Massive Staff Walkout Planned at House Oversight Committee When Gowdy Takes Over, Chaffetz AWOL
Many senior and long-time staffers of the House Oversight Committee plan a walkout when Congressman Trey Gowdy takes the gavel over from Jason Chaffetz. Gowdy, who led the two-year House Benghazi probe, has secured near-unanimous support among members of the House Republican Steering Committee as well as Speaker Paul Ryan.
Additionally, Jason Chaffetz has not been seen at work “for three months” and generally only appears when cameras are rolling.
Chaffetz made a shock announcement to retire from political office in 2018 and not run for re-election, after serving 5 terms representing Utah. Chaffetz gave no specific reason for the timing of the announcement, stating he would simply return to the private sector. The announcement came at a time when many were watching the House Oversight Committee closely for its hearings with former FBI Director James Comey, and its oversight role in the Obama NSA abuse scandal.
However, as Chaffetz plans to leave within the next few weeks, many staff plan to leave with him. Many of the staffers leaving have ties to Chaffetz and are in fact fellow alumni of Brigham Young University. Many on the Hill refer to the large number of BYU alumni serving in federal government as the “Mormon mafia.”
The staffers claim their walkout is not necessarily in solidarity with Chaffetz, but more a pre-emptive move because they strongly suspect Trey Gowdy will make changes, or fire a lot of senior staff. The top staffers of the committee are David Rapallo and Susanne Sachsman, both Democrats, who each are paid $172,000 in salary. Of the entire committee staff of ninety, only two junior members are registered Republican: Alexander Miehls, and Michael Ding.
Last week, the FBI declined the request of the House oversight committee, Jason Chaffetz, for the memos maintained by former FBI Director James Comey detailing his interactions with President Donald Trump.