That’s probably the best and most sympathetic reaction one could have for New York Congressman Rangel as he takes what he is called “a leave of absence “ of his Chairmanship of the House Ways & Means Committee. As you will see in the video below this article, not only i this fall from grace deserved, it has been a long time coming.
Rangel’s decision comes only after he was recently admonished for taking trips to the Caribbean that were paid for by corporate contributors to his reelection campaigns.
This of course was just one of Charlie’s abuses. It is also the one that he is trying to claim was not his fault. He believes that he can not be held accountable for something that a member of his staff didn’t research hard enough. The claim is that his staff did not look into the financer backers of the trips in question and so he should not be held accountable for their mistake.
So much for that buck stops here thing.
But Charlie’s excuse aside, members of the Congressman’s staff did warn him of the questionable conflict of interest involved in his Caribbean trips. And even if Charlie was angel, Rangel is guilty of a lot more than just this.
The corrupt Congressman was also found to have participated in the other following unethical conduct:
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in income that he failed to report on his taxes or Congressional disclosure form
Rangel worked to preserve a lucrative tax break for an oil-drilling company while at the same time, the company’s C.E.O. was pledging $1 million to a City College of New York educational center to be named in Rangel’s honor
Used his Congressional office letterhead to solicit donors for the C.C.N.Y. educational center.
Even though New York City and state regulations prevent the use of rent-controlled apartments for purposes other than as a primary residence, Rangel rents four rent-stabilized apartments in the same Harlem building, at well below market rates and uses them for campaign office space.
Rangel flouted rules barring the storage of vehicles in the Congressional parking garage for more than 45 days and requirements that any vehicles there have license plates and a valid House parking sticker. For years the Congressman illegally stored his Mercedes Benz there.
So Rangel’s breaking of House rules on corporate-funded travel was just one of six examples of his ’above-the-law-mentality. And that type of attitude is not something that Americans can afford to have in the Chairman of the powerful and all important Ways & Means Committee.
The Ways and Means Committee is an extremely powerful panel to be a member of . The Committee has jurisdiction overall taxation and tariffs and revenue raising activities and activities that include, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment benefits, and all other federal welfare programs and benefits. They clearly do more than just write our tax code and they obviously have great sway over just about every dime and dollar that exchanges hands.
The committee is so powerful that its members are precluded from participation in other congressional committees. As it is, because of the wide jurisdiction that it has over finances, being on the Ways and Means Committee pretty much assures that its committee members have a say in all other policies. With all things considered, the only thing more powerful than membership on the Ways and Means Committee is being the chairman of it. Such power should not be held by just anyone. It should be held by someone who is, at least responsible and at most, above reproach.
To make matters worse, while Charlie tried to paint hi move as a sacrifice that he was making the team, what essentially amounts to his resignation from the committee chairmanship, came only after it was admitted that there were not enough votes to save him from having it stripped away from him in an upcoming vote. But Charlie the martyr said he was doing this because the attention given to the issues swirling around were becoming g too much of a distraction for his colleagues.
Ya think so!
Do you think that maybe a corrupt politician in charge of writing the national tax policy is a distraction? I actually think it is not distraction. I believe it is a major issue that should have been dealt with many months when calls for his resignation based upon those ethical breaches which he had already been found guilty of.
Ironically, in 1970, Charlie Rangel defeated the man who previously held his Congressional seat in a primary after he too was found guilty of Caribbean related ethics charges . That man was Adam Clayton Powell.
Powell was accused of a similar charge of misappropriated Committee funds for his personal use and other charges including personal trips to Bimini. The charges and evidence against Powell were so overwhelming that Congress expelled him. After the people of his congressional district still elected Powell to Congress in a special election to fill the seat that he was expelled form, the House refused to seat him but a Supreme Court ruling declared the action unconstitutional. The controversial career of Adam Clayton Powell finally came to an end only after Charlie Rangel ran against him.
Now almost 40 years later, Rangel is seen as conducting actions as reckless and corrupt as the predecessor that he ousted due to many of the same reasons that Rangel now finds himself charged with.
Is history repeating itself? Could be. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. is an influential New York City Councilman and if the track record of Rangel’s congressional district remains reliable, corruption will continue to follow corruption into office. But in the mean time, as for Charlie….see’ya later and don’t let the door hit’ya where the good Lord split’ya!