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Charlie Rangel is in real trouble. The list of charges against him is long;  failed to pay taxes on his Dominican villa; accepted a corporate-paid junket to the Caribbean; failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets; and that he’s violated Congressional gift rules by renting four heavily subsidized apartments in NYC; used congressional resources to secure donations for City College’s Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service. Things look bleak for Charlie, and now his own party is distancing from him as if he has contracted a highly contagious, fatal illness. 

For example the NY Daily News has reported:

Sen. Chuck Schumer gave Rep. Charles Rangel the cold shoulder on Sunday as liberal Dems upped the pressure on the congressman to cut a deal on ethics charges.

In the first reaction from Team Schumer to committee moves against Rangel, a spokesman put out a standoffish statement: “The senator is going to give Cong. Rangel a chance to get his case out there before coming to any judgment.”

Maybe Schumer is not the best example, after all, he would drive down to Del Rey Beach to run over his own mother if it would get him one more vote. Politico is reporting that the party leadership is trying to get him to cut a deal, admit his wrong-doing and get the heck out of the way.
Increasingly impatient House Democratic leaders are prodding Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) to make a deal with the ethics committee before charges against him are unveiled on Thursday, top Democratic officials told POLITICO.

Fellow Democrats told POLITICO that they believe he’s dragging his feet in a futile effort at total vindication. Democrats worry that his stubbornness could add to their losses in November by helping Republicans, who have vowed to build a “culture of corruption” narrative using ads, mailings and talking points.

A senior Democratic aide said leaders will insist Rangel resolve the accusations before the August break. The leaders calculate that the political consequences could be grave if the matter drags out, and are considering going public with their demand if Rangel does not act on his own.

“Democrats don’t want to give Republicans an opportunity this summer,” the aide said. “Rangel is very well liked, but no one is willing to lose their seat or chairmanship over him.”

House Republicans have developed extensive plans for using the ethics charges to inflict pain on Democratic candidates, including targeting recipients of donations from Rangel, a prolific fundraiser.

The ethics committee is holding off publishing the charges against Rangel in a last chance attempt to get him to accept a deal. He can remain in Congress by accepting a previous offer from the ethics committee, which included an apology, the officials said.

Privately, colleagues say that since Rangel is unlikely regain the gavel as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the fight isn’t worth it — for him, or for them.

“This will be the third straight week Democrats are off message — the first two weeks courtesy of the White House, with [Robert] Gibbs’ comments and the [Shirley] Sherrod controversy,” the aide said.

“Leadership knows that this is not the way that vulnerable Democrats want to head into the August break. Look for Rangel to face increasing pressure for a quick resolution.”

At a Friday news conference in Harlem, Rangel vowed to stay in Congress: “I’m in the kitchen, and I’m not walking out.”

If Rangel truly believes he is innocent, he should get the opportunity to defend himself. 

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