Of course Carter’s bill doesn’t have a chance. Democrats undoubtedly see it as a joke. But the Rangel case is very, very serious.

If you don’t think so, just look at this, from the front page of the Oct. 28, 2008 Washington Post: “Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, one of Congress’s most powerful Republicans, was convicted yesterday of lying on financial disclosure forms to conceal his receipt of about $250,000 in gifts and expensive renovations to his house. …”

Stevens’ conviction was later thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct, but the message was clear: This is the kind of thing you can go to jail for.

Rangel appears to have hidden greater sums of money than Stevens allegedly did. Democratic leaders don’t want to face it now, but it’s just a matter of time before they’re forced to admit they have a serious Rangel problem.