House Charges Rangel with Ethics Violations

The committee formally makes the call. Pundits reflect on Rangel's long fall from grace

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Things keep getting worse for Representative Charles Rangel. Thursday, a House investigative panel found "substantial reaons to believe" the Harlem Democrat violated a number of ethics rules. The violations likely include tax evasion, wrongly accepting rent-stabilized Manhattan apartments, and preserving a tax loophole for an oil executive who helped finance an education center being constructed in Rangel's honor. Reaction is split: while most pundits are denouncing Rangel's alleged sins, some of his ideological brethren on the left are bemoaning the downfall of a staunch progressive politician.

  • He Deserves Out  "This is one that's been a long time coming," writes Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. "Rangel is the type of Congressman who's managed to find a way to profit off of his time in office, and he's never seem the least bit ashamed of the fact that he lives in relative luxury while his constituents live in some of the most crowded housing projects in New York City. Several years ago, for example, when stories broke about Members of Congress using taxpayer funds to lease or purchase luxury vehicles, Rangel said his constituents expected him to drive around in a fancy car."

  • I Can't Believe This Guy, sighs Jonathan Capehart at The Washington Post: "This is classic Rangel. Trying to make a walk over hot coals look like a stroll on the Mall. I look forward to hearing whatever explanations he has for his violations. And I look forward to whatever penalties befall him."

I will always respect Rangel made the march from Selma to Montgomery in the 1960s. I will always respect the Korean War soldier and Purple Heart winner's fierce opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, an opposition that has extended into the Obama era, as the former Ways and Means Committee chair recently scored Obama for maintaining policies there that are won't forget the number of times that he went to bat, using all of his considerable influence on Capitol Hill, to protect education, housing and community programs that might well have gone on the chopping block without his intervention. And I certainly won't fault him for declaring at a particularly appropriate point during the previous administration's reign of error that Vice President Cheney was "a real son of bitch."

  • At Least He Was Ideologically On Track, writes liberal Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News: "Support your ideals, not people, because too many people will eventually let you down. Right now, is there any Republican causing more damage to the goal of a more just and a better America than Democrat Charlie Rangel. I think not. He doesn't have to be a headache for anyone, anymore. The Harlem Democrat served his country admirably many years ago fighting in the Korean Conflict, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, and now he can serve Americans one final resigning, immediately."

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