Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Utah's Chaffetz expected to leave office by end of June

Former FBI Director James Comey had been leading the investigation until he was sacked by President Donald Trump.

Rep. Trey Gowdy of SC, who led the House's Benghazi select committee, is considered the favorite to become the next oversight chairman.

Chaffetz has been active in the House's probe into links between the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump and the Russians. "And I got a series of 'Let us know when you're serious.' Well now I can say, 'Can you tell I am serious?'..." Utah constituents booed him at a February town hall, and a novice Democratic candidate raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in online donations when she announced her long-shot challenge to him weeks later.

Chaffetz announced in mid-April that he would not be running for reelection in 2018 to "return to the private sector", and mere days later said he hadn't "ruled out the possibility of leaving early". But he did not provide a date for his departure until Thursday.

And considering the importance of picking a new U.S. House member - we have only four of them - while giving all voters a chance to express their will in a primary election, is the right way to go, said the governor.

In contrast, Chaffetz easily brushed off the deepening issue of Trump's use of the presidency, along with his family and underlings, to further personal profit in a corrupt manner.

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As committee chair, Mr. Chaffetz leads the House panel that investigates waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement in the executive branch.

One possible replacement for Chaffetz on the committee is Rep. Trey Gowdy, a Republican and former SC prosecutor who chaired the special Benghazi investigative committee and a close Chaffetz friend.

"Representative Gowdy is talking to members in the conference about the qualities they believe are most important for the next chairman to possess", said the spokeswoman, Amanda Gonzalez.

He says he will not be making any endorsements in the upcoming special election to replace him, which will take place after he leaves office on June 30.

If Chaffetz does not intend to serve out his term, Utah voters deserve to know his timing so the state cannot only begin the process of finding a new representative, but also better understand if he is focusing on his role in the House or jockeying for new soon-to-come opportunities.

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