Boxer to Keep Ethics Chairmanship

Posted January 13, 2009 at 6:30pm

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) will retain the Ethics Committee gavel this cycle, while Republican and Democratic leaders are remaining mum about the rest of their committee rosters.

An aide to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) confirmed Boxer will continue to serve as Ethics chairman, a post she took over on a temporary basis in 2007 after Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) suffered a brain aneurysm.

Boxer declined to comment on the post last week, deferring to Reid.

Republicans have yet to announce a replacement for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who served as vice chairman in the 110th Congress but is not expected to return to the panel. Both Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) are expected to rejoin the committee, and Senate observers believe Isakson could be asked to serve as vice chairman.

Isakson acknowledged Tuesday he has discussed the panel with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but he said no decision had been made.

A McConnell aide said Monday no committee assignments have been released. Democrats also have yet to announce a third committee member in addition to Boxer and Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.).

In the House, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) elevated Rep. Jo Bonner (Ala.) to the top Republican seat.

“Jo’s long record of service to the institution both as a congressional staffer and as a Member shows his dedication to the People’s House. He believes strongly, as do House Republicans, that we must restore the bonds of trust between the American people and their elected leaders,” Boehner said in a statement. “He fully understands the importance of both ethics education and enforcement, and I’m pleased he has agreed to serve as the committee’s Ranking Republican.”

In addition to Bonner, who has served one term on the committee, Republicans reappointed Reps. Gresham Barrett (S.C.) and John Kline (Minn.) to the panel and added Reps. Mike Conaway (Texas) and Charlie Dent (Pa.).

House Democrats have not announced their slate for the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Under House rules, Members are limited to no more than three terms on the committee, prompting Democrats to replace three of their members, including Reps. Gene Green (Texas), who had served as chairman, Mike Doyle (Pa.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.).

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who joined the panel on a temporary basis after the death of Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), will also vacate his seat. Rep. Bill Delahunt (Mass.) is the only Democrat expected to return to the committee, making him a likely candidate for the chairmanship.