Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been quite busy. In addition to failing to report over $4 million in outside income and business transactions to avoid paying taxes (ironic for a man who sets tax policy, isn’t it?), he has also apparently been kicking campaign contributions to three Democrats on the House Ethics Committee investigating him:
Congressman Rangel has been arrogant in refusing to discuss how, as the man who writes this country’s tax laws, he failed to report over $1 million in outside income and $3 million in business transactions as required by the House, lapses under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
“I recognize that all of you have an obligation to ask questions knowing that there’s none of you smart enough to frame it in such a way that I’m going to respond,” Rangel said.
There may be a reason for Rangel’s arrogance. CBS 2 HD has discovered that since ethics probes began last year the 79-year-old congressman has given campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him.
Charlie’s “angels” on the committee include Congressmen Ben Chandler of Kentucky, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Peter Welch of Vermont. All have received donations from Rangel.
It’s important to remember that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leader of “the most ethical Congress in history” (or so she claimed when she took the gavel), has let Rangel keep his committee chairmanship throughout this entire investigation. Maybe she was hoping this would all be cleared up by an Ethics Committee on the take by the subject of its inquiry.
I’m with the Washington Post on this one – Charlie Rangel is an arrogant tax cheat and a disgrace to a Congress that evidently has no shame. Pelosi should have tossed him out of his chairmanship long ago, but what she lacks in class she makes up for in blind loyalty to her ideological cronies. Rangel needs to go, and if he skates, it’s a slap in the face to an American voting populace that expects only a bare minimum of good behavior these days. That Rangel has failed to live up to these low expectations speaks volumes about his character, and the Democrats’ refusal to disavow him speaks loudly about theirs.