Rep. Charlie Rangel Found Guilty of 11 House Ethics Violations
Matt | On 16, Nov 2010
Who should be having the worst week ever? I think 20-term Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), the former head of the House Ways and Means Committee, may be a pretty good candidate right now.
Rangel was found guilty on 11 counts of breaking House ethics rules on Tuesday. The Ethics panel found that Rangel:
- Used House stationary and staff to raise funds for a New York college center named in his honor.
- Used his influence as the head of the House Ways and Means Committee to solicit donations for the college center. In short, he went to people that were set to meet with the Ways and Means committee. If they gave to him, then they may get what they need from his committee. [The Ways and Means Committee sets tax policy and is one of the most powerful committees in the House].
- Failed to disclose $600,000 in assets and income on Congressional reports.
- Used a rent-subsidized apartment in New York for a campaign office.
- Did not report rental income to the IRS for a property he owns in the Dominican Republic.
Basically, Rangel acted a damn fool!
Rangel’s punishment has not yet been set by the full House Ethics Committee. He could face an open reprimand from House, a fine, or a loss of some privileges. Remember, this is not a court of law so jail time does not factor in. This is a function of the legislative body to keep its members in check. They do get the punishment of public embarrassment and a permanent memory of their actions in the House record.
It is clear to me that power can corrupt people on both sides of the aisle. I lay blame where it is due. But, the irony of this whole situation is that Rangel has been a Congressman since damn near the Civil War. How did he NOT know these things were in violation of House rules? And if he did, why did he think he would NOT get caught?