Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., an outspoken critic of President Bill Clinton during Clinton’s 1998 impeachment hearings, announced today he will not seek reelection this fall.
In a statement announcing his decision, Burton, a Republican currently serving in his 15th term, said that as he prepares to retire he considers himself “to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
“I want to thank all of those who have given me the great honor to serve in the legislative branch of government for all of these years,” Burton wrote in a statement. “To go from humble beginnings to meeting with Presidents, Kings, Princes and some of the world’s most powerful leaders, it has been an experience that I cherish.”
House Speaker John Boehner praised Burton as a solid conservative vote.
“I’d like to thank Congressman Burton for his service, and his commitment to our shared vision of a smaller, less costly government,” Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote in a statement. “I wish Dan and his wife the best in the years to come.”
Burton is the seventh House Republican to announce his or her retirement this cycle. Eleven House Democrats, including New York Rep. Maurice Hinchey, who decided last week not to seek reelection, have also announced their intent to retire at the end of this term.
Those 18 members have collectively served 173 terms, totaling 346 years in the House. That’s an average of almost 19 years experience per member.
Burton, who was first elected to the House in 1982, was an ardent conservative notorious for exercising his authority to subpoena White House officials during his tenure as chairman of the House committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He still holds a senior position on that committee, along with a spot on the Foreign Affairs committee.
He was a fierce critic of Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky affair, stating that “No one, regardless of what party they serve, no one, regardless of what branch of government they serve, should be allowed to get away with these alleged sexual improprieties.”
Burton, 73, once even called Clinton a “scumbag.” He later admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock.
He also led a congressional inquiry into the death of Clinton’s Deputy White House Counsel, Vincent Foster, whose death was ruled a suicide although some suspect he was murdered.
Here’s the full list of retiring members from the House of Representatives: Steve Austria, R-Ohio, 2 terms Dan Boren, D-Okla., 4 terms Dan Burton, R-Ind., 15 terms Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., 5 terms Jerry Costello, D-Ill., 12 terms Geoff Davis, R-Ky., 4 terms Barney Frank, D-Mass., 16 terms Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., 13 terms Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas, 7 terms Wally Herger, R-Calif., 13 terms Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., 10 terms Dale Kildee, D-Mich., 18 terms Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., 17 terms Brad Miller, D-N.C., 5 terms John Olver, D-Mass., 10 terms Todd Platts, R-Pa., 6 terms Mike Ross, D-Ark., 6 terms Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., 10 terms