US House Oversight Chair Chaffetz will not seek re-election come 2018

WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz, who chairs a House committee with broad investigative powers, on Wednesday announced his plans to leave Congress after the 2018 midterm elections, saying he had no intention of running for any political office.

"I have no ulterior motives. I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker (Paul) Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector," Chaffetz said in a statement on Facebook.

The conservative Republican, who was first elected to the House in 2008 and represents a district in eastern Utah, gained prominence as head of the committee that was investigating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

During the raucous 2016 presidential campaign that pitted Clinton against Trump, Chaffetz distanced himself from the Republican candidate following the public airing of a video last year in which Trump made lewd comments about women.

But as Trump appeared to weather that storm and was competitive with Clinton in the homestretch to the Nov. 8 election, Chaffetz moderated his criticism of the New York real estate developer.

With Trump in the White House, Chaffetz early this year said he would use his committee chairmanship to continue investigating Clinton.

RELATED: Jason Chaffetz

13 PHOTOS
Jason Chaffetz
See Gallery
Jason Chaffetz
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, becomes emotional during an opening statement at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on whether Planned Parenthood Federation of America should be federally funded, September 29, 2015. In the statement, he recalled his mother's battle with cancer and his wife's work with the disease. PPFA President Cecile Richards, testified. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, becomes emotional during an opening statement at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on whether Planned Parenthood Federation of America should be federally funded, September 29, 2015. In the statement, he recalled his mother's battle with cancer and his wife's work with the disease. PPFA President Cecile Richards, testified. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, greets Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on whether PPFA should be federally funded, September 29, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) takes his seat for a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill June 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. Following disclosures of devastating breaches of US government computer networks, officials told lawmakers Tuesday even more intrusions may be discovered with investigations and deployment of new security tools. At a congressional hearing where lawmakers voiced outrage over the hacking incidents, the head of the Office of Personnel Management warned that more bad news may be coming. OPM chief Katherine Archuleta did not mention China -- which has been widely blamed for the incidents -- but told the hearing that 'these adversaries are sophisticated, well funded and focused. These attacks will not stop. If anything, they will increase.' AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, speaks before a hearing on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. U.S. senators said yesterday they doubt the government's personnel office understands the breadth of a computer hack that exposed the records of more than 4 million federal workers, or that the agency can stop another breach. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, left, talks to Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, before a House Oversight hearing on Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funding in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. Conservative House Republicans have demanded a government shutdown if lawmakers don't defund Planned Parenthood, the women's reproductive health-care provider whose services include abortion. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 9: U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) makes his way to a House GOP caucus meeting, on Capitol Hill, July 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Republican leadership discussed the immigration bill and the Obama administration's decision to delay a portion of the Affordable Care Act, which will extend the deadline for employer mandated health care to 2015. At right, Trey Radel (R-FL) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) look on. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 3: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on 'Inspectors General: Independence, Access and Authority' on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 28: Jason Chaffetz speaks during a House of Representatives Judiciary subcommitte on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet titled 'Music Licensing Part One: Legislation in the 112th Congress' in the Rayburn House Office Building at U.S. House of Representatives on November 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/WireImage for NARAS)
UNITED STATES â JULY 25: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, arrives for a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Monday, July 25, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC-March 9: In his fifth term in the US House of Reprentatives, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) works a 24/7 schedule as works in his office on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 8: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, left, speaks with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., before the start of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on 'Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage' on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

But he refused to look into contacts that Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had with a Russian official amid suspicions that Moscow played a role in influencing the U.S. elections.

Flynn has since left his high-level White House job.

Chaffetz, 50, had in the past considered running for a Senate seat and in announcing his retirement from the House at the end of his term next year he is leaving open that option.

"I may run again for public office, but not in 2018," Chaffetz said in his Facebook posting.

A former Chaffetz aide told Reuters the congressman may seek to run for Utah governor in 2020, though no firm decision had been made yet. (Reporting by Richard Cowan, Susan Heavey and Dustin Volz; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.