Rep Charles Rangel, D, NY is the Chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He is serving his second term as chair and his 20th term in the House from New York’s 15th District. The committee among other duties has responsibility for writing the tax laws that we all love so much.
Unfortunately, Rep Rangel has had a bit of trouble with those tax laws, as in not paying taxes that he should have paid to the tune of about $500,000. So, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into the matter. And, alas, it found that he had violated House rules.
Now this when it gets really good and a bit complicated. we have appearances from Speaker Pelosi, Senator Dick Durbin and the President as well as unnamed staffers who are really the ones at fault here.
First, the President has a say. In days gone by, he had called Rangel untouchable. Now, according to Robert Gibbs, Obama says that the House has rules for a reason, they must apply to everyone and that members of Congress “ought to be accountable.” The New York Daily News account, written by Michael Mcauliff and Richard Sisk, has this headline. President Barack Obama abandons Rep. Charles Rangel against ethics charges. Ok, so it isn’t great grammar but their point is clear.
Next we have Speaker Pelosi and Senator Dick Durbin. First, the Speaker. She is asked a question by ABC’S Elizabeth Vargas about the Rangel charges and how it appears to back up the feeling among many that Congress is corrupt. First, Pelosi refers to her 7 years on the Ethics Committee and then says something that just flat out amazes me. ” What Mr Rangel has been admonished for is not good… it was not something that jeopardized our country in any way.” Is that amazing or what? So, I wonder what would fall under the category of jeopardy in her view? Say, a Republican doing something similar. Paging Tom Delay. Good freakin grief.
Next is Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. Remember, he’s a senator commenting. He refers to Rangel’s military service in the Korean conflict. Because of that service , Durbin elects to give him a pass.
And, this last group is almost funny, if it were not sad. It seems to be a coordinated media defense, based on Pelosi’s comments. Messrs Joe Scarborough, Paul Krugman, Zbigniew Brezinski and Andy Serwer. Can’t be sure about Scarborough the host but the other folks seem to say, eh, no big deal.
Stay tuned, there will be more.
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