Chaffetz removes Issa portrait and signals new direction for high-profile, hard hitting Oversight panel

Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the new House Oversight Committee chairman, is explaining his decision to remove the portrait of preceding GOP chairman Rep. Darrell Issa from the panel’s hearing room.

Chaffetz said Thursday the move was not personal but suggested it was indeed ideological.

"I really felt strongly that in that committee room we should be inspired by those we serve, not inspired by past committee chairmen," he said.

Chaffetz has indicated that he will focus more on government reform and committee reports than political scandal and seek fewer headlines.

“Issa didn’t do many reports,” he recently told Roll Call newspaper. He did “big press releases.”

While Issa surrounded his investigations and hearings with political drama and theatrics, his approach brought and sustained national attention to such issues as the Benghazi scandal as well as Fast & Furious, the federal government’s botched gun-tracking program.

Chaffetz will replace the Issa portrait, hung just last month, with photos of American history and life that the committee oversees, including the U.S. postal service, coal mining and civil rights.

Issa’s portrait was reportedly removed with those of other former committee chairmen and will be relocated to a meeting room.

Chaffetz said he first informed Issa and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the committee’s top Democrat, of his decision.

He said Issa told him: “You're the new chairman. You can do it as you want.' He was actually very nice about it."

Chaffetz is also replacing more than half of the committee’s 60-member staff for the 114th Congress, a move, along with removing the portraits, that has reportedly upset some Issa loyalists.