House Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, two days away from his unexpected retirement from Congress, announced on Wednesday he was heading to Fox News as a contributor, according to the network.
When asked by Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer during an interview on the reason behind his decision, Chaffetz said he needed to “get off the crazy train.”
“I said I would get in, serve, and get out,” said Chaffetz. “Fifteen hundred nights I’ve spent away from my family, and there comes a point where you got to get more balance in your life.”
In light of Chaffetz’s proposal on Tuesday that called for $US2,500 in housing allowances per month for congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, Hemmer asked if he was pivoting due to financial reasons.
“Partly,” Chaffetz said. “I mean, look, we’re paid a very handsome salary, but our home’s in Utah. I didn’t move to Washington D.C.”
“I sleep in a cot in my office, and faced with another 100 to 200 nights a year where my wife’s by herself in Utah and I’m on a cot in Washington D.C — as nice as the salary is, I can’t afford to have two places and have a quality of life that I’d like to have,” Chaffetz continued. “You’ve got dozens and dozens of us that can’t afford two mortgages, kids in college, and other types of things. It’s very expensive in Washington D.C.”
“I think it’s unhealthy for the body to … have people live here in perpetuity,” Chaffetz said. “But I also don’t think it’s healthy to just go back and forth every four days.”
“Because guess what, I also have to raise about a million dollars a year, so I don’t necessarily go home on the weekends — I’m flying all over.”
Chaffetz also teased a rumoured 2020 run for Utah’s governorship by calling his possible candidacy “a definite maybe.”
“I’m not taking anything off the table,” Chaffetz said. “I’m not going to run for anything in 2018. I’m going to have this nice relationship with Fox News as a contributor.”
Chaffetz, in his fifth Congressional term, is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In 2015, he took the lead on an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.