The House ethics committee voted unanimously to expand its investigation into whether Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), the chief taxwriter, deliberately failed to pay taxes on rental property, according to a paper statement. The committee says it's interviewed 34 witnesses and reviewed several thousand documents and held 35 investigative subcommittee meetings. This is a LOT of work. It suggests that the probe is big.  Predictably,  Republicans jumped on the news. The minority leader, Rep. John Boehner, asked: "What More Has to Happen Before Speaker Pelosi Does the Right Thing?  The right thing, being -- asking Rangel to step down from his post as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.  So far, the leadership is standing by Rangel, hoping that the investigation will exonerate him -- and is reluctant to catalyze dissension in the ranks -- something that Rangel's ouster would certainly cause. Plus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't seem comfortable with the idea of giving the Ways and Means gavel to fellow Californian Pete Stark, who has a bit of an independent streak.)

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