Rep. Jane Harman to Resign From House

From Politico

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) will resign from Congress to succeed former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton as president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, ending a two-decade career in which Harman became one of the leading centrist voices in the Democratic Party on intelligence and national security.

The nine-term lawmaker notified House officials of the negotiations in writing on Monday, and 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 since 1993, and Democrats likely would retain her district in a special election, as it is considered a safe seat for the party. But like other parts of the Los Angeles area, it could be significantly revamped by redistricting changes in next year’s election, including pressure to create additional Latino districts.

Harman telephoned a series of colleagues on Monday morning to let them know of her decision, 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.

A Jane Harman 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 Democrat 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.

Like Hamilton—who had chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee—Harman brings an impressive combination of national-security savvy and domestic political experience to a center named for a former Democratic president who operated in that tradition. She also brings useful fundraising experience to the center.

As ranking minority member of the Intelligence Committee from 2003 to 2006, she was influential in winning bipartisan enactment of post-9/11 reforms, including major reorganization of the intelligence community and creation of the Director of National Intelligence.

“She worked very closely” with Hamilton and Tom Kean, who chaired the presidential commission to review the 2001 attacks, said Al Felzenberg, who was spokesman for that panel. “Without her, the reforms would not have passed. She has a tremendous public-service ethos”

But her centrist Democratic credentials caused Harman problems at home, where she faced opposition from the left. In 2006, Marcy Winograd—who had been president of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles—criticized her work on intelligence issues and her support for the war in Iraq. Harman won, 62 percent to 38 percent.

As local liberals continued to voice unhappiness with her record, Harman won a 2010 rematch against Winograd, 59 percent to 41 percent. In addition to redistricting risks, that liberal opposition could have become a factor in a possible primary next year. In a 1998 bid for governor, Harman ran a distant third to Gray Davis, with 12 per cent of the vote. With Pelosi’s encouragement, Harman returned to Congress in 2000 by defeating the Republican who had taken her seat.

Despite occasional conflicts with Pelosi and liberal Democrats in the House, Harman remained active on the Energy and Commerce Committee, where she worked on climate-change issues. Her House departure would open a much-sought seat on that panel, where several Democrats were forced to step down after Republicans won House control last November.

Her husband, industrialist Sidney Harman, recently completed deals to buy Newsweek and combine it with The Daily Beast.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. Zareh said:

    The more we get to know the US and see how things (dis)function the more it becomes clear this country is a well-dressed third-world entity. Lee Hamilton worked ceaselessly to award Turkish FM Davutoglu the Woodrow Wilson Prize, and now this venerable Representative, who lied and cheated in matters dealing with Armenians, will succeed Hamilton.


  2. Norin Radd said:

    She is a closet Armenian Genocide denier and a lap dog for her Jewish lobby, not to be trusted and not surprising either. Consider her a female version of Abe Foxman from now only, though in Abe’s defense, he is more attractive.

  3. Avery said:

    Not only Rep. Harman is an Anti-Armenian latent AG denier, she is quite possibly an Anti-American, pro-Israeli unregistered agent.

    She was recorded – in April 2009 – by the US National Security Agency (NSA) offering to help two American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbyists, who were arrested in 2005 for receiving classified information by convicted Israeli spy Lawrence Anthony Franklin. The two lobbyists are/were: Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman. The affair was naturally swept under the rug, and Rep. Hartman was never charged.

    Anyone who is potentially ready to betray her own country, USA, for a foreign one, Israel, has no morals, has no honor, and should be considered available for sale to the highest bidder.

    In her new position – immune from voters – not only will she work against Armenia and Armenian-American issues, including the AG, she should be expected to join in the dissemination of any and all Turkish propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation.

  4. manooshag said:

    And, what shall become of the Woodrow Wilson memorial in Washington DC, in the USA which recently has borne destruction via the efforts of the Turks… Where does a Harman deign to stand on this issue of the destruction of Wilson’s memorium in our own capital city, by the bully Turks. Too, all under the noses of the USA State Department and our national White House… and now our national Congress – all gagged and unable to speak up against what a Turkey chooses to accomplish – in our own capital city, our own lands, destruction of an American president’s honored site… created by the citizens of the USA – on our own lands – by bully Turks. Manooshag

  5. Anoush said:

    The Wilson Center is already mired in pro-Turkish scandals. Armenian Americans should point this out.

    Two exposes:

    “The Selling of the Woodrow Wilson Center” (October 2010)

    “The Woodrow Wilson Center Desecrates its Namesake’s Legacy and Violates its Congressional Mandate” (May 2010):

    A scathing letter written by Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) to his former colleague, Lee Hamilton, due to the WWC’s giving an undeserved award to the Turkish Foreign Minister in June:§iontree=4,186&itemid=1029

    A Wilson family descendant, Donald Wilson Bush, blasts the Wilson Center – twice (“Pawn for the Wrong President,” and “Presidential Legacy for Sale”) – look up the articles on the Web.

    Claudia Rosett takes the Wilson Center to task (“What Kind of Washington Fools Would Honor Turkey’s Foreign Minister?”):
    Incidentally, Harman was taped by the FBI telling an Israeli government agent that she would, for a favor in return, get off the two AIPAC people who were indicted for espionage (Rosen and Weissman). The woman barely escaped indictment herself – and only because she has friends in high places.

  6. Assdig said:

    What is considered a bribe in other countries is legalized lobbying in USA. See what a simple word does.
    A foreign agent that is also bought by Turkey is going to lead the Woodrow Wilson Center. Is there anything else left in this beautiful country that is not for sale? What a joke!

Leave a Reply to Zareh Cancel reply