Calls Grow for Rangel to Resign

Monday, 08 Dec 2008 01:23 PM

By Jim Meyers

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A Georgia congressman has added his voice to those calling for Rep. Charles Rangel to resign as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee as he is investigated for possible ethics violations.

Rep. Paul Broun said he hopes that mounting pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will convince her to force the New York Democrat out of his post.

Rangel has also been accused of paying below-market rents on four Manhattan apartments, including one that was illegally used as a campaign office. He failed to pay tens of thousands of tax dollars on rental income on a vacation home in the Dominican Republic, The Hill newspaper reported.

A House ethics panel is also investigating his failure to report the value of a condominium in Florida, and to report a privately sponsored trip on his House travel disclosure form.

“We’ve seen over and over again where Republicans and conservatives have been forced out of their office or have resigned when they’ve been involved in much less egregious types of errors than Mr. Rangel has,” Broun said in remarks reported by the onenewsnow.com Web site.

“So it’s time for him to resign his committee chairmanship — and frankly, I think he should resign from Congress.”

Broun added that when Pelosi was sworn in as speaker “she said we were going to have a new era of high ethics and integrity. Nothing has been further from the truth.”

The Washington Post and The New York Times have also called on Rangel to step down after new ethics charges more recently came to light.

The Times disclosed that Rangel helped preserve a valuable tax loophole for an oil and gas drilling company while the firm’s chief executive, Eugene Isenberg, was promising to donate $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at City College of New York.

On Feb. 12, 2007, the day the tax legislation was being considered in his committee, Rangel met in New York City with Isenberg to discuss his support for the school. Rangel then met with Isenberg’s lobbyist, who wanted to make certain Rangel would not close the loophole.

Another potentially embarrassing disclosure came Saturday when the Wall Street Journal reported that over two years Rangel paid $57,500 from a campaign account to a Web-design company that his son Steven ran from his Maryland home.

That was more than any other House member paid for Internet services during the same period.

If Pelosi does bow to demands and ask Rangel to give up his post, she would risk the wrath of the Congressional Black Caucus. Some members of the caucus were displeased when Pelosi forced indicted Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson, like Rangel an African-American, from the House Ways and Means Committee, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Jefferson lost his House seat to Republican Anh Cao on Saturday.

The following day, House Minority Leader John Boehner sought to link that result to Rangel in a memo from his Freedom Project political committee, National Journal reported.

Referring to Rangel, Boehner wrote that working families “deserve the confidence of knowing that the elected officials entrusted with the responsibility of crafting our nation’s economic policies in these challenging times are following the rules as well.”

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