Anti-online poker Republican Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) won’t be seeking re-election to Congress in 2018 according to an announcement via his official Facebook page.
To the general public, Chaffetz is known as the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, but to online poker players he’ll be forever known as the man who tried to outlaw the game in the US.
Chaffetz has been one of the leading supporters of the Sheldon Adelson-backed Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) bill since 2014. Chaffetz sponsored and introduced the anti-online poker bill to the House of Representatives in 2014 and then again in 2015.
Although his efforts fell short on both occasions, his alliance with billionaire casino owner Adelson has always meant it had a chance of making it through the House at some point. That threat may still loom large while Chaffetz is in office, but his decision to not run for re-election in 2018 should come as welcome news to US poker players.
Chaffetz caused a political storm on April 19 after he told his Facebook followers that after “1,500 night away from home” he may run again for public office at some point, “but not in 2018.” To compound the shock announcement, Chaffetz told KSL Radio host Doug Wright that he may not finish his current term.
After speaking to Chaffetz on air, Wright said he received a text message from Chaffetz thanking him for the interview and that he “might depart early.” As is often the case when a political figure makes an unexpected move, rumors are now rife as to why the Republican might quit his position early.
One theory floated by mainstream media outlets such as the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper are that Chaffetz might be preparing to run for Governor in 2020. Another suggestion from one of his former staffers is that he is facing an FBI investigation.
According to an article posted on PalmerReport.com, an unnamed source has said that the California native is in “panic” mode due to an investigation into campaign finance fraud.
There is also a suggestion that there could be some ties to Russia that may harm his credibility as House Oversight Committee Chairman.
At this stage, Chaffetz has denied any such issues and remains vague about his immediate plans. What we do know, however, is that he won’t be a part of Congress in 2018 and this should mean there’s at least one less RAWA supporter in a position of power.