A tug of war has erupted over a battered Charles Rangel with Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other.
Republicans, seeking to use Democrats’ corruption rallying cry against them, have called for Rangel’s removal, citing ethical lapses. However, in an interview with Politico.com, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has no intention of forcing Rangel out: “Whatever the leaders on their side say, he is very well-respected by members on both sides.”
Rangel’s troubles began when stories surfaced about him living in multiple affordable-housing apartments in New York, as reported in The New York Times and in a Sept. 9 Newsmax article. More allegations swirled around his fundraising efforts for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College in New York, the Politico report states.
To add to his miseries, last week Rangel failed to declare $75,000 in rental income from a Dominican Republic vacation home.
In a letter to Pelosi, quoted by Reuters, Republican leaders, including House Minority Leader John Boehner, wrote, “Given Chairman Rangel’s continuing ethical lapses, he cannot effectively carry out his duties as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.”
Despite Pelosi’s defense of Rangel, an anonymous House Democrat source suggested to Politico that Rangel might be offered up if Republicans forced out Reps. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and Don Young, R-Alaska. Lewis was investigated over ties to a Republican lobbyist, and Young has been connected to Jack Abramoff. Neither Lewis nor Young has been charged.
For his part, Rangel has asked the ethics committee to investigate the charges against him, and he has agreed to discuss the “tax error,” through his attorney, according to the Reuters report. He also has defended his right to use the apartments in New York.
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