Chaffetz: I’m ‘Absolutely’ Not Leaving Office Due to Scandal

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) / AP

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) said Thursday that "absolutely" no scandal is pushing him to retire early, after he announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection and could leave office before his current term is up.

"Not in any way, shape, or form," the House Oversight Committee chair said in an interview with Politico. "I've been given more enemas by more people over the last eight years than you can possibly imagine. From the Secret Service to the Democratic Party. I am who I am. If they had something really scandalous, it would've come out a long, long time ago."

Democrats pressured Chaffetz to investigate the Trump administration regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but NBC News reported he said such work was better left to the Intelligence Committee.

Chaffetz said he had already begun looking around for post-congressional career opportunities.

"I started poking around to see what I might be worth and what sort of possibilities are there," Chaffetz said. "And I got a series of ‘Let us know when you're serious.' Well, now I can say, ‘Can you tell I am serious?'… I'll take a little bit of time to sort out. I'd be thrilled to have a television relationship. But there's a number of things I'd like to do."

Chaffetz told a Utah radio host via text message on Thursday that he may leave office early, shortly after announcing he would not seek reelection to his seat in 2018. He was first elected to Congress in 2008.

Chaffetz did not rule out a return to politics in the interview:

But Chaffetz said his political career might not be over. The governor's mansion in Salt Lake City opens up in 2020, and Chaffetz's political team has begun snapping up URLs associated with potential future runs.

For now, he said he's taking things as they come.

"I don't know exactly where these winds are going to take me," he said. "I just know that I wanted to explore those. And by making the announcement early, it helps on several fronts. I can pursue those opportunities and see what is out there. And also gives potential candidates for my seat time to gear up in terms of money, policy, and building a grassroots organization. And I'm just being candid with people."

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