Tuesday, November 16, 2010
IIRC, the house *also* found barney frank "guilty, guilty, guilty" all them years ago for the 'male prostitute' thing. being a democrat, you'll notice how that adversely affected his re-election(s) since then.
i'm telling you, gang - you could run *hitler* in a gerrymandered democrat district, and he'd win with 65% of the vote every time. it WOULD make for interesting campaign slogans, though: "mistakes were made! it won't happen again this time!!"
rangel will be with us until he pulls a bobby byrd. soon, hopefully. just think - then there'll be *4* new openings at the lenox arms!!
1) Minor point. Rangel's Harlem-centered District isn't gerrymandered. It's got reasonably compact borders and is nearly equally split among Hispanics, Blacks, and Whites. Harlem has had a Black Congressman since the dawn of time. Charlie's a capable guy, not a CBC hack.
2) Major point. Here are the charges that were upheld against Charlie: "use of congressional staff and stationery, as well as requirements to accurately report his assets and improperly using a rent-stabilized residential apartment as a campaign office."
These charges seem petty for a guy who ran Ways and Means for so long. They could also have been brought years ago. Why now?
Those are manifestly not the entirety of the charges. Like, for instance, directing would-be donors to give large sums of money to an entity named for Mr. Rangel, in lieu of contributions to his campaign funds (which are capped), or avoiding taxes on foreign assets.
I would also submit that using a rent-controlled residence as a campaign office amounts to reasonably serious subversion of public policy rather than a trivial matter; 1) if it's being used as a campaign headquarters, than means that a family isn't living there as intended, and 2) this amounts to a form of official financial support for the incumbent (who gets to pay reduced rates).
For some reason, all the mainstream media articles I've read on this play coy with the wording of the charges, simply saying '11 of 13' and then mentioning a couple of minor ones as somehow representative of the whole range.
Now we go to the sentencing phase. Please indicate what you think will happen to good ol Charlie.
1) Removed from his positions in the House and sent home in disgrace.
2) Removed from his positions in the House and left to stew.
3) Removed from one position in the House and censured.
4) Threatened with removal of positions, and censured.
6) Forced to be a commentator on MSNBC.
7) Spoken of unfavorably by President Obama.
8) Receipt of a post-it note saying “don’t do that again”.
9) One million dollars in campaign funds.
I'm not saying Charlie should get a "pass." But the timing of these charges has been curious to me. Also, as I understand it, he got a partial "not guilty" on soliciting donations for a CCNY facility to be named after himself.
Many Congresscritters have gotten into trouble over book sales. I'm hazy on the law and the details, but know that Obama pocketed a big royalty in the weeks after he resigned from the Senate but before his inauguration. It's good to be king.
Rahm Emanual rented from a BP lobbyist. If you wanted to bribe Senator Biden, you hired his kids. I'd bet a lot of DC real estate brokers and lawyers get hired because they're related to -- or sleeping with -- congresscritters or their inner circle.
Earmarks have been the coin of the realm. A congresscritter can be bribed with campaign donations, just so long as they get bribed often ... so there's a lot of "quids" and "quos."
Charlie was guilty of being sloppy.
Oh, well if it's really only the timing you're concerned about, I have a suggestion. The Dems brought this up in July to muzzle Rangel-related allegations of Congressional corruptions for the elections, and then resolved it during the lame duck period to get it off the table and let him off without consequence, before the out-for-blood Tea Party freshmen come in and make a scene.
As for why Rangel in particular was targeted, yeah, he was sloppy and for some reason some media latched onto him and wouldn't let go, so they had to have a show trial.
That's my cynical assessment, anyway.
His attitude was indignant and arrogant. The committee washed their hands of the matter with unusual efficiency. Had it been a Republican, we would have endured full press coverage for two weeks while every minor detail of the allegations were discussed on an atomic level.
The House will also do a quick wrist slap, a wink and a nod and move on.
After all, they have to get on with "the people's business".
I understand that Rangel is a reasonable guy and is effective in his position. I think less of him for his failure to take the high road on this one. He is acting like any other petty plutocrat.
Actually, I suspect it is no act.