WASHINGTON -- Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has had the portrait of his predecessor, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), removed from his hearing room -- but Chaffetz insists it's nothing personal.
The portrait, hung last month to the left of the chairman's seat, was banished some time in the last couple of weeks to a meeting room, along with all the other pictures of past chairmen.
Chaffetz, speaking Thursday to reporters at the Republicans' issues retreat in Pennsylvania, insisted that the eviction of his predecessors was not a slight against the infamously media-hungry Issa, but an affirmation that he is doing the people's work.
"I really felt strongly that in that committee room we should be inspired by those we serve, not inspired by past committee chairmen," Chaffetz said.
He said he told the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), beforehand about his plans. He said he also warned Issa.
"He said, 'You're the new chairman, you can do it as you want.' He was actually very nice about it," Chaffetz said.
Whether or not Issa was genuine, several past staffers were more than a little miffed, though none were willing to go on the record with their sentiments.
Chaffetz said he intends to replace the pictures with others from his state and historic moments in the United States that involve areas the Oversight Committee monitors, including photos of coal miners, the meeting of railways in Utah, and the Postal Service.
And he doesn't plan to get his own portrait done after his term expires.
"No, I have no desire to do that. In fact, everybody would laugh and giggle. I can't afford it. They can have my cot when I leave, and leave it at that," Chaffetz said.
Elise Foley contributed reporting.
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