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Posted at 3:03 PM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Charlie Rangel still on defense

By Jonathan Capehart

Throughout the sad spectacle that was Charlie Rangel's showdown with the House Ethics Committee, I have been unsparing in my criticism of the Harlem representative. But when his office called to take issue with my post yesterday, specifically to make the case that the ousted chairman of Ways and Means, who became the first member of the House to be censured in 27 years, did, indeed, offer to settle, I thought it only fair to give him the chance to make it publicly. Here's the letter:

Rep. Charles B. Rangel has admitted to making mistakes in violating House rules. He recognizes they are serious violations. But after a two-year investigation, the Ethics Committee found no evidence of corruption, or personal financial gain. House precedents clearly show that Rep. Rangel's misconduct does not warrant a censure.

Even Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who chaired the Investigatory Subcommittee, told reporters July 30 that the panel had recommended a reprimand for Rep. Rangel.

Moreover, as revealed by Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren on the House floor yesterday, there was a settlement offer negotiated by the Committee's non-partisan Chief Counsel. The offer included a sanction of reprimand - not censure. Rep. Rangel signed the agreement, but for reasons that remain unknown it was rejected.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Rangel is engaging in an ongoing campaign to defend his name and his honor. The first part of the letter is all about that. But what he raises in the last paragraph -- that he did, indeed, sign an agreement with the sanction of reprimand, NOT censure -- is noteworthy. The Ethics Committee had no comment on this. But this much is known. While the chief counsel, who said in the hearings that he didn't think Rangel was corrupt, has the authority to negotiate such agreements, they are subject to approval by the Ethics Committee. Rangel might have a legitimate beef.

By Jonathan Capehart  | December 3, 2010; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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When you try to cop a plea and all of the principals are not on the same page, the plea bargin gets rejected.

Rangel's arrogance was his downfall.

Shame on him.

Posted by: Crmudgeon | December 3, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

So, why isn't Rangel going to be criminally charged with tax evasion? Seems to me that if your a politician the rules don't apply to you--just to the rest of us slobs.

Posted by: jadevito | December 3, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Is Rangel telling the truth? Who knows? We do know that he wasn't telling the truth when he signed his financial disclosures over the past 11 years.

It's a shame that Rangel feels incapable of shame. If he had any, he'd have resigned instead of running for re-election. Still, this is a fitting epitaph for "the most ethical Congress ever."

Posted by: PaulinNJ | December 3, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

jadevito asks "So, why isn't Rangel going to be criminally charged with tax evasion?"

Rangel filed his taxes, but failed to report some elements of his income, namely a rental property in the Dominican Republic. He was caught and now has to pay. If he fails to pay, he'll go to jail.

You'd get the same chance to pay before facing criminal charges. But you wouldn't have an ethics committee investigation, because you're not in Congress. Relax.

Posted by: adenotriphosphate | December 3, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan poor fellow: You are always twisting, turning, squirming, hoping to find somebody to blame, some whitey maybe, someone who will tell you Charlie Rangel is not a crook, is not corrupt to the gills, does not play by different rules we do. It has to be somebody's fault...the Jews maybe, or the Chinese...It can't be his fault.

He can't be corrupt and contemptible. Look he was reelected with a huge majority and would Harlem voters elect a man who was a criminal? Does Charlie Danials play a mean fiddle?

Why are you so protective of Rangel? Could it be racism? Or do you not pay taxes in addition to regularly inciting race and class warfare.and .so are feeling the heat too?

Posted by: wjc1va | December 3, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but if you're smart enough to be a member of congress, you should be smart enough to obey tax laws, avoid using government personnel to solicit donations for a school with a library named after you, and pay your taxes.

He lied on a financial disclosure form to congress as well.

Congress should be setting the example of moral behavior, not using their office for personal gain.

He would be ashamed if he hadn't been jaded by his office long ago.

Posted by: postfan1 | December 3, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

From Wesley Snipes: "I would love to be censured, now can somebody get this dude off of me?"

Posted by: madstamina | December 4, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Tax evasion did enrich him, personally. Since he helped write the laws on taxation, he cannot argue he didn't know he was in violation. He has been arrogant and criminal. He never should have been re-elected, and he never should be allowed to sit in any legislative body. Those who continue to support him are equally arrogant.

Posted by: sailhardy | December 4, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Jonathan Capehart:

Throughout the sad spectacle that was Charlie Rangel's showdown with the House Ethics Committee, I have been unsparing in my criticism of the Harlem representative.


Not true. You've given him every benefit of the doubt.

Rangel used his office for personal gain. Period.

This is the very definition of corruption.

Posted by: Benson | December 4, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Just because you try to cop a plea with the prosecutor, doesn't mean the judge has to sign off on it; it happens all the time.

Rangel got lucky it's just a meaningless censure. Yes, it's insulting to him but what's the penalty besides being slightly humiliated? You name is added to 25 others that few people ever remember?

A real punishment would for censure to include losing all your senority and not being allowed on any committee that deals with the action for which you were censured. Can't be done retroactively but should be part of all future censure decisions.
The lesser repremand should include not being on any committee dealing with the subject or area for which you were repremanded but not the loss of senority.

Posted by: MadiganT | December 4, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart; all,

to Mr. Capehart: the TRUTH is that Charlie Rangel is a CRIMINAL, who deserves to go to the federal pen (as i would have had i done exactly the same things that he DID.) - WHEN are you going to stop making excuses for the DIMocRATS & start "being straight with" your readers?

to all: the DIMocRATS & the "journalists" of the washington COMpost constantly make excuses for the DISHONESTY, ARROGANT ignorance & "general all-around lack of morals" of the DIMocRATS congressional delegation.

otoh, if even one person who is a Republican is even accused of minor wrongdoing, the "main-SLIME press" goes into full, howling, attack mode & regardless of the FACTS, they "convict the accused before trial".

fwiw, DIMocRATS make most decent/regular/honorable people GAG; that's why the DIMs are about to become a permanent minority party in 2012 & in the elections to follow.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | December 4, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

What a pack of lies. Why doesn't the Post call him on the claim that none of his activities personally benefited him? What does avoiding paying your taxes do other than result in a personal benefit? Or getting a special deal on apartments? How is that not a personal benefit?

Of course it was for personal benefit and of course it was corrupt. The spin alone demonstrates the arrogance and refusal to understand the nature of the crime.

If the Post really cared about exposing the truth they would destroy this spin and lay bare everyone on Rangel's staff that tells these lies.

Posted by: scott80 | December 5, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Rangels gets off easy because he's black.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | December 5, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Rangels gets off easy because he's black.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | December 5, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Jmacaco4; all,

frankly, i don't think that this situation has anything to do with "Charlie, THE CROOK" being of any particuliar skin-tone. instead, it has EVERYTHING to do with Rangel being a DIMocRAT.

THE TRUTH is that Rangel is NOT going to be treated in the same way (going to the federal penitentiery!) as "regular citizens" solely because he is "one of the rulers" & the rules, that apply to ordinary people, do NOT apply to "congress-critters", "the smart set", "our betters" and/or ANY other DIMocRAT office-holder. ====> that's WHY i'm one of the MILLIONS of angry TEA PARTIERS & WHY the DIMocRATS party is now ONLY the party of "the ruling class", knowing/shameless liars, bigots/antisemites, SELF-important nitwits, LEFTIST lunatics & all too many just plain common criminals.

to ALL: IF you are as disgusted with THE MESS, that BHO & the DIMocRATS party have made of our republic, as our members are come join the TEA PARTY in your local county & help us return our nation to CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES!

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | December 6, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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