Mr. Gowdy, a former prosecutor who is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has been threatening to leave elected office for years.
He becomes the latest in a string of GOP committee chairmen who have made a decision to leave Congress as the GOP faces what could be a challenging midterm election. He gained national attention and conservative acclaim as the chairman of the House select committee investigating the 2012 attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's response to the attacks. The investigation also revealed that Clinton used a private email server for government work, prompting an FBI investigation that proved to be an albatross in the Democrat's 2016 presidential campaign.
Gowdy was on his fourth term as a member of Congress.
"There is a time to come and a time to go".
In a statement, Gowdy, who now chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he will return to law instead of seeking a fifth term.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) announced his retirement from Congress in a Twitter statement Wednesday.
Gowdy told CNN last week that he has "tremendous respect for the Department of Justice and the FBI" and "there is no member of Congress that holds that department in higher esteem than I do".
In the statement, Gowdy thanked his family, colleagues, and people of SC for their support and confidence in him as a he served in the elected position.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., praised Gowdy for "his commitment to justice and the truth" and "for being the honest, good-hearted man I know he is and will continue to be".
Gowdy joins the ranks of eight fellow powerful GOP committee chairmen who have announced they will not run for reelection.
"He has always put the people of Greenville-Spartanburg first, despite his Congressional responsibilities grabbing so many national headlines", Scott said.