Drain The Swamp Watch

Will he stay or will he go? Charlie Rangel is the gift that keeps on giving . . . to the GOP.

Dems keep distance from Rangel

Several Democrats facing competitive elections began distancing themselves Tuesday from embattled New York Rep. Charles Rangel as a potentially damaging hearing on whether he violated House ethics rules drew near.

As Rangel’s lawyers tried to negotiate a settlement to avoid a public ethics trial — set to begin Thursday — Democrats attempted to shift focus away from vulnerable lawmakers under pressure from GOP challengers over the Rangel controversy.

“I think everyone would like to have it go away in the sense that this is not a pleasant process,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Hoyer was peppered with questions about Rangel at a news conference designed to detail the party’s message for the upcoming recess period in August.

An ethics subcommittee charged Rangel, a Democrat, with unspecified violations July 22 after an 18-month investigation into his fundraising, taxes and financial disclosure statements. The charges will be unveiled at the hearing — the first step in a process unfolding before the midterm elections.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., chairwoman of the House ethics committee, denied that lawmakers were working on a plea deal with Rangel to avoid a trial. She told the Associated Press that Rangel’s lawyers are negotiating with the committee’s non-partisan staff.

If the negotiations result in an agreement, the committee could vote to accept it at the meeting this week.

See also:
House Panel Charges Rangel With Ethics Violations
Panel hits N.Y.’s Rangel with ethics violations
Jim Traficant’s trying times of 2002 could be repeated for Rep. Charles Rangel
Rangel seeks plea agreement to avoid ethics trial
Rangel in a sleaze squeeze
Rangel Settlement Talks Continue
Rangel Scrambling to Make Deal on Ethics Charges
Dean: Ethics Charges Could Get Rangel ‘Thrown Out of Congress’
Rangel Maintains Innocence; Admits Controversy Has Taken Its Toll
Rangel: More Alleged Violations, Still Optimistic
Charles B. Rangel
Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.)
Charles B. Rangel
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct
United States House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct

Remember when Nancy Pelosi vowed to drain the swamp and run the most ethical Congress ever? Well, how’s that working out? Apparently the swamp doesn’t want to be drained. Fight on Charlie, fight on!

/big, huge bonus for Republicans if there’s a public Charlie Rangel ethics trail in the House this Fall, going into the midterm elections

The Swamp Is Still Full

Remember this?

Pelosi Says She Would Drain GOP ‘Swamp’

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is thinking 100 hours, time enough, she says, to begin to “drain the swamp” after more than a decade of Republican rule.

It’s four years later, how’s that “most honest, ethical Congress” working out?

Pelosi’s Choice: Rangel or the Swamp

Draining swamps is not so popular today. It’s bad ecology.

We could understand Nancy Pelosi’s defense of Charlie Rangel this way. It’s an issue of conservation. I’ve heard those San Francisco liberals love the environment. Forget promises to “drain the swamp” during the 2006 campaign. She wants to conserve her ally’s job.

Don’t get Pelosi wrong. Surely, if a powerful House member “has proven himself to be ethically unfit” we know “the burden” indeed “falls upon” his party to oust him. In such a case, party leaders would obviously ask: “Do they want to remove the ethical cloud that hangs over the Capitol?”

So Pelosi explained in October 2004. The subject was Tom DeLay. The House ethics committee had admonished the Republican majority leader. DeLay used the Federal Aviation Administration to track Democratic state rivals. He hosted a fundraiser with energy lobbyists while energy legislation was under consideration.

Pelosi argued: “We must stop the influence of special interests so that the people know that we are here for the people’s interests.”

After all, this is why we have institutions like the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service. Except, that is, for the namesake and the center. An oil drilling company (special interest) made a $1 million donation to Rangel’s center. The quid pro quo, allegedly, included legislative favors. The matter, like so much of Rangel’s world, is under investigation.

Rangel has one of the powerful jobs in government. The New York Democrat is chairman of the House Ways and Means committee. The committee has jurisdiction over all taxation. And that’s the rub. Rangel has a problem paying all his taxes.

The chairman failed to report more than a half million dollars in income. He later amended his financial disclosure forms. Perhaps it was a senior moment. The public servant simply forgot about his New Jersey real estate and a quarter million dollar account.

But perhaps he’s just corrupt. There are other investigations. Possibly still more absent taxes, this time regarding rental income and a Dominican villa. There’s the four rent-stabilized Harlem apartments used by Rangel, reportedly, well below market value. House lawmakers cannot accept gifts worth more than $50.

Rangel’s cloud grew still larger on Thursday. The House ethics committee ruled that Rangel violated Congressional rules by accepting Caribbean junkets.

Thank goodness for Pelosi’s past stands. Back in October 2004, the ethics committee had not yet acted on DeLay’s links to a more serious money laundering investigation. But Pelosi saw that as no excuse. The cloud was big enough. Action had to be taken on behalf of the “people’s interests.”

Certainly, Pelosi is not foolish enough to not apply a Democratic double standard. Well, you know how this story goes. In Washington, the cynics are rarely proven wrong.

Some Democratic lawmakers are calling for Rangel to step down. But not the House leader. She says slow down. Don’t jump to those conclusions. She told reporters Friday, “There’s obviously more to come and we’ll see what happens with that.”

INVESTIGATION INTO OFFICIALLY CONNECTED TRAVEL OF HOUSE
MEMBERS TO ATTEND THE CARIB NEWS FOUNDATION MULTI-NATIONAL
BUSINESS CONFERENCES IN 2007 AND 2008.

Volume 1 of the Report
Volume 2 of the Report
Volume 3 of the Report 

Statement of the Chair and Ranking Republican Member Regarding Its Report in the Matter of the Carib News Foundation Multi-National Business Conferences in 2007 and 2008

The Report further finds that Representative Charles B. Rangel violated the House gift rule by accepting payment or reimbursement for travel to the 2007 and 2008 conferences.

See also:
House Ethics Committee admonishes Rep. Rangel, D-N.Y.
Ethics Panel Says Rangel Had Info on Caribbean Trips
Ethics panel: Rangel was sent memos on trips
Panel Admonishes Rangel for Taking Trips as Gifts
Rangel won’t step aside after ethics slap
Rangel Unrepentant After Ethics Violation
More ethics problems for Rangel
Tax King Charlie’s crown is slipping
The Rangel swamp
Rangel fills political swamp faster than Pelosi can drain it
Pelosi Confronts Racial, Power Issues in Rangel Ethics Dilemma
Pelosi says Rangel didn’t break rules
Pelosi defends Rangel, again
Pelosi sticks with Rangel, notes ethics committee ‘did not take action’
Pelosi Focuses on Positive in Rangel Report
President Barack Obama abandons Rep. Charles Rangel against ethics charges
Charlie Rangel Ethics Violation RULING! *** Pelosi in a Jam *** “Shoe on the Other Foot”

And so, four years later, it appears the swamp is still filled to the brim, if not overflowing with Democrat corruption.

/someone needs to find Pelosi a bigger drain