Joel Hefley’s tenure as House Ethics Committee Chair likely is over, but no one has told him that. In fact, today House Speaker Dennis Hastert released the names of this year’s committee chairs, and the space for the Ethics Committee chair was blank. Why? Hastert is searching for a suitable replacement. Luis provides the background here.

Hefley was set to fly out to Denver yesterday, and briefly considered canceling his flight to attend the Republican meeting. Then he decided against it.

“They’re going to do whatever they want to do,” he said. “So I might as well get back to the district and do some work back there.”

We all know the reason Hefley is being ousted is because of his refusal to back an easing of ethical rules that would have protected embattled Texas Congressman Tom Delay. So why can’t they be honest about it instead of feeding us spin?

The stated reason for Hefley’s removal will be that the House parliamentarian has determined that Hefley has served the maximum number of terms that he can under the rules.

Hefley is fast becoming the man of the hour. The Washington Post today has this profile.