Rangel's and Waters's ethics trials a racial hot potato for Dems

The question of whether black lawmakers are now being singled out for scrutiny has been simmering throughout the 111th Congress, with the Office of Congressional Ethics a focal point of the concerns. At one point earlier this year, all eight lawmakers under formal investigation by the House ethics committee, including Rangel and Waters, were black Democrats. All those investigations originated with the OCE, which can make recommendations — but take no final actions — on such cases.

There’s a “dual standard, one for most members and one for African-Americans,” said one member of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaking on condition of anonymity…

Another black lawmaker, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) — a close Rangel confidant — has been caught up in an ongoing Justice Department criminal probe involving some of Queens’s most powerful politicians. Meeks has denied any wrongdoing, and, like Rangel, blamed his problems on the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group.

And Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) has come under Justice Department investigation over his role in the Rod Blagojevich scandal.