You got to love Charlie Rangel, the Democratic Congressman from New York. After 2 and a half years of Congressional ethics hearings and conviction on 11 of the 13 charges brought against him, he still thinks he should keep his seat and apparently his fellow Congressmen agree with him. The committee has recommended that he be censured not expelled. According to the AP, “A censure resolution would require a vote by the House disapproving Rangel’s conduct and the speaker would orally administer an embarrassing rebuke to the 20 term Democrat in front of his colleagues.” Holy Crap that’s bad! Charlie will have to listen while Nancy Pelosi lectures him on his poor choices and conduct unbecoming a Congressman. I can imagine it will go something like this.”You’ve been a very bad boy Charlie, now go back to your seat and try not to do it again.”
So, after 2 and a half years of investigation we will get 2 and half minutes of rebuke. Only in Congress could this much foolishness ever pass as business as usual. And here’s the best part, he just got re-elected for the 21st time with 80% of the vote. If this doesn’t rate as the greatest con job of all time, I don’t know what does. I mean it’s not like he was stealing paper clips from the office, he failed to pay taxes on rental income for 17 years. The last time I checked that was considered a crime punishable by a fine and/or jail time. A smart prosecutor might even be able to pin wire fraud and conspiracy charges on him but Congress slaps his hand. That ought to do it. Heck, I got in more trouble for asking permission to smoke cigarettes when I was in the 2nd grade.
But hey, let’s cut Charlie some slack, after all he is 80 years old, “I don’t know how much longer I have to live,” he said and then asked the committee members “to see your way clear to say, ‘This member was not corrupt’. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat called his colleague, “a good and decent man.” Setting the bar kind of low there aren’t we, John? And since censure seems a bit too harsh for good men like Charlie, Representative G.K. Butterfield a North Carolina Democrat asked for a reprimand not a censure, which would spare him the public embarrassment of a full-blown rebuke. Can they at least make him stand in the corner for 5 minutes?
All of this made me wonder what it takes to get thrown out of Congress. I stumbled upon this little fact while searching the Congressional Ethics website. In the entire history of the House of Representatives, five Members have been expelled. Of the five Members, three of them were expelled for conduct traitorous to the Union in the Civil War era. I guess that means Charlie Rangel isn’t that bad after all and Congressmen on the whole are pretty honest. I feel a lot better knowing that we are all safe and good men like Rangel are up there in Washington taking care of business. Of course they take care of their own first but I’m sure we get whatever’s left , aren’t you?
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