Friday, July 23, 2010

Rangel Wrangle

The pollos are coming home to roost for the past-his-sell-date congressman, the "Honorable" Charlie Rangel. As the NY Post is reporting: "A House investigative committee on Thursday charged New York Rep. Charles Rangel with multiple ethics violations, a blow to the former Ways and Means chairman and an election-year headache for Democrats."

And now comes the sure to be entertaining show trial: "The committee did not immediately specify the charges against the Democrat, who has served in the House for some 40 years and is fourth in House seniority. The announcement by a four-member panel of the House ethics committee sends the case to a House trial, where a separate eight-member panel of Republicans and Democrats will decide whether the violations can be proved by clear and convincing evidence."

The NY Times follows up with the news that the violations will be both multiple and severe: "The investigative subcommitee did not disclose any details about the nature of the violations that it found evidence, but one House official who has been briefed on the findings said that they included some of the most serious allegations that had been examined. “All I know is that it was a majority of them,” the House official said, asking not to be identified as the ruling is supposed to remain confidential for one week."

Just what Democrats needed as they strive mightily to preserve their congressional majority: "The timing of the announcement ensures that it 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." Yikes, the run up to November will now include an endless parade of Rangle Dominican beach snooze photos.

For his part, the congressman has issued the following statement-via Daily Politics-that's hard to read with a straight face: "I was notified today, two years after I requested an investigation, that the Ethics Committee will refer the allegations reviewed by an Investigations Subcommittee to a Subcommittee that will review the facts. I am pleased that, at long last, sunshine will pierce the cloud of serious allegations that have been raised against me in the media. I will be glad to respond to the allegations at such time as the Ethics Committee makes them public."

Quite droll, wouldn't you say? Rangel tries to make it seems that a public ethics trial is exactly what he's been fighting for over the past two years-to clear his name, of course. But whether he does or not, this is going to be one great public spectacle-and will dramatize the extent to which the Dems under Madam Pelosi have actually, "drained the swamp;" or whether they have simple added to its fetidness.

Given the seriousness of all of Rangle's ethical breaches, however, we are awaiting the statement from the NY State Democratic Party calling for the congressman to be removed from the party. After all, we wouldn't want to allow the hint of a double standard to tarnish the party's good name.