Ethics Panel Says House Should Censure Charlie Rangel

There’s either one of two scenarios here that prevented the ethics panel from tossing Rangel out, totally:

1)  They felt sorry for the 80 year old congressman from Harlem based on his longevity in the House


2) So many Congressmen and Senators are in bed with so many “special interests” that just censuring Rangel seemed appropriate enough.  Of course that would be because they feared getting exposed for their ethical violations.

I choose the latter.

TPM Muckraker

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) should be censured by the House of Representatives and pay back taxes for financial and fundraising misconduct, the House ethics committee recommended late Thursday.

The House of Representatives will likely consider the motion to censure the 20-term congressman after Thanksgiving, the Associated Press reported.

A bipartisan panel debated how Rangel should be punished for several hours on Thursday. The vote to recommend censure for Rangel was 9-1.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would give an oral rebuke to Rangel before his colleagues if the House votes to accept the committee’s recommendations.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Not A Care In The World? Charlie Rangel’s Birthday Celebration]

Rangel made an emotional appeal to the committee earlier in the day, and didn’t have much to say to reporters following the hearing. He later issued a statement of apology.

The ethics panel had already decided that Rangel was guilty of 11 ethics violations, a result Rangel said was unfair. He said it was the committee’s fault that he did not have a lawyer and walked out of the hearing, but the panel decided to go ahead.

Bill Kristol: Republicans Should ‘Just Shut Up’ About Charlie Rangel’s Ethics Charges

Huffington Post

Some conservatives on Sunday pointed to New York Congressman Charlie Rangel’s ethics charges as evidence that Democrats had failed to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Activist Liz Cheney, for example, accused Rangel of “real imperial arrogance.”

But even as the GOP piled on — and Democrats established their distance — there were those in the Republican tent who expressed caution about suddenly becoming ethical crusaders.

“Just shut up,” the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol said on “Fox News Sunday” when asked what Republicans should do about Rangel. “There is a bipartisan ethics committee. Let the process go forward they don’t need jump on this — they will just get questioned. Believe me there are plenty of congressman in both parties who have been imperial and arrogant and who have centers named after them … The idea that republicans should go around throwing stones at Charlie Range; is just foolish on their part.”

Even before Kristol’s remarks, other Republicans exhibited caution too. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for one, was forced to sidestep questions about the various ethics scandals involving fellow Senate Republicans — notably John Ensign (R-N.V.) and David Vitter — during a sit down with “Fox News Sunday.”

“I think it’s important for members of Congress to have the highest possible ethical standards,” he said. “And a number of members over the years got in trouble, some have them have had to leave Senate as a result of it.”

And when pressed to place the Rangel ethics charges in the context of the 2010 elections, McConnell declined.

“Spending too much, taxing too much, borrowing too much and their job killing programs are what’s on the mind of the American people,” he said on Sunday.

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Ethics cases raise racial questions


The politically charged decisions by veteran Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California to force public trials by the House ethics committee are raising questions about race and whether black lawmakers face more scrutiny over allegations of ethical or criminal wrongdoing than their white colleagues.

The controversy over the cases and the prospect of the first simultaneous ethics trials for multiple members in more than 30 years mark the biggest challenge for the ethics committee’s and the House’s ability to police its own members since the mid-1990s, when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and other leaders from both parties found themselves hauled before the secretive panel.

The question of whether black lawmakers are now being singled out for scrutiny has been simmering throughout the 111th Congress, with the Office of Congressional Ethics a focal point of the concerns. At one point earlier this year, all eight lawmakers under formal investigation by the House ethics committee, including Rangel and Waters, were black Democrats. All those investigations originated with the OCE, which can make recommendations — but take no final actions — on such cases.

There’s a “dual standard, one for most members and one for African-Americans,” said one member of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The member said it’s too easy for an outside group to damage someone’s reputation by filing a claim with OCE.

“This is stacked against you once an accusation is made,” the lawmaker added. “You’re guilty until proven otherwise.”

Rangel made his own referral to the ethics committee after news reports in 2008 that he improperly controlled four rent-stabilized units in a luxury Harlem building and had used official congressional letterhead to mail donor solicitations for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York. That case later expanded to include Rangel’s failure to pay taxes on rental income on a Dominican Island resort home, failure to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in income on his annual disclosure form and his intervention on a tax break for a million-dollar donor to the Rangel Center.

On Thursday, the ethics committee hit Rangel with a 13-count Statement of Violation after a nearly two-year probe into his finances and failed attempts to strike a deal to avert formal charges.

Continue reading more:

Rangel Accused Of 13 Ethics Violations

I don’t care how long Charlie Rangel has been in office.  Greed corrupts. 

Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — House investigators accused veteran New York Rep. Charles Rangel of 13 violations of congressional ethics standards on Thursday, throwing a cloud over his four-decade political career and raising worries for fellow Democrats about the fall elections.

The allegations include failure to report rental income from vacation property in the Dominican Republic and hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income and assets on his financial disclosure statements.

Other charges focused on Rangel’s use of congressional staff and stationery to raise money for a college center in New York named after him; accepting favors and benefits from the donors that may have influenced his congressional actions; use of a subsidized New York apartment as a campaign office instead of a residence; and misuse of the congressional free mail privilege.

“Even though they are serious charges, I’m prepared to prove that the only thing I’ve ever had in my 50 years of public service is service,” Rangel told reporters Thursday night. “That’s what I’ve done and if I’ve been overzealous providing that service, I can’t make an excuse for the serious violations.”

The charges came as lawyers for Rangel and the House ethics committee worked out a plea deal, according to people familiar with the talks. But Republicans on the ethics committee indicated it was too late.      Continue reading…

Charlie Rangel CHARGED With Ethics Violations, Trial To Be Held

“Power corrupts…”

Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — A House investigative committee on Thursday charged New York Rep. Charles Rangel with multiple ethics violations, dealing a serious blow to the former Ways and Means chairman and complicating Democrats’ election-year outlook.

The House ethics committee won’t reveal the specific charges until next Thursday in a public meeting. However, sources familiar with the allegations, who were not authorized to discuss them publicly, said the charges against the 40-year Democrat were related to:

_Rangel’s use of official stationery to raise money for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York.

_His use of four rent-subsidized apartment units in New York City. The city’s rent stabilization program is supposed to apply to one’s primary residence. One had been used as a campaign office, raising a separate question of whether the rent break was an improper gift.

_Rangel’s failure to report income as required on his annual financial disclosure forms. The committee had investigated his failure to report income from the lawmaker’s rental unit at the Punta Cana Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic. Rangel also belatedly disclosed hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment assets.

The charges by a four-member panel of the House ethics committee sends the case to a House trial. A separate panel of four Republicans and four Democrats will decide whether the violations can be proved by clear and convincing evidence.

Sanctions can range from a damaging committee report to censure by the House and even expulsion, a punishment reserved for only the most egregious violations.

The timing of the announcement ensures that a public airing of Rangel’s ethical woes will stretch into the fall campaign, and Republicans are certain to make it an issue as they try to capture majority control of the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had once promised to “drain the swamp” of ethical misdeeds by lawmakers in arguing that Democrats should be in charge.

Rangel, who is tied for fourth in House seniority, told reporters that he believes the allegations have no substance and said, “I look forward to airing this thing.”  

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