Democrat Jane Harman plans to resign from her congressional seat representing California’s 36th district if she is named to head a Washington think tank.

USA/In a letter to constituents, Harman said she had filed paperwork notifying the House that she is in discussions to succeed Lee Hamilton as president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “I send this note because a decision is imminent and I wanted you to hear the news from me first,” Harman writes.

“This is an excruciating decision because the distinction of representing the smartest constituents on earth will never be surpassed – nor will my relationships with my exceptional staff and colleagues in Congress.  But shaping and leading the Wilson Center is a thrilling new challenge,” Harman writes.

The reason it is not quite a done deal, is because the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Board of Trustees is meeting Tuesday to formally decide on the new president to replace Hamilton who stepped down at the end of November.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he was unaware of whether President Barack Obama was personally informed of Harman’s decision. “I think some people may have known that she was interested in that position,” he said.