Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Unrepentant (and inexplicable) -- Charlie Rangel's new best friend, RON PAUL ?!?

Charlie Rangel retains Ways and Means gavel

JONATHAN ALLEN | 10/7/09 2:45 PM EDT

Democrats easily rebuffed another Republican attempt to remove Rep. Charles Rangel from his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday. But there was a small sign of eroding support for the embattled New York Democrat: Mississippi’s two House Democrats voted against him.

Reps. Gene Taylor and Travis Childers joined nearly all of the Republicans on a vote that effectively killed a resolution by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) calling for Rangel’s removal while the ethics committee undertakes a sprawling investigation into his finances.

The anti-Rangel votes from two southern Democrats may be seen as minor evidence of mounting pressure on Rangel, whose job remains secure so long as he has the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the large majority of the Democratic Caucus.

“These votes show that support for the Democratic Leaders’ decision to sweep this matter under the rug is starting to crack,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Six Republicans sided with Rangel on Wednesday: Reps. Peter King of New York, Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, Dana Rohrabacher of California, Walter Jones of North Carolina, Don Young of Alaska and Ron Paul of Texas.

A similar effort by Carter in February garnered no Democratic support.

Democrats’ parliamentary maneuvering ensured there would be no debate on the resolution, but Republicans clearly believe that forcing Democrats to defend Rangel with a roll call vote is good politics.

“We cannot tolerate a double standard in this country, one for the common man and another for the rich and powerful,” Carter said Wednesday. “To allow Mr. Rangel to continue to serve as chairman of the very committee with IRS oversight, without paying a nickel in penalties, and with no end in sight to his ethics investigation, sends a clear message to the American public that this government refuses to abide by the same laws they impose on the working people of this country. With this vote, those people can see exactly where their representative stands on the issue of equality under the law.”

Rangel balked at an effort to have the House supersede the ethics process.

"It's unfair," Rangel said Wednesday morning. "I think the ethics committee should get a chance to work its will."

Congressional ethics investigations are notoriously opaque and can often take months to complete, which is why Republicans are frustrated with the Rangel situation. But the chairman continues to have the full backing of Democratic leaders.

“We will await that [ethics] report,” Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland said Wednesday. “Prior to that, any actions making reference to Chairman Rangel would be premature.”

The committee has its hands full, as new revelations about Rangel’s complicated finances seem to pop up every few months.

Most recently, Rangel restated his legally required personal financial disclosure, showing an asset range that jumped from roughly $500,000 to $1.3 million to $1 million to $2.5 million.

That was the latest in a string of incidents that have shined the spotlight on the Rangel’s personal and political conduct. He has admitted to failing to report income from a Dominican vacation home, and he has been accused of breaking New York City rules by maintaining multiple rent-controlled apartments, including a campaign office.

He also has come under fire for allegations that he used official letterhead to solicit private funding for a City College of New York Center created by an earmark and named for him and that he helped retain a tax break for a donor to the center. The New York Post reported Wednesday morning that Rangel secured a $3 million earmark in the House’s Defense Appropriations bill for another arm of CCNY.

Rangel, known for camera-ready bonhomie, may be less visible to television audiences these days. But he has been meeting regularly with Democratic leaders and various party factions to help fashion a health care overhaul. After a recent meeting of the Democratic whip team, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said Rangel “is here to know what the members are thinking.”

Regardless of what they’re thinking, their votes say it’s not time for Rangel to step aside.

Rangel’s office believes the ethics push is also a Republican effort to derail health care.

“Let’s look at this resolution for what it really is – a highly partisan effort designed to undermine the important work in Congress on health care reform,” a Rangel spokesman said after the vote.

Technically, the House voted on Wednesday to refer Carter’s resolution to the ethics committee, which already is investigating Rangel and would essentially take the referral under advisement. The final tally was 246 to 153, with 19 lawmakers voting present. That vote came on the heels of another procedural vote on which Rangel prevailed 243 to 156, with 19 present votes.

On the first vote, Childers sided with Rangel. His spokeswoman did not immediately return POLITICO’s request for comment.

Asked before the vote whether Rangel would see an erosion of support, Taylor said “I guess we’ll know in a few hours, won’t we?”

Carter made a bit of a spectacle on the floor, taking about 18 minutes to read a resolution with a seemingly limitless supply of “whereas” clauses. When Democrats objected to forcing the clerk to re-read the entire thing, Republicans refused to consent to dispensing with the reading. In all, the affair took about an hour.


Brock Townsend said...

He and Walter Jones, so it's a Libertarian point that escapes me for the moment.

ScottJ said...

I'm sure Ron had some esoteric point of Constitutional purity driving his vote but I see it as a classic example of making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Anonymous said...

No pigs flying outside my window yet (I looked).
I've met Ron Paul, and I'm willing to bet that if he voted that way, it was because the procedure was wrong, not because he's "Charlie Rangel's new best friend."
More info needed on this one.

Anonymous said...

I would want to read that motion first - he votes for things that, if you read their name, you'd think he'd be for, until you read the actual text of it.

Anonymous said...

For all those concerned about the RP vote:

He didn't want the it to go into "committee hell".

Anonymous said...

"Mississippi’s two House Democrats voted against him."

Heh. Hehhehheh. Visions of Civil War slaves dancing in my head.

B Woodman

Anonymous said...

Also from what I gathered as it shocked me as well, is that he wanted it to be refered to the ethics committee or soemthing to that effect.

Threeper in PHX.

DC Wright said...

I would need to see what RP had to say about WHY he would vote this way. I KNOW he's anti-corruption as well as anti-big government, so it may have been something about bypassing proper due process that turned him off the resolution.

jon said...

the simple fact that this is inexplicable on its face should give you an idea of how convoluted leviathan has become.

yes, there will surely be some "esoteric," "libertarian" point. "due process," for example. if he's so guilty, then you'll have to remind me what the harm is in that.

of course if the system will protect him by failing to catch him, why stand behind that, then? might as well wave flags for both roe v. wade and heller, then, since they slipped through on the same principle. who needs rules when you can just get your way?

silly me, i thought we were trying to reverse that process.

Anonymous said...

The last time I checked Mississippi has three House Democrats.

Anonymous said...

Copied from pdf of the resolution (after 4 pages of "Whereas"):
"Resolved, that upon adoption of this resolution and pending completion of the investigation into his affairs by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, Representative Rangel is hereby removed as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means."

Don't know if this is RP's reason, but this appears premature since it mentions "pending completion of the investigation."

Happy D said...

Sometimes you either oppose corruption or you don't. On this one Ron was Wrong. I Just hope it was for the right reasons.
Still wish he was my rep. But not so strongly today.

Jesse M. said...

That does not make sense but it does reinforce my idea that we MUST replace the entire government before they replace our country...time to fire them all!

Anonymous said...

It appears to be standing against a popular lynching, deferring to the rule of law (or in this case, the ethics committee).
If so, this is the type of principle-based action we need more of from our congress critters, not less.

Anonymous said...

If Sebastian "Snowflake" is no good because he is a pragmatist, and Ron Paul is no better because he is a purist, what remains to us?

When a great nation begins to collapse economically and retreat militarily, it is important to recognize who can safely be trusted to honor constitutional principles.

The sheeple will realize soon enough that lights from "The City on a Hill" are growing dim and they will demand a restoration of America's lost glory.

The totalitarian temptation will then loom large.

It is essential that principled men such as Ron Paul be honored and respected so as to provide a bulwark to the coming fascist/populist backlash.

Let's end the blue-on-blue fire, shall we? We desperately need men like Ron Paul.