Isakson was viewed as a leading contender to replace the Nevada Republican on the coveted panel after his May 3 resignation becomes official. But in an email to Roll Call, the Georgia Republican’s press secretary said that Isakson telephoned McConnell to inform him that he does not want the position, to avoid a conflict of interest. Isakson is vice chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, whose investigation into Ensign is considered a primary reason for his decision to resign.
“Senator Isakson called Senator McConnell to tell him that he does not want to be considered to fill the vacancy on the Senate Finance Committee in the interest of the integrity of the Senate Ethics Committee. Senator Isakson conveyed to Senator McConnell that he does want to be considered for any future vacancies on the Senate Finance Committee,” Lauren Culbertson said Wednesday in an email.
Isakson was a frontrunner to land on Finance earlier this year, when assignments for the 112th Congress were being determined. McConnell has sole discretion to appoint replacements to the committee slots that will be left vacant with Ensign’s resignation, which is effective May 3.
Ensign has been under investigation by Ethics for his role in helping to secure lobbying work for a former aide after that aide left his office. The Nevadan has admitted to having an affair with the wife of that aide.