How do you define the term “career politician?” How about this definition: “Charlie Rangel.” He states, as though it is something for the citizens of New York’s 15th Congressional District to be proud, that his “constituents of 40 years” will continue to support him.
I previously wrote about his money problems. It amazes me every time I think that this is the same man who was in charge of the tax code in the United States.
I am also amazed that the Ethics Committee found him guilty of any violations at all much less all of the charges which have been well-documented. I am certain he is convinced that nothing further will come of the decisions of the Ethics Committee. People like Charlie Rangle just have such a high opinion of themselves that they think they are above the law – even the law of the body to which he belongs.
Since July 22 when the decision was announced there have been articles written from differing vantage points of the problems Mr. Rangel is now facing.
The first one tries to make the point that this could be detrimental to the Democrats as November nears.
Members of a House panel on Thursday charged Rep. Charles Rangel (D) of New York with violating a list of House ethics rules.
The subject of an 18-month investigation, Representative Rangel – a 40-year member of Congress and the House’s fourth most-senior member – now faces a House trial in which eight members (four Democrats and four Republicans) will rule on the findings.
The four-member panel of the House ethics committee did not lay out the alleged violations in detail. But they are reported to include at least some of the most serious.
The allegations range from misuse of rent-controlled apartments in New York City and failure to disclose income from a villa in the Dominican Republic to reports that he exchanged official favors – a tax loophole for oil driller Nabors Industries Ltd. – in exchange for a $1 million gift to the Charles Rangel Center at City College of New York.
Last year, Republicans failed to force Rangel to step down as chairman of the influential tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. But when the House ethics panel reported that Rangel had violated House gift rules by accepting corporate funding for trips to the Caribbean, he relinquished his committee chairmanship in March.
At the time, Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), an ethics watchdog in Washington, told the Monitor that “trips to the Caribbean are the least of his problems.”
“As we get deeper into election season, support is eroding for Rangel, because members know that ethics matters with voters,” she said.
With the latest turn in Rangel’s fight to avoid further political damage, Ms. Sloan’s organization called for the congressman’s resignation from the House.
“Today’s action demonstrates that the notoriously lax Ethics Committee has found substantial reason to believe that Representative Rangel has violated federal law, House rules, or both,” Sloan said in a statement. “Now the question is whether Representative Rangel will resign or endure a public trial that promises to be filled with detailed and undoubtedly embarrassing revelations of wrongdoing. Representative Rangel has toughed it out as long as he could, the time clearly has come for him to resign. He can no longer effectively represent the citizens of New York.”
Still, Rangel’s political and perhaps legal troubles are bad news for majority Democrats working to lose as few seats as possible in the November election. Rangel has long been a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) of California.
Last year, another ethics watchdog group, the Sunlight Foundation, examined Rangel’s financial record going back to 1978, the first year House members were required to detail their personal finances. The group “found 28 instances in which he failed to report acquiring, owning, or disposing of assets.”
“Assets worth between $239,026 and $831,000 appear or disappear with no disclosure of when they were acquired, how long they were held, or when they were sold, as the operative House rules at the time required,” the Sunlight Foundation reported.
Over the years, both parties have suffered political embarrassment – and each has lost its House majority – because of corruption scandals.
The last such case in which a member was expelled from Congress involved Rep. James Traficant (D) of Ohio. Mr. Traficant, who was charged with taking bribes and filing false tax returns, served a seven-year sentence. In a bid to return to Congress this year, Traficant failed to get enough valid petition signatures to get on this fall’s ballot.
Rangel recently announced a bid for a 21st term. One of his Sept. 14 primary opponents is Adam Clayton Powell IV, son of the former congressman – himself the focus of political scandal – whom Rangel defeated in 1970.
The interesting thing here is that Melanie Sloan and CREW, the same organization responsible for the complaint filed with the RNC about Sarah Palin and her “shopping spree” that she knew nothing about. CREW is a George Soros entity heavily involved in anything and everything that they can find to make a Republican look bad in the eyes of the public. For this reason alone, I am more than merely surprised that Sloan is the one who thinks it is time for Mr. Rangel to resign.
It’s all about saving face for the Democrats. What they don’t know is, it is way too late for their face to be saved. November elections will find many of them sitting on the outside looking in – exactly where they belong! Charlie Rangel is on his way out!
Stay tuned for more on Rangel’s dodging tactics.