Remember that promise made by Nancy Pelosi? “This will be the most ethical congress ever.” There are many examples of how that was an empty promise, the latest of which is her support of Charlie Rangel.
Despite all the evidence that Rangel should be taking a “perp walk” rather than the position of Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Pelosi says she is waiting for the House Ethics Committee to complete its wide-ranging investigation before she makes a decision about Rangel.
Others are Not waiting. Today the left wing newspaper, The Washington Post repeated its call for Rangel to get out:
Much is expected of elected officials. Much more is expected and demanded of those entrusted with chairmanships and the power that comes with them, especially when it involves the nation’s purse strings. From all that we’ve seen thus far, Mr. Rangel has violated that trust continually and seemingly without care.
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Word is that Republicans are planning to force votes in Congress that will make vulnerable Democrats facing tight races to side with or against Rangel.Votes for will make good campaign fodder in 2010.
Today in a major move, the House Minority Leader, released a letter to the public calling on Rangel to resign:
Boehner Asks Rangel to Relinquish Gavel
By Jackie Kucinich
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Friday asked Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) — the embattled chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — to relinquish his gavel until the ethics panel completes its investigation into irregularities in Rangel’s personal finances.
Boehner’s request comes a week after reports that Rangel failed to disclose $600,000 in assets as well as tens of thousands of dollars in income on his 2007 financial disclosures.
In a letter to Rangel, Boehner said although he considered Rangel a friend, he felt it was necessary for the chairman to step aside as a sign of respect to the institution while the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct investigation is in progress.
“As chairman of the powerful House committee, entrusted with the responsibility of writing the tax laws that affect every law-abiding American citizen, you, along with the Speaker and other leaders of the majority party, have an obligation to help set the pace when it comes to standards of official conduct,” Boehner wrote. “By relinquishing the gavel voluntarily while the Ethics panel does its work, you would demonstrate your respect for this obligation.”
A spokesman for Rangel could not be reached for comment, but the New York Democrat has previously said Republican attempts to remove him were simply political ploys.
The ethics committee is investigating four specific allegations against Rangel, including his lease of multiple rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, N.Y., his use of a House parking spot for long-term vehicle storage, and his failure to report or pay taxes on rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.
Rangel has since paid back taxes on that income.
Rangel has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and requested the ethics committee probe into his finances.
On Wednesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called on Rangel to release his tax returns and said he should be removed from his post if he refused to comply.
This is not the first time Republicans have called on Rangel to step down as chairman. In February, the House voted down a Republican-backed resolution that would have stripped Rangel of his gavel until the ethics committee finished the probe.