Thursday, January 9, 2003

Senate taps Voinovich for ethics panel chief

By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Sen. George Voinovich was named chairman of the Senate ethics committee Wednesday.

Though a thankless post with little clout, being named chairman is generally a mark of respect, a sign that fellow members consider someone fair-minded enough to sit in judgment of them.

"Obviously, it's a difficult job, but he appreciates the confidence his colleagues have placed in him," said the Ohio Republican's spokesman, Scott Milburn.

Mr. Voinovich was second in seniority behind Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, but Mr. Roberts took over chairmanship of the Senate intelligence committee.

The Senate Select Committee on Ethics is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans. Last year it "severely admonished" New Jersey Democrat Robert Torricelli for accepting gifts from campaign contributors, leading to Mr. Torricelli's decision to drop his bid for re-election.

Mr. Voinovich also was named to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He kept his seats on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which this year will write a transportation bill.

Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, was expected to keep his seat on the Senate Appropriations; Judiciary; intelligence; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees.

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