17 Oct 2009 Charlie Rangel’s Many Scandals Subject of Project 21 Commentary in Washington Times
By David Almasi:
Remember how Washington’s “culture of corruption” played such a large role in the 2006 elections? The issue hasn’t gone away…Consider the slow burn of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY). Currently, the number of allegations of questionable ethics of his part number at six – ranging from allegations of abuse of the rules of the House garage to allegedly not filing proper disclosures of income to allegedly using House resources to raise money for a non-governmental pet project.
Project 21’s Council Nedd wrote a commentary about the Rangel situation that recently appeared in The Washington Times. Council pointed out the irony that Rangel’s 1970 election was due in part to the scandal-plagued history of his predecessor, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
Council wrote, in part:
Four decades later, Mr. Rangel is experiencing uncanny parallels to situations that destroyed Mr. Powell’s congressional career. Despite the ignominious circumstances of Mr. Powell’s forced retirement, he remains fondly remembered for his civil rights work and his pre-scandal legislative accomplishments.History may not be so kind to Mr. Rangel, since he and his colleagues assumed power on a promise to clean up Washington’s “culture of corruption.”
…It is troubling when Mr. Rangel pleads ignorance about his tax problems; more so when one considers that he heads the committee tasked with writing the nation’s tax laws.
Mr. Powell was stripped of his committee chairmanship by his Democratic colleagues and later expelled by a vote of the entire House. He did win back his seat, but – after years of legal squabbling – Harlem voters chose to replace him with Mr. Rangel.
The House Ethics Committee is now investigating many of the charges against Mr. Rangel. Despite promises of stronger ethics, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to have no intention thus far of disciplining a man she calls “very distinguished.”
…Mr. Rangel was elected, in part, to clean up Mr. Powell’s mess. Now, he has become his own mess. It reflects poorly on him and hurts Harlem and Washington. Harlem needs another renaissance – an ethical one this time.
To read all of Council’s commentary, click here.