Jane Harman Leaving Congress for Wilson Center Presidency
Rep. Jane Harman is leaving Congress to become president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Being in the minority is much less fun than being in the majority, Exhibit MXLV:
Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) is likely to resign from Congress to succeed Lee H. Hamilton as president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a close friend of Harman’s told POLITICO. The nine-term intelligence expert notified House officials of the negotiations in writing on Monday.
The final decision is to be made by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s board on Tuesday. The center, established by Congress, is part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Harman has represented her Los Angeles County district in the House beginning in 1993.
She telephoned a series of colleagues on Monday morning to let them know, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
Harman was preparing to send a letter to her constituents explaining her negotiations to join the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Harman’s decision could represent, in part, the frustrations of an ambitious, accomplished Democrat who is suddenly back in the minority.
The friend said: “It’s not that she wants to leave Congress. It’s more about seeing the Woodrow Wilson Center as the preeminent place for seeking bipartisan solutions. It’s a classy, well-funded operation. She just sees is as a great challenge and a great opportunity. She kept getting more and more excited about it.”
Harman’s negotiations for the post were handled by Washington lawyer Robert Barnett.
Harman is the ranking member on the Homeland Security’s intelligence subcommittee. When Democrats held the House majority, she was in line to be chairman of the House intelligence committee but was denied the post by her fellow Californian, then-Speaker Pelosi.
The Wilson Center is a quite influential think tank and Harman’s centrist worldview is a perfect fit.