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Tribune Editorial: Chaffetz career a list of lost opportunities

Published April 19, 2017 5:15 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election in 2018. He is planning a return to the private sector, and a possible run for governor in 2020.

The question is why now?

Perhaps he was intimidated by the fundraising success of his Democratic challenger. But 82 percent of her donors came from outside Utah, and he would have had a heyday with that.

Maybe he was surprised by the hostility he faced at his last town hall. This broad disapproval is new to him, as he has never received less than 65 percent of the vote. Plus, Chaffetz says he enjoys this type of constituent interaction. He left that town hall early, though, so that claim is a little hard to believe.

It could be that he simply wants to return to the private sector to make more money. He wouldn't be the first politician to do so. NuSkin may be offering a cushy executive position as a placeholder while he ramps up a campaign for governor in 2020.

Or perhaps Apple? Wink wink.

We don't begrudge Chaffetz any of these laudable intentions. But were the people of Utah an afterthought?

What happened to Chaffetz's legislation to fix the internet sales tax issue? His solution was the best one yet.

And what about his influential role as chairman of the House Oversight Committee? He promised to be a "kid in a candy store" while investigating a Trump presidency. We haven't seen anything close to that. Probably because he had "two years worth of material already lined up" against a Clinton administration.

Did fear scare him away from aggressively investigating the administration? There certainly is enough material. He tried to argue that a member of the president's family making money off of his position does not affect "the average American and their taxpayer dollars," and therefore is not worth investigating. That was wrong. Plus he wasted valuable resources investigating Clinton and her damned emails.

Unfortunately for Utahns, his partisanship clouded his purpose, and he lost his way.

We do commend Chaffetz for preparing us for this upcoming change (unlike a certain senior senator we all know). Chaffetz told his constituents on Facebook, "By announcing now, I hope to give prospective candidates time to lay the groundwork for a successful run." And that list of prospective candidates will be long.

Chaffetz said he would get in, serve and get out. That's what he's doing, and that is honorable.

Thank you for your service, Rep. Chaffetz.






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