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Rapping Rangel

It's unseemly when members of Congress throw their staffs under the bus when they get into trouble. That Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is the latest offender is no surprise. But the embattled chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee might be justified -- in this instance.

Carib News Foundation hosted Rangel and four other members of the Congressional Black Caucus at seminars in Antigua, Barbuda and St. Maarten in 2007 and 2008. The trips were cleared by the House Ethics Committee. But now the committee says it was given misleading information by the foundation about the corporate sponsorship of the trips, which would have put the kibosh on congressional participation. Yet Rangel was the only one of the five members to be admonished by the ethics committee. Even though it found no proof that he knew, Rangel is being held responsible because two of his staffers knew about the corporate sponsorships.

“Common sense dictates that members of Congress should not be held responsible for what could be the wrongdoing or mistakes or errors of staff unless there is reason to believe the members knew or should have known,” Rangel said yesterday.

I don't know about "common sense," but Mr. Chairman makes a good point, especially when he got the green light from the ethics committee. "Why would I [have regrets] if it was approved by the ethics committee? Why?" Yeah, why?

But this admonition might be the calm before the storm. The ethics committee has a roster of allegations against Rangel. There's the use of official stationary to solicit funds for a school of public policy named after him, the rent-controlled apartments and the revised financial disclosure forms that potentially double his net worth. Among other things, those forms revealed not one, but two checking accounts with up to $500,000 in them. I don't know about you, but I'd be very mindful of having that much coin in checking. I can't wait to hear Rangel's explanation. There doesn't seem to be anyone to throw under the bus for that one.

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 26, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Posted by: DANSHANTEAL1 | February 26, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The whole world can see the slime and pond scum all over Rangel, yet Pelosi is somehow having difficulty locating the swamp, much less draining it.
He, and now she, are national embarrasments. Behavior like this and the lack of accountability (not even a chairmanship stripped) are why we don't trust congress and can't rely on it leaders.

Posted by: SayWhat4 | February 26, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

How was the poor, naive Charlie Rangel supposed to know that trips to the Caribbean were funded by huge corporations?

He's only been in office for forty years.

He apparently hasn't had time to figure out the rules or hire competent staff to do that for him.

Posted by: spamsux1 | February 26, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The article about Congressman Rangel has once again brought forth commentary from those who know the least about the investigation and the circumstances surrounding it.

The fact that the Ethics Committee published a finding that appears to suggest that Mr. Rangel is guilty of an infraction of the Rules/Ethics committes - is not an indictment. Mr. Rangel still has the same rights as any other citizen.

The only reason this is a story at this juncture stems from the inordinate curiosity of the media. The media are the ones who need to fill endless hours of air time with the incessant babble of talking heads and subject matter experts.

If Congressman Rangel is guilty of any crime, first let it be proven in a court of law. After a finding by the court there should be a story either focusing on his guilt or, announcing his exoneration.

Until then everyone including those who have formed an opinion based on hate and ignorance should refrain from commenting.

Posted by: | February 26, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Give Mr. Reingold a break you haters! If he is innocent of one of the accusations than he must be innocent of all the accusations. The media is piling on. It is not up to them to report on probable wrong doings of our elected officials. Ask Richard Nixon.

Posted by: bobilly2 | February 26, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Piling on Nixon? Oh, that's right, he was innocent. Rangle needs to go.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 26, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

bobilly2 - who is Mr Reingold? Do you mean Rangel, the us rep that doesn't pay his taxes and takes money on the side? Should we give Reingold a break but it's ok to come down on Rangel?

You might just be a product of government union operated schools. You know, one of those that has really bad reading scores.

Posted by: bandmom22 | February 26, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Rangles misdeeds are small potatoes to the erased and lost emails of the Bush Administration

Posted by: Fei_Hu | February 26, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Rangel's corruption is not news to New Yorkers.

However, the corruption of three quarters of the Senate and at least half the Congress is also not new.

WaPo needs to explain why it at first published and then removed from the web an article titled, "Senators Release Their Income Tax Returns."

We have long needed two special prosecutors: one to investigate the Congress, the other to investigate the media.

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | February 26, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Senior folks are responsible for the acts of their subordinates, that what leadership and management are all about. Charlie has a long list of problems on his head, including too many rent-controlled apartments and not enough on his tax returns.

Posted by: pioneer1 | February 26, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Rangel is a first class gangster and if treated like a normal civil servant or any other normal person would be in jail today for income tax evasion and lose his job. What a joke throwing his staff under the bus for taking junkets. Who is going to throw under the bus for the tax problems Turbo Tax. Oh yeah he cannot use that one because Turbo Tax Tim has that excuse locked up.

Posted by: FormerNewYorkerNo9 | February 26, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

This POS is still forgiven for his mis-deeds because Democrats never have morals. Never run on moral issues, don't see the problem when they are caught. It's why the MSM makes such a big deal when a republican is caught doing anything slightly immoral. Saul Alinsky rule, hold your opponent to their own rules. If you break their rules, who cares!

Posted by: elcigaro1 | February 26, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

give me a fracking break. et tu Capehart?

Rangel is a scumbag. Pelosi is a liar. What more evidence do you need that the democraps are one slim dog butt whisker of difference between them and the rethuglicons (ok, the repugnants are worse, that's true).

The parties exist to enrich themselves and their cronies, to be re-elected, to obtain ever more privileges, powers, riches and entitlements -- feeding like pigs from the public trough while following the commands of their corporate masters. Meanwhile we pay for their lifelong cadillac health care & retirement plans among other things.

They don't even have the most minimal decency to pretend to be ashamed.

Both parties are corrupt, full of sleazy hypocrites and liars, Rangel among the most prominent in the democraps stable of thieves.

They all deserve to be ousted, probably including Obama & definitely the right wingnuts of the Supreme Court.

If we need to start from scratch, start with the elections.

What we have is NOT working for regular people -- this is just more proof of that fact.

to hell with them all.

You worry me that you are so tepid in your appraisal of this criminal known as Charlie Rangel.


Posted by: demsRwimps | February 26, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

There is something to be said for term limits and quitting while you are ahead. That is even more important when honesty and integrity are only words for self defence. Mr Rangell has been soiled, seemingly by himself. He needs to leave before he is thrown out. Adam Clayton Powell also ended up focusing too much on himself. This seems to happen to so many good people eventually. They believe their own bull feathers.

Posted by: Draesop | February 26, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I do hope the Democrats keep Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)exactly where he is currently at. He has my enthusiastic endorsement.

Needless to say, the coming November elections seem to be getting better by the week. Is there any chance of getting Van Jones back into the White House at this point?

Posted by: pgould1 | February 27, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Blaming a staffer is the lowest of the low. A Member of Congress is ultimately responsible for his own actions...and the actions of his staff. Travel is not free. If a member of staff didn't tell him how it was being paid for, then Mr. Rangel should have asked. If there was even a hint of doubt, ask again until you get the correct answer. Part of the social contract is that we give our public officials much authority and privileges, but that also comes with an expectation of a much higer standard of conduct. Mr. Rangel has repeatedly shown that he wants all the goodies but none of the responsibilities that come with his office or committee chairmanship.

Posted by: rkmjrm1 | February 27, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Like so many in Congress Mr. Rangel came in poor and will leave a millionaire. His story told by Charlie tells of his poor youth, his time through colleg on the GI bill, his JD by schlorship, and his virtually unpaid time as a lawyer. Then began his time as a "public servant", who we all know are poorly paid. Then his long-term "job" as Harlem's own Congressman. Now his is worth between $2M and $6M and wears $1000 suits. Yep, he's honest or he has the same investment advisor as Hilary Clinton had for the famous $1000 to $100,000 in just 6 weeks. Yep, he's honest like so many of the others, Democratic and Republican. The only reason they are there is the money for power, Congressional perks, and their egos.

Posted by: staterighter | February 27, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi, Rangel, Reid, Frank, Dodd, Boxer etc etc - all POSTER CHILDREN for TERM LIMITS. Their arrogance has grown each year that they have remained in office. Time for REAL CHANGE - kick them to the curb in November or as soon as possible. Elect some people who will represent US and not just their own selfish interests.

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | February 28, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Question: Why are the Editors at the Washington Post, down playing the retirement of Rep John Linder, (R-Ga)?

The story was all over the Net yesterday, but stuck in a very small column of the Post.

Is this the Washington Post or the Washington Times?

We will see the reaction of the Post if a Democrat announce their Retirement after 20 years...

Posted by: austininc4 | February 28, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

If Charlie was a white scoundrel no one would mind. After all we have hundreds of them in Congress.
Charlie should have known that we do not like black guys showing it off.
Charlie, a Korean War Vet, has never had a bad day since being elected to Congress.
He drove the NYTimes crazy, how dare he.

Posted by: cperrym | March 1, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

"throw their staff under the bus??"

How about "holding them accountable?"

Have you looked at "CONGRESS'S" rating lately? stinks...21% that is because we are fed up with how they do not hold members ..."accountable"

Now I ask you sir...are you part of the


It is a disgrace when a member of Congress let's their own members commit crimes like they do and then just give them a slap on the wrist...

Just a few months ago....

Eric Holder let the 3 "Black Panthers" go with just a slap on the wrist....

This has got to ....."STOP"

It would seem that when it comes to "BLACKS" .....people are afraid of someone screaming...."racist" if they are punished for their crimes......

I say it is time for that to ...STOP.

Do you realize that "racist" can go both ways ??? it is not just for blacks....

Well, I GUESS we need a "White Caucus"

In any is time "Charlie Rangel"

paid the piper.



Posted by: paulann1 | March 1, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

What's all the fuss about rent-controlled apartments? Sure, if they were sold to buyers who could get them out from under rent-control they would be valued twice as much, but to his credit, Rep. Rangel keeps them under rent control because he knows some of his constituents couldn't afford competitive rates and would be kicked out of their homes. Rangel has been reelected so many times strictly because he cares about people in his district. That's what democracy is all about.

Posted by: loyalsyst | March 3, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that I'm more upset about Newt Gingrich's deliberately overdrawing his account at the House Bank than Rep. Rangel's maintenance of two $500,000 checking accounts. Think of the service he is providing to the banks he has the money in. I happen to own some rental real estate and I also find it cheaper to pay expenses by check than to charge to some high-interest credit cards. It is also simpler to maintain a separate checking account in which to receive rents and pay expenses than to comingle money with other personal professional expenses. Remember, congressmen have to maintain two residences also.

Mr. Capehart is either trying to indict by implication or is his displaying his ignorance - maybe both.

Posted by: loyalsyst | March 3, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

And finally, I bought a house and a condo over 30 years ago at market price. They cost me a total of $75,000 out of pocket. They are now valued at well over a million. Does that make me or Charlie Rangel (or Warren Buffett) sleaze-bags?

Posted by: loyalsyst | March 3, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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