Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is stepping down from his role on the House Ethics Committee, citing a "challenging workload" as the reason for his departure.
Gowdy informed House Speaker Paul Ryan of his decision in a letter on Jan. 10, the details of which were not made public until Saturday. The South Carolina Republican was tapped to lead the House Oversight Committee last June, after the former chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, left Congress for a job at Fox News.
"When I became Chairperson of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I knew I would not be able to keep all other committee assignments to include Judiciary, Intelligence, and Ethics," Gowdy wrote.
The former prosecutor was the only lawmaker serving four separate committee assignments when he stepped down from the Ethics panel last week.
"I was happy to finish out the calendar year and conclude some matters then pending before the Committee," he said.
Ryan's office expressed gratitude to Gowdy for his service on the panel.
“Mr. Gowdy was serving on four committees when he ran for Chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee," said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong. "He requested to be relieved of his duties from the Ethics Committee should he win chairmanship given the significant increased workload. We are grateful for his five years of service on the Ethics Committee and for agreeing to serve the remainder of the calendar year.”
Gowdy faced criticism late last year after it was revealed that he used $150,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle a dispute with a former aide, who had accused the GOP congressman of firing him after he refused to focus his work on investigating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
He has also come under routine fire from Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee over his handling of matters related to the Trump White House and the ongoing federal investigation into Russian election interference.
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, said last month that it was "astonishing" Gowdy wouldn't meet with a whistleblower who claimed to have information on former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Flynn pled guilty on Dec. 1 to lying to federal investigators as part of the federal Russia probe.