Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman

Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman
© Greg Nash

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordDemocrats sound election security alarm after Russia's Burisma hack Enes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE 2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters 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 IsaksonOvernight Health Care: New drug price hikes set stage for 2020 fight | Conservative group to spend M attacking Pelosi drug plan | Study finds Medicaid expansion improved health in Southern states New Georgia senator takes spot on health committee Loeffler sworn in to Georgia seat 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 McConnellDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Senate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Republicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Ky.). The Senate Republican Conference is expected to vote next week to formally ratify the decision, the source told The Hill. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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) MenendezDem senators say Iran threat to embassies not mentioned in intelligence briefing Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Democrats 'utterly unpersuaded' by evidence behind Soleimani strike 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 FrankenBill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Al Franken mocks McConnell: 'Like listening to Jeffrey Dahmer complain about the decline of dinner party etiquette' 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 InhofeSenators take oath for impeachment trial Trump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Senators see off-ramp from Iran tensions after Trump remarks MORE (R-Okla.) told The Hill that he would "rather have a root canal" than lead the committee. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The two other Republican senators currently on the panel, Sens. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate GOP hopes to move new NAFTA deal before impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Worries about war in world capitals, Congress Pompeo tells McConnell he's not running for Senate MORE (R-Kan.) and Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischSenate vote on Trump's new NAFTA held up by committee review Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Democrats 'utterly unpersuaded' by evidence behind Soleimani strike 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.”