Eugene Robinson, making sense:
House Democrats had better start taking the ethics allegations against Rep. Charlie Rangel seriously. I know it's difficult for those steeped in Capitol Hill's hermetic culture to understand, but a verdict of "mistakes were made" -- which a lot of Democrats would like to reach -- doesn't cut it in the real world. Strange as it seems. Seriously...
The violations that Rangel is alleged to have committed are, inconveniently for him, easy for anyone to understand. The most serious, perhaps, is the allegation that he failed to pay taxes on about $75,000 in income from renting out a beach house that he owns in the Dominican Republic. For the chairman of the House committee that writes tax legislation not to pay his fair share in taxes would be as bad as, say, for the secretary of the Treasury not to pay his fair share in taxes. (Hold it, maybe that's a bad example.)
The most stunning alleged violation is more of a technicality: That on required financial disclosure forms, Rangel failed to list more than $500,000 in assets. The average citizen isn't likely to have half a million bucks somehow slip his mind, since the average citizen doesn't have anything near half a million bucks.
This is toxic. And no, "They did it too!" isn't a defense, it's tone-deaf.
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