It seems that democrats have finally started to get the message on Rep. Charlie Rangel, who has long been dogged by questionable financial records and decisions. Rangel had previously enjoyed the strong protections of the House Democratic leadership, and as the Chairman of the Ways and Means committee, had continued to underreport money earned on properties, reasons for fundraisers, and his proper address. The allegations against Rangel include:
– Not reporting money made from renting his vacation home in the Dominican Republic.
– Claiming his DC address is his primary residence while actually living primarily in rent-controlled apartments in NYC.
– Underreporting his income.
– Using a fundraising effort to get his name on a City College building.
The list could go on and on, but what was more shocking was the Democrats’ treatment of the issue. The Party had been swaddling Rangel away from Republican attempts to strip him of his leadership. Republicans feel that due to the allegations, Rangel should not serve as a chairman until the investigation is complete.
However, despite a recent vote where two Democrats voted for integrity, the Republican sponsored move to strip Rangel of his chairmanship lost. After outcry in the media and online, Democrats have begun to realize that Rangel is not someone they need to protect- especially in the tough upcoming 2010 elections. The Ethics Committee last night voted to expand the investigation against Rangel, meaning that they believe that there is more to be found and explored on Mr. Rangel’s record.
This is another examples of Republicans working to keep Democrats honest- and how the total imbalance of power allows someone with a questionable record like Charlie Rangel to become protected by his own Party and not forced to pay for the consequences of his actions. Hopefully, Rangel will do to the right thing- or his Party will- and he will begin to pay the proverbial piper.
What do you think- should Rangel step down?
[Source: New York Times]