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Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman

Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman
© Greg Nash

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordThe Hill's 12:30 Report: What to expect for inauguration GOP Sen. Lankford apologizes to Black constituents for opposing election results 'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack MORE (R-Okla.) will be the next chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill.

The panel's current chairman, Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler concedes to Warnock Hawley to still object to Pennsylvania after Capitol breached Hillary Clinton trolls McConnell: 'Senate Minority Leader' MORE (R-Ga.), is set to retire next year, creating a vacancy atop the panel that is responsible for enforcing standards of behavior for senators and their staffs and investigating potential violations of federal law or the Senate’s rules.

The decision about who to name chairman of the committee rests with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.). The Senate Republican Conference is expected to vote next week to formally ratify the decision, the source told The Hill. 

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Spokespeople for Lankford declined to comment, saying they didn't want to get ahead of an announcement from McConnell. Politico was first to report the decision. 

The six-member panel has had high-profile investigations in recent years, including in 2018 when it “severely admonished” Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate presses Biden's pick for secretary of State on Iran, China, Russia and Yemen Year-end deal creates American Latino, women's history museums Lawmakers call for including creation of Latino, women's history museums in year-end spending deal MORE (D-N.J.) in a public letter, saying he had broken Senate rules, federal law and "applicable standards of conduct."   

The committee also opened an investigation in 2017 into then-Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenHarrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots MORE (D-Minn.), who ultimately resigned facing several allegations of sexual misconduct and unwanted touching. 

The responsibility for investigating your own colleagues made leading the Senate Ethics Committee an unattractive post for several GOP senators.  

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeJustice Dept. closes insider trading case against Burr without charges Biden pick for Pentagon cruises through confirmation hearing McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (R-Okla.) told The Hill that he would "rather have a root canal" than lead the committee. 

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The two other Republican senators currently on the panel, Sens. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes Window quickly closing for big coronavirus deal Trump's controversial Fed nominee stalled after Senate setback MORE (R-Kan.) and Jim RischJim Elroy RischSenate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Overnight Defense: US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian defense system | Veterans groups, top Democrats call for Wilkie's resignation | Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon board Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? MORE (R-Idaho), also indicated to The Hill that they were not interested in chairing the committee. 

“I’ve been on the damn committee for now, what, 22 years? It’s a Senate record. Everybody else gets on and gets off, and they won’t let me get off,” Roberts said. 

Risch said, “I can only tell you that I sure hope not.”