Friday, February 26, 2010
After almost two years, Rep. Charlie Rangel, one on Congresses' most egregious tax cheats was finally 'admonished' by the House ethics committee.
The only charge the Democrat dominated committee chose to cite the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee was that he was guilty of breaking House rules by taking corporate-funded Caribbean junkets.
House Republicans have been calling for Rangel to lose his chairmanship over his ethical challenges for quite some time and that call was renewed last night, most notably by Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.
Even a few Democrats have joined the chorus, mindful of getting beaten up badly in the midterms as the GOP hangs the 'Most, Ethical. Congress.Evah' slogan by house Speaker Nancy Pelosi around their collective necks.
Don't look for it to happen,unless Pelosi somehow pulls off the highly unlikely feat of convincing Rangel to fall on his sword and resign. As a matter of fact, Pelosi is already running interference for Rangel and trying to stall any proceedings.
Racial politics is a huge part of this.
Charlie Rangel has been in the House since 1970, and aside from being Congressman-for-life in the mostly black 15th District is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group representative of a constituency the Democrats need to carry almost as a bloc in order to win elections.
The CBC membership would rather do almost anything than vote to censure or remove a fellow CBC member from the feeding trough of a prestigious chairmanship or even a committee seat.
And they don't look kindly on anyone else trying to do it either.
Pelosi knows this.
Back in 2006, CBC member William Jefferson's home was raided by the feds and $90,000 in cash was found in his freezer.Jefferson, like Rangel was on Ways and Means and with the 2006 midterms only months away, Pelosi wanted Jefferson gone so as not to interfere with the 'culture of corruption ' fantasy. So when he refused to resign, she tried to have him expelled from his committee seat.
The CBC, led by Rangel, closed ranks and fought his expulsion tooth and nail, claiming he was being railroaded and punished because of his race.
Pelosi finally managed to get a vote of the full Democratic caucus on Jefferson. But the CBC and a number of Congressmen with a significant black vote in their districts revolted after a heated debate and in the end, nearly 60 House Democrats refused to vote to boot Jefferson. And while Pelosi managed in the end to get enough votes to dump him, the last thing she wants revisit is hellish internal warfare with the CBC over Rangel.
And trust me - if Rangel asks the CBC to fight a all out war for him, they will.
So Speaker Pelosi has an interesting choice, with no good options. She can push to get enough votes to oust Rangel, at the cost of alienating the CBC and allied congressmen with black constituencies and a huge firefight.
Or she can opt to simply ignore all this, giving the Republicans even more ammo for the midterms and endangering swing-district Democrats, who are going to have to explain to the voters why they’re protecting Charlie Rangel.
Couldn't happen to a more deserving group of people.
Posted by Freedom Fighter at 3:29 PM