(CNN) – Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Indiana, announced Friday he would retire at the close of the 111th Congress, citing his wife's diagnosis of an incurable autoimmune disease.
"I believe it is my family's best interest for me to complete my service to the nation in military uniform and in Congress," said Buyer, according to a transcript released by his congressional office.
Buyer, 51, was first elected to Congress in 1992 and is a veteran of the first Gulf War. He is currently the senior Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
The announcement comes days after Buyer's non-profit group, the Frontier Foundation, came under fire from the Committee on Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), which accused the group of abusing its tax-exempt status. The organization filed complaints with the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of Congressional Ethics earlier this week, asking for an investigation "to determine whether Frontier has been operated for public or private purposes."
The foundation's mission is to provide scholarship money to Indiana students, but it has not given out a single scholarship in six years, according to tax records. CREW alleges that the group has instead spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on golf tournaments in the Atlantis resort in Florida and the Bahamas. The group spent over $20,000 on fundraising related travel in 2007 and $22,000 in 2008.
Buyer did not mention the controversy in his resignation announcement, but has said the foundation determined it needed to raise $1 million to sustain itself before it could award scholarships. That is not an unusual determination for a non-profit group to make, according to the Council on Foundations.
In his retirement announcement Friday, Buyer suggested he was confident he would be elected to another term had he run again.
"Politically, the easiest thing would have been to run again because of the wave that is coming for the American people to take back their country," he said.
The nine-term Buyer represents Indiana's fourth congressional district, which is located in the central part of the state. Buyer has never won less than 60 percent of the vote in any of his re-election victories. Sen. John McCain won the district by 13 points in the 2008 presidential election, and former President George W. Bush won the district by 39 points in 2004.
Buyer becomes the fourth Republican congressman to announce retirement rather than run for re-election this November. The other three are Rep. George Radanovich of California, Rep. Henry Brown of South Carolina and Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona. Eleven other House Republicans are running for statewide offices rather than re-election.
Meanwhile, six House Democrats have announced they'll retire at the end of the year rather than defend their seats. They are Rep. Dennis Moore of Kansas, Rep. John Tanner and Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee, Rep. Vick Snyder and Rep. Marion Berry of Arkansas, and Rep. Brian Baird of Washington. Another Democrat, Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida has already stepped down. A special election will be held in April for his seat. Six other House Democrats are running for statewide offices rather than for re-election.
– CNN's Lisa Sylvester contributed to this report