Sen. Mike Johanns is expressing interest in the Finance Committee seat currently held by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), whose resignation from the Senate becomes effective May 3.
Johanns spokesman Steve Wymer confirmed Wednesday that the Nebraska Republican would like to replace Ensign on the coveted panel. But Wymer indicated that Johanns is cognizant that he is not the only Republican angling to land on Finance, popular for its expansive policy reach and spot from which to raise campaign funds.
“Sen. Johanns has put in for Finance since day one in the Senate and looks forward to hopefully getting a seat on the panel at some point, but he is mindful of seniority issues,” Wymer said.
Earlier Wednesday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) released a statement expressing his desire to succeed Ensign on Finance. DeMint, who was elected to a second Senate term last year and previously served in the House, has more seniority than Johanns, a former governor and Cabinet official, who was first elected in 2008.
Isakson announced Wednesday morning that he asked McConnell not to appoint him to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest with his duties as vice chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee. The panel’s investigation of Ensign is credited with pushing the Nevada Republican to resign his seat.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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