Today, one of the most corrupt members of Congress finally stepped down, albeit “temporarily,” from being chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
He is Charles Rangel, a 20-term Democratic congressman from New York. First elected in 1970, Rangel is among the longest-serving African-American members of Congress, ranking in seniority just behind another corrupt Congressman, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich).
As reported by ABCNews,
Ethics investigators are looking into his use of his official position to raise money for a New York college center to be named after him and his belated disclosure of at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets and his use of rent-controlled apartments in New York.
Republicans had been calling for Rangel to step aside since last year, and these demands multiplied after the House ethics panel last Friday released a report accusing him of violating House gift rules in connection with a series of trips he took to the Caribbean. The panel said that he had violated standards of conduct by accepting 2007 and 2008 trips to Caribbean conferences that were financed by corporations. It said it could not prove whether Rangel knew of the corporate payments but concluded that members of his staff knew about them — and the congressman was responsible for their actions.
Rangel’s decision cheered Democrats who feared political fallout affecting their own futures, but did little to satisfy Republicans who had been seeking a formal vote bringing about his temporary removal from the chairmanship.
Rangel stepping down from the Ways and Means Committee should be only the first step in restoring justice and respectability to Congress — a sorry institution that has the confidence of only 10% of Americans, according to the latest polls. Now it’s up to the voters of New York’s 15th District to throw this thief out this November! And if they reëlect him, hopefully November will vote in enough Republicans for an ethics hearing on this rat.