Tales from the Trail

House Democrats fret over Rangel case

July 27, 2010

rangelTwo top Democrats met with Rep. Charles Rangel on Monday, an aide said, while their colleagues fretted about whether his ethics woes will hurt them in the November election.

Rangel had separate meetings with Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, and Jim Clyburn, the House Democratic whip, the Democratic Party aide said.

The aide declined to elaborate on the talks, other than to confirm that Van Hollen shared with Rangel some of his “observations.” Many Democrats fear that if Rangel’s case goes to trial before a congressional panel in September it could become a “political circus” and undermine Democrats’ chances to retain control of the House.

The House Ethics Committee announced charges last week against Rangel which are set to be made public on Thursday in advance of an anticipated September trial.

The ethics panel has been examining for nearly two years a number of allegations against Rangel, including that he failed to pay taxes on a villa and improperly used his office to solicit contributions to a college center named in his honor.

The 80-year-old Democrat from New York, one of the most senior members of Congress, has denied any wrongdoing and says he welcomes the opportunity to clear himself.

“Everybody is uncomfortable about this,” one House Democrat told Reuters, asking not to be identified by name. “I think we can keep the House, but we don’t want it jeopardized by this.”

A number of  Democrats said Rangel should have an opportunity to defend himself and decide for himself whether to cut any deals with House prosecutors.

A possible deal could include Rangel admitting to at least some charges in return for a public admonishment or censure rather than expulsion from Congress.

Another House Democrat, who also asked not to be  identified by name, said Rangel should make the call:”But politically this could really hurt us.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro , a  Connecticut Democrat says:  “It’s absolutely his call. I don’t know what he is going to do.”

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed (Rangel at a memorial service for U.S. Congressman John Murtha, March 3, 2010)

Comments
3 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

The longer we leave any of these guys in office – the more likely they will fail themselves and us. It is really our fault. Term limits would have prevented this.

Posted by alwil | Report as abusive
 

Hello My Fellow Americans – HAVE I GOT A DEAL FOR YOU

Posted by BillSaidIt | Report as abusive
 

Oh, Charlie Rangel, Charlie Rangel! The media is in overdrive over the last few days day noting the ethics allegations surrounding Rep. Charlie Rangel. Today’s story from wall to wall is “whether his ethics woes will hurt them in the November election.” Juicy stuff.

There’s no doubt that the Rangel ethics matter is serious. It may even be time for the 20-term Congressman to gracefully retire before the probe permanently tarnishes his legacy.

But while the ethics investigation into a House Democrat has generated considerable attention, you may not have heard that a conservative Republican senator is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation of another conservative Republican senator.

Politico–”Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has turned over e-mails to federal authorities investigating Sen. John Ensign’s extramarital affair with a campaign aide, the latest sign that the criminal probe into the embattled Nevada Republican is picking up steam.”

Here we have John Ensign, a “family values” conservative Republican, who had an extra-marital sexual relationship with his friend’s wife, while condemning others’ moral failings. Ensign’s parents paid hush-money. Ensign ignored ethics laws and used his office to arrange lobbying jobs for his mistress’ husband. The likelihood of Ensign being indicted seems certain.

And yet, there’s no media frenzy. No reporters staked out in front of Ensign’s home. No daily segments on the Sean Hannity Show speculating about the need for Ensign to resign in disgrace. Instead, the media’s just fascinated with Charlie Rangel. Rangel is facing a probe from the House ethics committee, while Ensign is under scrutiny from the FBI!

It never ceases to amaze me how something like Rangel’s ethics probe undermines his whole party in an election year, while Ensign’s sex-ethics-corruption scandal is considered irrelevant to the Republican Party.

Posted by SteveoOOo | Report as abusive
 

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