Jim Kouri
Rep. Rangel charged with ethics violations
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By Jim Kouri
July 24, 2010

After dragging its feet for almost two years, a House investigative committee yesterday charged New York Congressman Charles B. Rangel with multiple ethics violations. Rep. Rangel had already been removed as the House Ways and Means Committee chairman.

The investigating panel did not announce the exact charges against the long-time Democrat lawmaker, who has served in the House of Representatives for more than 40 years.

The panel of four congressmen selected from the House ethics committee sent the case to a House trial, where an eight-member panel of Republicans and Democrats will decide whether the violations can be proved.

Rangel replied to the news in a press statement: "I was notified today, two years after I requested an investigation, that the Ethics Committee will refer the allegations reviewed by an investigations subcommittee to a subcommittee that will review the facts. I am pleased that, at long last, sunshine will pierce the cloud of serious allegations that have been raised against me in the media."

In March 2010, Rep. Rangel, the top Democrat responsible for tax laws in the U.S. Congress, was found "guilty" of accepting Caribbean junkets from a private corporation, an act that violates the House of Representatives' ethics rules.

However, most of the mainstream media organizations were slow to carry the news stories of Rangel's reign of corruption and even slower to investigate the allegations that seem to point to a career built on crime, corruption and political posturing.

On the same day in March 2010 that the House Ethics Committee ruled that Rangel's actions were improper, he was attending a meeting with President Barack Obama and lawmakers from both parties at a health care summit.

While other members of the Congressional Black Caucus were under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for similar lobbyist-paid trips in 2007 and 2008, all were exonerated by the panel, according to a source on Capitol Hill.

"Rangel is not the kind of person to give up easily. He's been a congressman representing a district in New York that includes Harlem and Washington Heights for 30 years and he possesses a reputation as a fighter," said political strategist Mike Baker.

Others were less kind in their remarks. For instance, a former New York City police detective claims Rangel was a Democrat Party hack in the Big Apple, who "carried the bags for the boys downtown."

"As a young detective, I had to straighten out Charlie [Rangel] while he was working as a defense attorney and ran errands for some of New York's more despicable characters," said former NYPD detective Sid Frances, now owner of a Harlem-based security firm.

Ironically, Rangel achieved his chairmanship when he and other Democrats took control of the House in 2006 after using campaign slogans and talking-points that characterized Republicans as denizens of a "culture of corruption."

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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