Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Can Charlie Rangel Survive?

WaPo reports:
The longtime lawmaker from Harlem, one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971 and chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, will face another challenge this week related to his ethics problems. Congressional Republicans plan to offer a resolution on the House floor that, if approved, would strip Rangel of the committee post he long coveted before he got the gavel in 2007.

Similar GOP efforts failed last year, getting the backing of only two Democrats, but Republicans say they expect more Democrats to defect from Rangel after the House ethics committee reported last week that he violated House rules by attending conferences in 2007 and 2008 in the Caribbean that were funded in part by corporations.

Rangel, 79, also faces accusations that he failed to disclose thousands in assets, improperly used congressional stationery to solicit donations for an academic center bearing his name at a New York college, and used multiple, rent-controlled apartments in Harlem in violation of city law.

Already, Rep. Paul W. Hodes (D-N.H.), who is running for the Senate, has called for Rangel to step aside, saying that "Washington must be held to the highest ethical standards."

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would clean up the corruption in the House, and as the ethics committee has shown, that involves Rangel's activities," said Rep. John Carter (Tex.), a member of the House GOP leadership. "I look forward to seeing the Democrats step up and live up to their promises of following the rule of law."

So far, Democratic leaders have remained on Rangel's side, with Pelosi arguing that "he did not knowingly violate House rules." But Pelosi and others have carefully hedged their support, noting that the ethics committee is still investigating Rangel and that Congress should wait for that process to end...

Even if Democrats in Washington don't push Rangel to step down from his committee, he faces another problem: challengers back home. Vince Morgan, 40, a banker who helped run Rangel's reelection campaign in 2002, is opposing Rangel in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, saying Rangel "has lost touch with bread-and-butter issues" in Harlem. A Republican pastor, Michel Faulkner, has also declared his candidacy in Rangel's heavily Democratic district.
Faulkner's interesting letter on why he is challenging Rangel is here.

1 comment:

  1. Patriot Act provisions should be used on Congress. If it's good enough for the people, Congress should be subject to the same scrutiny.

    Rangel is dirty, like many Blue and Red Corporacrats. The fourth estate is a joke in this regard. My Congressman gets a free pass from our local paper.