Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has announced he will not seek reelection, and “may depart early” instead of finishing out his current term in Congress. The controversial politician once fought alongside Sheldon Adelson to get online gambling banned in the United States.
In a 2015 interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, the congressman insisted that personas from a movie made in 1939 was an example of how iconic characters could lure kids to slot machines.
“If you go look right now, you’ll see they have successfully blurred the lines,” he claimed. “You’ll see in one instance Wizard of Oz characters being used to encourage young kids to play the slots.”
The fact that 80 years of humans have grown up with the popular children’s classic tale, thus making the machines more likely to elicit nostalgia in Baby Boomers than act as magnets for 10 year olds, somehow was not mentioned.
Chaffetz, a member of the US House of Representatives since 2009, helped push Adelson’s failed Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). Doing so led to harsh criticisms from past and present lawmakers. Ron Paul, a former congressman, reminded the Utah politician that internet gambling regulation is “solely under the jurisdiction of state and local authorities.”
Winds of Change
Chaffetz, who acts as the House Oversight Committee chairman, surprised many when he announced he wouldn’t seek reelection. He made an even more stunning statement to a local radio talk show host on .
“I will continue to weigh the options, but I may depart early,” he told Utah’s KSL news radio host Doug Wright on Wednesday.
The comments led some to wonder if a scandal is brewing. Why would an opinionated, powerful politician step away so abruptly? Is he under investigation for something the public is unaware of? “Absolutely, positively not,” Chaffetz told Politico on Thursday. “Not in any way, shape, or form.”
The Republican denied being involved in an unknown scandal, but hasn’t made it clear why he may step down early. In that same interview with Politico, he gave no direct response when asked why he’s leaving, only saying, “I don’t know exactly where these winds are going to take me.”
Controversy and Confrontation
Chaffetz is likely far better known to the general populace for leading investigations into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as well as confronting FBI Director James Comey in a congressional hearing.
Like many polarizing candidates in today’s reactive times, Chaffetz has seen his share of public disdain. In February, at a town hall meeting in Utah, the congressman was greeted by a swarm of angry protestors. Many in the audience wanted to know why he continually investigated Clinton, but refused to look into President Donald Trump’s alleged Russian ties. Chaffetz claimed that protestors simply showed up with the intention of bullying him.
His current term expires in 2018, but he hasn’t given an exact departure date.