After 8 1/2 years of being a rising star in Congress (and sleeping on a cot in his office), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is quitting. A few weeks ago, he announced his resignation effective June 30. Sharyl Atkisson has a profile on him.
I’m sorry to see him go. As Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz has done a lot of good work to investigate Fast and Furious, the Obama IRS abuses, Hillary’s abuses, and more. I’m a fan of Judicial Watch and time and again, Chaffetz’ face pops up in their stuff as one of the good guys.
He hasn’t given one, overarching reason for quitting. Mainly he keeps it vague, saying it’s a decision that he and his wife made together. Surely the nastiness of Washington has played into their decision, in more than one way.
On a political level, Chaffetz is frustrated with the Trump administration’s lack of transparency and inability to change things:
The reality is, sadly, I don’t see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration. I thought there would be this, these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon. In many ways, it’s almost worse, because we’re getting nothing, and that’s terribly frustrating and with all due respect, the [new, Trump] Attorney General [Sessions] has not changed [things] at all. I find him to be worse than what I saw with [Obama AG] Loretta Lynch in terms of releasing documents and making things available. I just, that’s my experience, and that’s not what I expected.
He goes on to characterize Washington Republicans as timid, and to express relief at not having to spend his weekends on political fund-raising anymore.
In defense of President Trump and AG Sessions, one could note the extreme “war zone” atmosphere in Washington at this time, in which the so-called “Trump administration” consists mostly of several thousand Obama holdovers who want to bring down their new President and are doubling down on all their old tricks.
But having noted that, I have to side with Chaffetz. Surely, AG Sessions could intervene with the bureaucracy to release documents that the Obama administration had stonewalled on. And the way forward in Washington is radical transparency: releasing as much information as possible, about as many bureaucratic, legal and political developments as possible.
Trump, and We The People, do not benefit from continuing the old Washington game. In fact, Trump will not survive if he lets it continue; and We The People benefit from smashing it. Smashing it means shining a light on what all the cockroaches, in both parties, have been up to. Thank you, Rep. Chaffetz, for having tried.