Did Nancy Pelosi predict a quick end to the House Ethics probe into Charlie Rangel’s tax problems? If so, her predictions are worse than the ones I make for the New York NFL teams on Sundays. The committee has voted to broaden their investigation into Rangel to include a massive donation to a favorite Rangel pork recipient in exchange for assistance on a tax bill:
The House ethics committee is expanding an investigation of Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. The ethics panel issued a statement Tuesday saying it had voted to expand an already far-ranging probe into the New York Democrat to examine whether he protected an oil drilling company from a big tax bill when the head of that company pledged a $1 million donation to a college center named after the congressman.
The move means the Rangel inquiry will likely stretch well past early January, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had previously said she expected the matter to be resolved. ….
The committee will now investigate contributions or pledges of money made to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York, particularly one made by Eugene M. Isenberg, CEO of Nabors Industries, Ltd.
Rangel, 78, reportedly helped preserve a tax loophole that saved the company tens of millions of dollars a year.
The congressman, who has been in office for 40 years, maintains he has done nothing improper, and he says he has always opposed the kind of change to tax law that would have cost Nabors dearly.
Really, Charlie? Because it sounds like the kind of loophole that Barack Obama promised to close in order to raise the money he needs for his populist agenda. It sounds like the kind of corporate dodge you claimed that the Bush administration favored. But as long as the money flows to the Monument to Me, funded generously by your pork, Congressman Rangel, it appears you see nothing wrong with it.
Republicans want Rangel to resign his chair on Ways and Means while the Ethics Committee does its work. Until today, though, the committee had shown no particular reason to believe it would take any action at all against the powerful New Yorker. The expansion of the probe sends an ominous signal to both Rangel and Pelosi that they may not be able to avoid it.