GOP exercises discretion on Rangel

posted at 2:55 pm on July 27, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

With two House Democrats calling for Charlie Rangel’s resignation over ethics violations, the temptation to jump onto the bandwagon for Republicans must be strong.  Thursday, Rangel’s colleagues will hold a trial on the charges referred by the Ethics Committee and determine his fate.  Walt Minnick (D-ID) announced yesterday that he wants Rangel to quit immediately:

Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick thinks embattled New York Congressman Charlie Rangel should resign from the U.S. House, but Idaho’s other member of Congress won’t say.  Rep. Mike Simpson, who represents the eastern portion of the state, won’t comment on Rangel’s alleged misdeeds because it’s possible he could be called on to review the case.  Rangel is accused of, among other things, using his official letterhead to improperly raise funds for a private educational center named after himself at the City College of New York, as well as failure to declare large amounts of personal assets on House disclosure forms.

Minnick told IdahoReporter.com that initially he wanted the voters of Rangel’s New York district to decide his fate in November, but that he has since changed his mind and feels that Rangel should step down.  ”I think it was appropriate for Rep. Rangel to step down from his post as a committee chair pending the investigation, but I always prefer to let voters decide whether or not someone should keep his or her seat,” said Minnick.  ”However, now that the investigation is complete, and provided the facts are as alleged, I think it’s clear that he should resign from Congress.”

On Friday, Betty Sutton (D-OH) became the first Democrat to demand Rangel’s resignation:

In a statement to The Hill, Sutton stated, “It is regrettable, but Charlie Rangel needs to resign from his seat in Congress. This isn’t about being a Democrat or Republican, this is about preserving the public trust. Our nation is facing extraordinary challenges and we must be focused on building a sustainable economy that will allow our workers and businesses to flourish.”

Sutton has built a reputation as a crusader for congressional ethics. In 2008, she led the fight to pass legislation creating the Office of Congressional Ethics, which now serves as an independent ethics body within the House of Representatives.

In March, Sutton donated to charity the $7,000 given to her campaign by Rangel. Sutton, a GOP target this fall, was elected in 2006. President Barack Obama attracted 57 percent of the vote in her district in 2008.

Will the GOP add their voices to these calls?  The Hill says no:

Republicans are employing a don’t-get-in-the-way-of-your-enemies-when-they-are-destroying-themselves strategy, the same game plan Democrats employed as Republicans grappled with ethics scandals in 2006.

According to several leadership sources, top-ranking Republicans hope that the former Ways and Means Committee chairman fights charges of ethical wrongdoing.

“We want him fighting this tooth and nail. The more defiant he is, the better it is for us,” a GOP leadership aide told The Hill on Monday.

Another Republican leadership aide noted that Republicans can only sit back and watch as the “spectacle” unfolds on Thursday, when the ethics committee will detail its charges against Rangel.

In other words, the “spectacle” works for them in two ways.  First, it will force the media to cover the trial and start talking again about Rangel’s corruption — and his long reach in the Democratic caucus.  Second, it leaves the pressure on Democrats to clean their own house, without being able to complain about Republicans politicizing the process.

The decision will come soon enough for Republicans to use it as a theme for the midterm elections.  If they expel Rangel, they will link him to House leadership in a way that Democrats did with Mark Foley in 2006 — only this time, it will really be true, since Rangel has been a member of leadership for many years.  If the House ends up doing anything less than expulsion, Republicans will use that to show that Democrats lack the integrity to lead and will beat that drum loudly for the next three months.

Either way, Republicans have an issue they can use — as long as Rangel doesn’t quit.  Even if he does, the attack will still be effective, but may not get nearly as much media attention.  This strategic silence makes sense, as long as it isn’t permanent.

Update: Steny Hoyer tells Rangel, You’re on your own, pal:

The House’s second-ranking Democrat on Tuesday said Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) will decide on his own whether to resign his seat or go forward with Thursday’s ethics inquiry.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters he did not know what Rangel’s decision would be. The Ethics Committee on Thursday is scheduled to convene publicly to spell out its charges against the New York Democrat. …

Despite those calls, Hoyer indicated House leaders aren’t inclined to force Rangel’s hand — at least not overtly.

“Mr. Rangel has to do what Mr. Rangel believes is appropriate and proper,” Hoyer said.

Translation: Lovely to get to know you.  Too bad you had to leave so soon.


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Classic.

Akzed on July 27, 2010 at 3:00 PM

I was hoping he would bitch slap that Russert pup before he found out he is Tim’s son. Good on you Luke. Pops is proud.

borntoraisehogs on July 27, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Republicans are employing a don’t-get-in-the-way-of-your-enemies-when-they-are-destroying-themselves strategy

a good Sun-Tzu approach.+2

ted c on July 27, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Classic.

Akzed on July 27, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Awesome!

ted c on July 27, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Republicans are employing a don’t-get-in-the-way-of-your-enemies-when-they-are-destroying-themselves strategy,

I like that strategy, keep on truckin’

Translation: Lovely to get to know you. Too bad you had to leave so soon.

heh….see ya

cmsinaz on July 27, 2010 at 3:04 PM

I loved Bette Sutton in “Annie Get Your Gun”.

rickyricardo on July 27, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Classic.

Akzed on July 27, 2010 at 3:00 PM

excellent…Ed, this needs to be on the front page :)

cmsinaz on July 27, 2010 at 3:05 PM

wow. something weird just happened. Rush Limbaughs show just went overtime. he signed off at 3:03. weird.

ted c on July 27, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Boss gave me a new vintage bottle of one of our wines yesterday.

Saving it for the Rangel Retirement Announcement.

blatantblue on July 27, 2010 at 3:05 PM

I can’t wait for NY to be free of this limey bastid’.

DON’T LET THA DOH’ HIT YA’ WHERE HE SPLIT YA’

blatantblue on July 27, 2010 at 3:06 PM

This is a domestic dispute, brother against brother. If the GOP gets involved it will be brother and brother against the GOP. Just stay out of it, let the voters decide.

Skandia Recluse on July 27, 2010 at 3:06 PM

“Mr. Rangel has to do what Mr. Rangel believes is appropriate and proper,” Hoyer said.

What? Rangel has already showcased his version of “appropriate and proper”.

What a joke, this is the demorat leadership running scared of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group of mostly race-pimps who believe any black congressman is incapable of misdeeds.

Bishop on July 27, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Drudge has it up that Rangel and the ethics cmte are in last-minute negotiations.

30 pcs of silver on July 27, 2010 at 3:08 PM

I’ve seen a few news bites in the past 24 hours wherein Rangel is trolling the halls up on Capitol Hill trying to make a few deals so he won’t have to face a trial of his peers nor be forced to resign. Perhaps giving up his lucrative several positions on various committees and such, or maybe paying a fine of an undisclosed amount.

Must be terribly painful for him to have to go hat in hand amongst his peers, many of whom he disdains, trying to get a last-minute reprieve. /s

The best thing the GOP can do is what most are already doing. Not touching this Rangel thing with a 10-foot pole. [Or Czech, or German…]

One down….so many more to go.

coldwarrior on July 27, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Unless Rangel switches parties this little incident won’t amount to anything no matter what he does.

Jaynie59 on July 27, 2010 at 3:14 PM

“Mr. Rangel has to do what Mr. Rangel believes is appropriate and proper,” Hoyer said.

Yeah, ’cause the best person to put in charge of deciding punishment is always the defendant.

Ronnie on July 27, 2010 at 3:16 PM

All the GOP has to do is run against Pelosi with her saying “Drain the swamp!” and “most ethical congress evah!”

I hope Rangel is as much of an egomaniac as I think he is.

cartooner on July 27, 2010 at 3:17 PM

What about Rangel charging his private car lease to the taxpayers, is that illegal or some craptastic perk these royalty have given themselves? If not legal then Rangel should be ousted just for that.

Bishop on July 27, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Everyone acts like this hands-off by the GOP is by design. The GOP doesn’t know how to take advantage of any situation that would benefit them. The best one can hope for is that they don’t screw anything up too badly. (I’m looking at you Michael Steele.)

Rahm- never let a crisis go to waste
GOP- never take advantage of anything, no matter how it will benefit you but shoot yourself in the foot every chance you get

Monica on July 27, 2010 at 3:19 PM

How does Rangel get that hair?

blatantblue on July 27, 2010 at 3:19 PM

GOP- never take advantage of anything, no matter how it will benefit you but shoot yourself in the foot every chance you get

Monica on July 27, 2010 at 3:19 PM

make sure you have enough rounds to shoot the enemy AND yourself!

blatantblue on July 27, 2010 at 3:20 PM

On Friday, Betty Sutton (D-OH) became the first Democrat to demand Rangel’s resignation

I guess that makes Betty Sutton a racist, huh?

simkeith on July 27, 2010 at 3:22 PM

All I can say is that the end result had better not be that he skates.

Cylor on July 27, 2010 at 3:23 PM

The sad part, rangel is just the tip of the iceberg. Many, many more to go down. I wonder if dear charlie will spill the beans on others who are just as bad as he is? Getting the bus does have a way to stop the wheels if you have the goods on others! This might get good!
L

letget on July 27, 2010 at 3:29 PM

What a joke, this is the demorat leadership running scared of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group of mostly race-pimps who believe any black congressman is incapable of misdeeds.

Bishop on July 27, 2010 at 3:08 PM

With any luck, we’ll have a cage match between the ethics committee and the CBC. Could be tasty. Identity politics at it’s best.
I can’t wait for Clyburn’s comments.

a capella on July 27, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Well Charlie, you still have the Punta Cana condo, oops it is also hurricane season in the Caribbean!

bluemarlin on July 27, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Removing one turd from an open septic tank doesn’t really reduce the smell. The whole tank needs to be pumped.

Extrafishy on July 27, 2010 at 3:32 PM

I love it. BO’s cabinet is full of tax cheats and the dimwit that chairs the tax committee in congress is an uber tax cheat. Priceless.

David in ATL on July 27, 2010 at 3:33 PM

How does Rangel get that hair?

blatantblue on July 27, 2010 at 3:19 PM

According to wikipedia, his father is Puerto Rican. I’ve wondered about it myself.

AubieJon on July 27, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Rangle to the ethics committee:

“Why don’t you mind your own damned business?!

DrAllecon on July 27, 2010 at 3:34 PM

I noticed that even Kirsten Powers took a swipe at him the other night. Said he was the stereotype of arrogance in politicians who had been in office too long.

a capella on July 27, 2010 at 3:41 PM

As Terrell Owens would say, “Better get your popcorn ready!”

Ward Cleaver on July 27, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Everyone acts like this hands-off by the GOP is by design. The GOP doesn’t know how to take advantage of any situation that would benefit them. The best one can hope for is that they don’t screw anything up too badly. (I’m looking at you Michael Steele.)

Maybe most of the House Republicans are letting Rangel self-destruct in front of Democrats who don’t want Rangel’s ethics problems hung around their own necks, but the Republicans on the Ethics Committee should go after Rangel with every means allowed by the House ethics laws.

Steve Z on July 27, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Rangel’s behavior speaks for itself. Agree with the GOP leadership. Let it take it’s course.

jeanie on July 27, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Wash DC, 0300, 7/28/10
American Freeish Press
[...]
After a recent closed-door meeting with House Ethics Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA16), an aide to Mr. Rangel indicated that he was very disappointed in the manner in which his accountant handled this matter, and that two staffers would be let go.

Mrs. Lofgren seemed satisfied with the tenor of the meeting and after facetiously scolding Mr. Rangel by I-Phone, she explained to the gathered media, “It was unfortunate that the HEC was forced to look into such garrulous charges.” She also indicated that Mr. Rangel showed appropriate remorse for choosing the Accounting Firm of former Rep. William Jefferson, Cold Storage Accounting LLP (CSA). The two staffers being let go referred CSA to Mr. Rangel.

Congressman Rangel, of the often GOP racially-targeted Harlem district of New York City, is vacationing in the Dominican Republic and could not be reached for comment.
[...]
With great anticipation among the Democratic leadership, it is expected that Mr. Rangel will triumphantly return to his position of Chairman for the House Way and Means Committee in time to help deal with the fiscal issues left over from the Bush presidency.
[...]

BKeyser on July 27, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Rangel has to resign by Thursday, for the sake of his House Democratic colleagues and to save his own skin. If he resigns, he is no longer a member, the House has no more jurisdiction, there is no hearing, no trial, the file is sealed and it all goes away.
`
`
Beginning Thursday, though, the evidence will come out, tainting all the Democrats with the stench of his corruption – and making it very hard for even Holder’s DOJ to ignore, which they would have had everything stayed under wraps.
`
`
Since the William Jefferson case, a corner has been apparently turned on Capitol Hill, and black Members of Congress are no longer free to steal as they please. John Conyers, watch your back – and be careful what you say on the phone!

Adjoran on July 27, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Yes, I agree… he’s doing a great job of imploding if I do say…. and I do….

CynicalOptimist on July 27, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Classic.

Akzed on July 27, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Truly a fat cat politician. Disgusting.

Dominion on July 27, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Just read some where that ethics committee lawyers were considering a settlement? Is that old news? I forgot to check date where I read it and can’t recall where I actually did read it. Link on here to the Hill?

jeanie on July 27, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Charlie is now a joke, and he serves us better by retaining his seat. No matter what he is found ‘guilty’ of, he will be reelected. His seat is never going to be competitive.

I’m a little uneasy though about the timing. The democratics could be trying to get this out of the way to make room for their October surprise. You know they are desperately looking for one or several. The details will be trivial, but their friends in the old media will portray it as usual as ‘see, everyone does it’.

slickwillie2001 on July 27, 2010 at 4:43 PM

These long time pols just think they’re entitled to bend or break the rules simply because they are ‘them’. Once upon a time they would not have gotten caught, but that was then. Now if they breathe wrong someone knows before they’ve exhaled. The thing is will the other not-yet-caught guilty parties do anything about it.

jeanie on July 27, 2010 at 4:53 PM

He still has a couple of days to stash some cash in a freezer somewhere.

docflash on July 27, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Please, House GOP, do not allow ANY DEAL with Rangel to not admit wrong doing!!!

If you just let him go, then Nancy can claim he did nothing wrong.

barnone on July 27, 2010 at 5:54 PM

I’m waiting for the MFM mime that picking on Charlie is RACIST!

But I’m not holding my breath!

GarandFan on July 27, 2010 at 6:27 PM

The Republican nominee in 2012 should add to their platform “tax audit for everyone in Congress, staffs, and administration.”

slickwillie2001 on July 27, 2010 at 6:43 PM