Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman

Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman
© Greg Nash

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul Lankford7 GOP senators slam State Dept for 'slow and inefficient policy' on passports Trump pushes back against GOP senators' criticism of dispersal of protesters in Lafayette Square: 'You got it wrong' Republicans turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks 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 IsaksonJustice Department closing stock investigations into Loeffler, Inhofe, Feinstein Loeffler runs ad tying Doug Collins to Pelosi, Sanders, Biden The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip 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 McConnellSenate passes bill to give flexibility for small business coronavirus aid program On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill 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) MenendezGovernment watchdog: 'No evidence' Pompeo violated Hatch Act with Kansas trips No time to be selling arms to the Philippines Senate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation 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 FrankenPolitical world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' Democrats begin to confront Biden allegations 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 InhofeMinority caucuses call for quick action on police reform Calls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Bipartisan Senate panel leaders back fund to deter China 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 RobertsDeadline for Kansas Senate race passes without Pompeo filing Overnight Defense: Democrats expand probe into State IG's firing | House schedules late June votes with defense bill on deck | New Navy secretary sworn in Government watchdog: 'No evidence' Pompeo violated Hatch Act with Kansas trips MORE (R-Kan.) and Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischDemocrat Paulette Jordan to face incumbent Jim Risch in Idaho Senate race Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting Senate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation 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.”