Why Rangel isn’t interested in cutting a deal

posted at 1:55 pm on July 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, the political world waited to see whether Rep. Charlie Rangel would cut a deal to rescue himself from possible expulsion from the House.  Today, we find out why Rangel isn’t terribly worried.  Despite having 13 separate charges of ethics violations, the most the Ethics Committee is prepared to recommend is … a harshly-worded memo:

A House investigator says the panel handling Rep. Charlie Rangel’s ethics case has recommended a reprimand by the full House — but that decision could be months away.

Rep. Gene Green, who’s on the subcommittee that investigated the New York Democrat, says that’s the recommended penalty for the 20-term New York Democrat. Rangel is facing 13 charges of wrongdoing.

Gee, with that Sword of Damocles hanging over his head, small wonder Rangel opted to defend himself.  If the House is only prepared to impose the lightest possible penalty for his transgressions, why not go ahead with the trial?  Rangel needs to give his constituents a sense that he isn’t a crook, if only to stave off a primary challenge from the son of the man Rangel beat decades ago to take the seat, Adam Clayton Powell.

A reprimand carries no consequences.  A censure doesn’t either, except for the perception that it’s a stronger reprimand; Barney Frank got censured in 1990 for using his influence to fix parking tickets for his partner, but he still became chair of the House Financial Services committee.  However, a Representative who gets censured has to stand in the well of the House to have the language read aloud, which at least causes momentary embarrassment.  A fine would carry more sting, but an impeachment or expulsion would send a clear message about following the rules.

Just to remind readers, these were the charges brought against Rangel:

The charges against Rangel include allegations that he sought donations from companies such as New York Life Insurance Co., American International Group Inc., and private foundations related to such businesses as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., to help fund construction of an academic facility carrying his name. He obtained $8 million in donations for the Charles Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York. …

Rangel, 80, is accused of improperly using the official House stationary letterhead to send more than 100 solicitation letters to potential donors that were prepared by his staff during their workday. Enclosed was a 20-page “glossy brochure” that requested a $30 million donation over five years or $6 million a year, according to the 40-page charging document released by the ethics committee.

While Rangel referred himself to the Ethics Committee, expecting to rid himself of the rumors of corruption dogging him on Capitol Hill, he became a lot less cooperative when it became clear that the committee took its job seriously:

Rangel referred his own case to the ethics committee two years ago, saying he expected to be vindicated.

The investigating subcommittee said Rangel “refused repeated requests” for documents, requiring the panel to issue a subpoena.

And yet the maximum penalty recommended by the committee for corruption and obstruction is … a finger wag.

And politicians wonder why people hold Congress in contempt.  We don’t need to ask why Rangel holds it in contempt after this.

Update: Jazz Shaw reminds us that expulsion will be the only way Rangel’s likely to leave Congress.

Update II: Yes, this would mean that Rangel would get the exact same punishment that Joe Wilson got for exclaiming, “You lie!” during Obama’s speech to Congress last fall.


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Ya,Political Hari-Kari!!

canopfor on July 30, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Is this picture from a HotAir staff meeting?

faraway on July 30, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Well, that makes sense. Old Charlie might be momentarily embarassed but there is no other consequence.
No wonder Congress is a swamp.

ORconservative on July 30, 2010 at 2:00 PM

So Rangel would receive equal or lighter “punishment” than Joe Wilson?

VibrioCocci on July 30, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Charlie knows he is dealing with incompetent cowards and he is not scared a bit. Make em prove it Charlie. Guys with fixer-upper Mercedes-Benzs in relative’s garages all around the world are wishing you well.

borntoraisehogs on July 30, 2010 at 2:02 PM

faraway on July 30, 2010 at 1:58 PM

No, AP would be naked and he wouldn’t be getting his hand slapped. :P

VibrioCocci on July 30, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Zing!

lorien1973 on July 30, 2010 at 2:02 PM

WASHINGTON – A House investigator says the panel handling Rep. Charlie Rangel’s ethics case has recommended a reprimand by the full House — but that decision could be months away.
================

A real nasty terse letter for you,,and you better
not do it again,or by gawd,you’ll get a really really
nasty pissed off letter!!
————————-

Kim Jong II and Hans Blix -Team America

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSXNJMP8ir4

canopfor on July 30, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Oops, content warning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on July 30, 2010 at 2:04 PM

So Rangel would receive equal or lighter “punishment” than Joe Wilson?

VibrioCocci on July 30, 2010 at 2:00 PM

This.

cthulhu on July 30, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Smarter than a box of hammers?

BobMbx on July 30, 2010 at 2:05 PM

A bunch of crooks passing judgement on a crook.

kingsjester on July 30, 2010 at 2:06 PM

unfreakingbelievable….

no wonder all the grandstanding and ‘lynching’…he won’t get squat, the folks will re-elect and everything will be hunky dorey once again

cmsinaz on July 30, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Smarter than a box of hammers?

BobMbx on July 30, 2010 at 2:05 PM

…or a botox of something, or other…

Schadenfreude on July 30, 2010 at 2:07 PM

but an impeachment or expulsion would send a clear message about following the rules.

rules schmules according to this committee…

cmsinaz on July 30, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Rangel: Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Now let’s have a big Bronx cheer for the House Ethics Committee!

Steve Z on July 30, 2010 at 2:09 PM

And politicians wonder why people hold Congress in contempt. We don’t need to ask why Rangel holds it in contempt after this.

Culture of corruption.
Drain the swamp.
Most ethical Congress ever.
Hammer it, Republicans. Hammer it now and every day until November. Go around the MSM any way you can via internet and alternate media. Hold Rangel up by the collar and say: Look, here’s your most ethical Congress ever. Is this the change you hoped for? Screw up your courage or pour it from a bottle, whatever…just try to be something other than the sniveling, craven cowards we know you to be. Take your stones out of the closet and see if they still fit. You might actually like the feel of a pair in your own body instead of some Democrat’s pair resting on your chin.

Extrafishy on July 30, 2010 at 2:09 PM

the msm will love it if this comes to fruition…will hail him a hero…and dear leader will give a shout out to the ethics committee for doing their job

*gag*

cmsinaz on July 30, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Oh yeah – please God … let this be true!

The absolute best response for us is for the Dems to give this fool a slap on the wrist!

HondaV65 on July 30, 2010 at 2:11 PM

If you’re going to reference the Sword of Damocles this is the one you should be linking to.

Moe as Charlie, Sophisticated dame as Nancy?

SaintGeorgeGentile on July 30, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Culture of corruption.
Drain the swamp.
Most ethical Congress ever.
Hammer it, Republicans. Hammer it now and every day until November. Go around the MSM any way you can via internet and alternate media. Hold Rangel up by the collar and say: Look, here’s your most ethical Congress ever. Is this the change you hoped for? Screw up your courage or pour it from a bottle, whatever…just try to be something other than the sniveling, craven cowards we know you to be. Take your stones out of the closet and see if they still fit. You might actually like the feel of a pair in your own body instead of some Democrat’s pair resting on your chin.

Extrafishy on July 30, 2010 at 2:09 PM

WOOO HOOO!!! You Go!!

NJ Red on July 30, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Lemme get this straight …

Rangel referred his own case to the ethics committee two years ago, saying he expected to be vindicated.
The investigating subcommittee said Rangel “refused repeated requests” for documents, requiring the panel to issue a subpoena.

And now, THIS ??
http://tinyurl.com/2fvuldq

pambi on July 30, 2010 at 2:12 PM

or a botox of something, or other…

Schadenfreude on July 30, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Fatter than the hams on Boxer?

BobMbx on July 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Yes, this would mean that Rangel would get the exact same punishment that Joe Wilson got for exclaiming, “You lie!” during Obama’s speech to Congress last fall.

‘you lie’ vs. 13 charges of corruption…

lady justices’ scales not balancing…

cmsinaz on July 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Rangel knows how Congress works. Felonies are inconveniences to be excused or ignored, treason is just part of the regular “business” day.

Rangel will exit the House the same way Zombie Exalted Cyclops Byrd did. Until then he’ll enjoy the same life of privilege, self-indulgence and freedom from reality accorded the the other 534 members of his club.

MrScribbler on July 30, 2010 at 2:15 PM

So they’ve already decided there will be zero punishment for any of this?

That’s great. I haven’t felt this good about Congress since the last time they crammed through a rotten bill in defiance of the will of the people.

forest on July 30, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Can we please get one thing straight?

Rangel did NOT refer his case to the ethics committee ” expecting to rid himself of the rumors of corruption dogging him on Capitol Hill”.

He, like others, used the Ethics Committee as cover so he could refuse to answer any questions: “I can’t comment on a pending investigation”. That bought him two years.

jeanneb on July 30, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Are you telling me the 5 Republicans on this committee agree to this?Holy crap!

sandee on July 30, 2010 at 2:20 PM

There is one sure way to expel Rangel from office, but I don’t trust my fellow “Americans” will do so.

Derb is right.

Aquateen Hungerforce on July 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Another thing. Tax evasion is a felony. Just ask James Brown,if he weren’t dead.Or Wesley Snipes. He served/is serving jail time.

sandee on July 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Charlie called their bluff. Basically, he gave them 2 options – either a reprimand or he’ll take them all down with him in a messy ethics trial right before midterms.

KickandSwimMom on July 30, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Extrafishy on July 30, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Poetry. Sheer poetry.

CurtZHP on July 30, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Another thing. Tax evasion is a felony. Just ask James Brown,if he weren’t dead.Or Wesley Snipes. He served/is serving jail time.

sandee on July 30, 2010

Yes, but he evaded taxes in the pursuance of his Congressional duties…um, er…well, something like that. We’ll get back to you with the details and legalese. Suffice to say he can’t be prosecuted. Now, shut up.

Extrafishy on July 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM

I admit out front that I’m a pseudo-troll. Only pseudo because I post the following thought to ponder but ask others not to comment on it since it would derail from the topic at hand; political scandals should clearly demonstrate one thing to unbelievers:

We live in a fallen world where self-deceptive sinful men convince themselves that they are doing good.

shick on July 30, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Why were some Democrats, a few anyway, asking for Rangle to resign? Oh, I just answered my own question. They are in iffy districts and realized nothing would come of the threat because of this very thing.

sandee on July 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

It’ll all come out in the whitewash.

Lily on July 30, 2010 at 2:33 PM

It’ll all come out in the whitewash.
Racist!

sandee on July 30, 2010 at 2:35 PM

This worthless piece of absolute rotton stinking fetid garbage deserves a firing squad, preceding his corpse being tossed in the sewer.

He STOLE from the taxpayers.

Millions of hardworking people get their wages confiscated and THIS is what they get?

Charles Rangel has done nothing but steal from the taxpayers during his entire career.

On second thought, a firing squad would be too quick. True justice would require something far more painful and humiliating for this parasite.

NoDonkey on July 30, 2010 at 2:38 PM

I wonder if the Ethics Committee results would be different in January… or February, or October of 2012…

ExpressoBold on July 30, 2010 at 2:42 PM

unfreakingbelievable….

no wonder all the grandstanding and ‘lynching’…he won’t get squat, the folks will re-elect and everything will be hunky dorey once again

cmsinaz on July 30, 2010 at 2:07 PM

cmsinaz:Like the Journolists,Rangel is probably a hero to
the Left!!:)

canopfor on July 30, 2010 at 2:48 PM

How are the charges against Rangel less than what James Traficant was charged with?

BTW, I believe Traficant was framed.

listens2glenn on July 30, 2010 at 2:53 PM

It’ll all come out in the whitewash.

Lily on July 30, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Heh, heh, heh.

Extrafishy on July 30, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Is this picture from a HotAir staff meeting?

LOL!

Mutnodjmet on July 30, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Unless it comes to the floor in the NEXT congress, when the GOP will likely be the Majority.

What sentence do you think Rangel would get if the GOP controlled the House? I couldn’t figure out why Pelosi is doing this right before the Nov elections. She and Rangle thought that they would be in control in 2011. Now that she might not, hurry up and sweep under the rug.

barnone on July 30, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Nevermind in-house punishment, that’s a variation of slaps on the wrist. Will the IRS audit Charlie? Has any enterprising journalist asked them?

slickwillie2001 on July 30, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Are all of the members of the ethics committee in safe districts? It looks to me like not a one of them should be re-elected.

snaggletoothie on July 30, 2010 at 3:34 PM

JIM TRAFICANT is all you have to remember. House expulsion AND seven years hard time.

Get the wrist slap Charlie, oh please get it. We want to run against scum like you.

Mr. Grump on July 30, 2010 at 3:34 PM

What an absolute joke!

GFW on July 30, 2010 at 3:36 PM

In the private sector, not only would you be fired, but charges would be filed with the D.A. who would live to see you burn for such a ripoff, and a jury would agree, just SICK!

Bobnormal on July 30, 2010 at 3:48 PM

This would also kill off Powell’s primary challenge, since complaining about Charlie’s wrist-slap would mean Powell running against the House Democratic leadership, which would be suicidal.

Ward Cleaver on July 30, 2010 at 3:49 PM

canopfor on July 30, 2010 at 2:48 PM

for sure

cmsinaz on July 30, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Make a note: when we storm the Capitol, hang the Ethics Committees first, and leave them twisting in the wind along the Potomac as a warning to others.

Adjoran on July 30, 2010 at 4:05 PM

He will be back running his committee in no time.

docflash on July 30, 2010 at 4:09 PM

That’s it. This calls for – oh, the horror! – the COMFY CHAIR!

ss396 on July 30, 2010 at 4:27 PM

He is a democrat…the rules only apply to republicans.

JIMV on July 30, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Any US Citizen would be facing 15 years for these 13 serious violations. The ethical unethical swamp cleaning congress might scold him?

katablog.com on July 30, 2010 at 6:18 PM