Key GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz will not seek re-election

Key Points
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz stressed that he did not have "ulterior motives" in not seeking re-election.
  • The chairman of the House Oversight Committee has a role in highlighting potential conflicts of interest or abuses of power.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz won't run for re-election in 2018
Rep. Jason Chaffetz won't run for re-election in 2018

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the key House Oversight Committee, will not seek re-election next year.

The Utah Republican announced Wednesday on Facebook that he will not run any office in 2018 and "return to the private sector." He stressed that he did not have "ulterior motives" for making the decision and said he "may" run for office again.

"For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that 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 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 the statement.

Buzzfeed first reported the news.

Chaffetz, 50, was elected to the House in 2008. He became chairman of the Oversight Committee in 2015.

As head of the panel with oversight of the federal government, Chaffetz has a role in highlighting potential conflicts of interest or abuses of power by President Donald Trump and his administration. He had faced some criticism for not appearing to want to investigate Trump and his business empire as aggressively as he signaled he would have Democrat Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated last year.

Critics have said Trump's far-flung financial holdings give him the potential for unprecedented conflicts of interest that could be investigated by the Oversight Committee.

Chaffetz did raise concerns about comments Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway made about Ivanka Trump's clothing line, among other potential White House ethics issues. He was also one of the first Republican lawmakers to withdraw his support of candidate Trump in October when a video surfaced of Trump making crude comments about groping women.

In his statement Wednesday, Chaffetz said he has "no doubt" his district "will be represented by a Republican."

The House has 237 Republicans and 193 Democrats and five vacancies. On Tuesday, Democrat Jon Ossoff fell a few percentage points short of an outright victory amid an 18-candidate scramble in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. He faces a June 20 runoff against Republican Karen Handel for the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.