UnNews:Lame ducks wring hands over Rangel penalty
|UnNews Audio (file info)|
|Listen to this story!|
17 November 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It was a long and confusing investigation, one that simply could not be completed before Charles Rangel (D--NY) coasted to a 21st term as a Congressman. But a committee of the House of Reprehensibles has now found him guilty of violating House rules.
The "jury of his peers" now turns its attention to the much harder question of punishment, struggling, in the waning days before the rug is pulled out from under them as a result of the November 2 election, with the arduous decision between a slap on the right wrist and a slap on the left wrist.
The full Ethics Committee will send its recommendation to the House, which may vote to censure him, express extreme disapproval, or give him a very stern look. If worse comes to worst, the lettering on the Rep. Charles Rangel Center for Public Service at City College--the site of the Rep. Charles Rangel Slush Fund--might be rendered in a smaller size. He could even be required to file an amended Form 1040 with the IRS and attach a letter of apology.
Rep. Rangel was also found to have used New York rent control to set up a re-election office, and to evade taxes on a condo in the Dominican Republic. His excuse was that the damned notices arrived in Spanish, a vexing language also spoken by most voters in his district. Rep. Rangel said, "I can only hope that the House will take into account my entire 40 years of service," a defense technically known as the Do-You-Know-Who-I-Am? gambit.
The powerful Ways and Means chairman has also argued that the probe should be accelerated to wind up before the election, should be slowed down so he can hire new lawyers, and should be dropped altogether, as all the other officials setting U.S. tax policy are also tax cheats and he was only trying to fit in.
The Ethics Committee must also consider the corruption case of Maxine Waters of California, with time running out before the Republicans take over the House. Though no strangers to corruption themselves, they are said to dislike African Americans.
- Larry Margasak "Punishment phase for Rangel set for Thursday" Associated Press, November 17, 2010