Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Congressional Swamp

From Boortz.

This is not breaking news: Charlie Rangel is a tax cheat. The guy in charge of writing tax laws in this country is a tax cheat. Until now, the House ethics committee didn't seem all that interested. Not an eyebrow raised in Rangel's general direction. But the House ethics committee finally "admonished" Rangel for accepting two trips to the Caribbean that were paid for by corporations. The committee's report said that Rangel "violated the House gift rule by accepting payment and reimbursement for travel to 2007 and 2008 conferences." As we know, this is just another bullet point on the list of the unethical failures of Charlie Rangel. Here is one that we recently compiled:
  • Failure to report over $1 million in outside income and $3 million in business transactions as required by the House,
  • Failure to disclose at least $650,000 in assets he had previously failed to list on his House financial disclosure forms,
  • Failure to disclose to the IRS or on his financial disclosure forms $75,000 in rental income for a beach villa in the Dominican Republic,
  • Violation of state laws by claiming three primary residences and breaking New York City regulations by maintaining four rent-controlled apartments,
  • Violation of House rules by using congressional letterhead to solicit donations for an education center bearing his name at City College of New York, and
  • Delinquency in paying his property taxes on two New Jersey parcels and failure to report the sale of a $1.3 million brownstone.

Charlie Rangel is among that elite class of Congress who believes that they are entitled to their position of power in Washington. He is part of some special class, which places him and his actions above the rule of law. Some might call that arrogance.

Charlie Rangel's biggest supporter in the House seems to be Nancy Pelosi. Princess Nancy says that it is not her place to interfere and "It was not a--something that jeopardized our country in any way." There you have it. The norm used to be that if a member ran afoul of the ethics committee you lost your committee chairmanship ... period. Now, according to Pelosi, you're ethical violation had to have been something that jeopardized our country. What is she saying? Unethical behavior on the part of one of the most powerful committee chairman in Washington doesn't, in and of itself, jeopardize our country?

What can be done? Well, today in Congress the Republicans are moving to trip Rangel of his chairmanship. The Republicans have tried this stunt before, as recently as September 2009, with no luck. Don't expect much this time. At least the Democrats refusal to punish one of their own will be displayed however.

BestView doesn't find much difference in Democrat and Republican ethics, but there seems to be a difference in tolerance. Republicans throw them out faster, but then most of their problems aren't black members.

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