Politics

Under Chaffetz, oversight takes a wider view

For Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the news on Oct. 23 that the Department of Justice had dropped its investigation of the Internal Revenue Service without pressing charges was unwelcome, if unsurprising. His committee had been electrified by the IRS probe under its previous chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, and tensions over whether the IRS actually targeted conservative groups boiled over in public hearings that many criticized as political sideshows.

But Chaffetz has attempted to usher in a new era for the oversight committee, quietly continuing the IRS investigation while broadening the committee's scope. A probe into misconduct within the Secret Service turned personal for the Utah Republican in September when a government watchdog announced that 45 agents had conspired to leak information about Chaffetz to the media as his committee dug into what he calls "shenanigans."

Fresh off a short-lived bid to become speaker of the House, Chaffetz remains upbeat about his party's future in the lower chamber now that Rep. Paul Ryan has stepped up to the plate. He also remains confident in friend and colleague Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who has taken fire for his handling of the House Select Committee on Benghazi after months of keeping the probe out of the spotlight. Amid the congressional turmoil, Chaffetz previewed some "juicy" announcements to look out for from his committee in the coming weeks.

Washington Examiner: For the Oversight Committee, the IRS has been what it's known for the past couple years. That was part of Darrell Issa's legacy. But you haven't seen it come up as much since you've become chairman. Is that something that the Oversight Committee is still investigating?

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