So much for draining the swamp. Several sources report that the House will not try Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) until after the November 2 elections. Rangel won the Democratic primary for his seat yesterday, barely achieving 50% of the vote against five challengers. During his House floor speech on August 10 when he was not attacking NLPC, Rangel pleaded for an expedited hearing on the 13 charges leveled against him by the Ethics Committee. This followed months of maneuvering by Rangel to delay the investigation.
Earlier this year when Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer were asked about the high profile ethics cases against Rangel and others, they claimed that the probes were evidence of the Democrats’ commitment to ethics. If the cases of Rangel and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) are put off to spare the Democrats political damage just before the election, this claim will be proven to be insincere.
It would seem incumbent on the Republicans to call Pelosi and Hoyer on this, but the Republicans on the Ethics Committee have proven remarkably timid even with all the GOP bluster about ethics. A scandal bigger than anything Rangel has been accused of, in the form of the PMA “pay to play” scheme was unanimously swept under the rug.
Rangel held a “victory” party last night but his career actually ended on March 3 when he stepped down from his Chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. Rangel can fight on because he is paying his lawyers with campaign funds gathered while he is still Chairman.
Last night, on the stage beside the 80 year-old Rangel was the 91 year-old Robert Morgenthau, the former Manhattan District Attorney who reportedly was the matchmaker between Rangel and Nabors Industries CEO Eugene Isenberg. One of the charges against Rangel is that he preserved a lucrative tax break for Nabors at the same time Isenberg made a million dollar pledge for the so-called Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York.
The New York Times reported on August 24 that Morganthau at the time was a shareholder in Nabors, although Morgenthau refuses to disclose details of his holdings or related transactions. I guess that when you reach a certain stage in life, you don’t care about appearances.
Timeline of Charles Rangel Ethics Scandal
Flaherty: Rangel Had to Know of Junket’s Corporate Sponsorship (Fox News Channel video)
Flaherty: Rangel Dirty Even After Coming Clean (CNN/Anderson Cooper video)
Flaherty: Rangel is ‘Serial Offender’ (CNN/Anderson Cooper video)