as Boehner’s successor instead.
— Read Sanders endorses Clinton, joining rest of party in move toward unity on ThinkAdvisor.