We may never know whether Oregon's new senator-elect voted for or against letting renegade Sen. Joe Lieberman keep his key committee chairmanship. But Merkley's office made it clear to Huffington Post blogger Sam Stein that Merkley wasn't happy about it.
Stein wrote that aides to Merkley said he "was 'profoundly hurt' by Joe Lieberman's conduct during the 2008 presidential campaign" - in which the Connecticut Democrat-turned-Independent not only endorsed Republican John McCain but spoke at the Republican convention, campaigned with McCain and questioned the patriotism of Barack Obama - "and added that being a committee chair was an honor that came with certain responsibilities.
"Nevertheless, they added, the senator-elect would respect the secrecy of [today's] vote that kept Lieberman in his post as Homeland Security chair."
The Democratic caucus voted 42-13 to let Lieberman keep the Homeland Security chairmanship, but stripped him of his position on an environmental and public works subcommittee.
"Sources familiar with today's meeting say that Merkley was one of the few senators to speak out critically about Lieberman's campaign antics," Stein added. "Both senators from Vermont - Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders - also expressed criticism" of Lieberman.