SALT LAKE CITY — Outgoing Rep. Jason Chaffetz is being replaced as chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy.
"Trey Gowdy is the right person for the job. He has a long history of demanding accountability, upholding transparency and relentlessly pursuing the truth," Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Thursday, calling Gowdy a friend and a colleague.
Chaffetz took over the committee in 2015 and launched numerous high-profile investigations into the Obama administration, particularly then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president in 2016.
But Chaffetz has been criticized for not aggressively pursuing allegations made against President Donald Trump. Earlier this year, Chaffetz was jeered by constituents at a contentious town hall meeting.
Under his leadership, the committee did look into several issues related to the new Republican administration, including payments made to former national security adviser Michael Flynn for speaking in Russia.
Chaffetz also sought copies of former FBI Director James Comey's memos about his interactions with Trump, but the agency has yet to turn over the documents to the committee.Comment on this story
In April, Chaffetz announced he would not seek a sixth term in 2018 and a month later, confirmed he would leave office early, on June 30, to take a job in the private sector believed to be with Fox News.
His replacement as oversight chairman, Gowdy, led a House select committee that spent two years investigating the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Chaffetz would have been able to remain chairman through 2020 under House rules had he continued as a congressman. He said he has "every confidence" in Gowdy's abilities.