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Chairman Rangel's Intent

I wonder what Senator Trent Lott (R- MS, Former Senate Majority Leader) thinks of Representative Charlie Rangel's (D-NY, Chairman House Ways and Means Committee) problems? There is no dearth of irony in the comparing the low watermarks of both politician's careers, although there is a significant difference in the law if one is compelled to make the comparison.

Lott, the former Senate Majority Leader, was forced to resign his leadership position for making some ill considered and, according to his critics, racially insensitive remarks at a birthday party honoring the late Senator Strom Thurmond.

Lott was subjected to a media firestorm as moral highbrows like Al Gore demanded censure if Lott didn't apologize. Lott explained at length that his comments were not racist but the Congressional Black Caucus was unmoved:

" the Congressional Black Caucus, which has called for the Senate to censure Lott, issued a statement saying its position "has not changed with his statement today."

"It is offensive and morally reprehensible that a public official with such a record would be permitted by his party to serve as majority leader of the United States Senate," the CBC statement said.

Trent Lott resigned because he made a stupid comment at the birthday party of a former segregationist, which segregationist (Thurmond) finished a (long) career as a distinguished champion of minority rights. Trent Lott resigned his Majority Leader position in disgrace and experienced a political shunning that we conservatives should all remember. Trent Lott was denied his seniority position in the Senate because of a poor choice of words at Strom Thurmond's birthday party, a choice of words that sent the liberal Left into high dudgeon.

Fast forward six years and consider the circumstances of Charles Rangel, chairman of the most powerful committee on Capitol Hill.

Rangel, it bears noting, is no stranger to offensive racial jokes (I think he was joking). Speaking of President George W Bush he said:

"Well," Rangel said. "I really think that he shatters the myth of white supremacy once and for all; it shows that, in this great country, anybody can become president."

Never mind that Rangel gets a pass on that comment by both his party and the media elite because, in the game of Modern Political Racial Monopoly that consumes the attention and better judgment of the legacy media, the congressman holds a permanent Get Out of Jail Trouble Free card.

However, Congressman Rangel now finds himself in a problem far graver than an apparent gaffe at a former segregationist's birthday party. Why is it grave? Because the consequences extend well beyond the purview of the liberal elites that have covered his rear in the past.

Congressman Rangel is now suspected of:

"accusations on multiple fronts related to his rent-controlled apartments in New York, underreported rental income from property in the Dominican Republic and a tax exemption he helped preserve."

Serious accusations all but the real story here is that Rangel considers himself (according to proxies talking to The Hill) exempt from prosecution because of his intent:

"A close associate of Rangel said, "So long as Rangel believes he did nothing intentionally wrong or unethical -- and he doesn't [believe he did], nor do any of his close associates -- he will never, never voluntarily step aside from his chairmanship."

Ousting Rangel would be extremely difficult, House aides and lawmakers say.

"Everybody loves Charles Rangel. He gets along with people. He's a dealmaker," according to a former House Democratic staffer.

Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) said, "Charlie Rangel is one of the most approachable members of Congress, has a great personality and is in love with his job."

A plethora of tax lawyers may be willing and able to argue Mr. Rangel's intent, but color me a skeptic when I wonder how a Ways and Means Committee Chairman uses the concept of "intent" to defend a charge of not reporting income.

For that matter, why doesn't the Chairman of Ways and Means agree to have his/her tax returns completed by the IRS? That's a Sarbanes Oxley sort of solution isn't it? Make Congress eat its own cooking.

The unspoken truth is that if Charlie Rangel was a white, conservative Republican his Democrat colleagues and the usual suspects in the media would not be satisfied with his resignation from Ways and Means, nor his apology. They would demand his prosecution for alleged felonies.

Where is the New Pelosi Congress when it counts?


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Comments (13)

Hey, I'm sure Peolsi, she o... (Below threshold)

Hey, I'm sure Peolsi, she of the most ethical, honest and transparent Congress, evah! May take a little time, what with the economy and all. Might want to get back to her on this one. Say about 20 years. Yeah, that'll work.

Another good one, Hugh. Al... (Below threshold)

Another good one, Hugh. All I can add is "atta boy".

It was his intent not to <i... (Below threshold)

It was his intent not to get caught!

And what, exactly, was his ... (Below threshold)

And what, exactly, was his intent? He intended to pay his taxes and just never got around to it? He originally tried to blame it on his wife saying she handled his taxes.

"But, he's so likable!"

Is it so surprising that Rangel (or any of our congress critters) would operate on the very fringes of the laws he's instrumental in crafting?

Surprise over racial slurs ... (Below threshold)

Surprise over racial slurs from Rangel, the loosest-mouthed racialist in Congress? Doesn't anyone else remember him saying in 1994, "It's not 'spic' or 'nigger' anymore. They say, 'let's cut taxes'" -- ?

It's no surprise when a member of an accredited victim-group holds himself above the taboos his group has imposed upon others. If anything, it would be a surprise if he were to behave otherwise.

While there may be shameles... (Below threshold)

While there may be shameless Republicans (think Ted Stevens, Larry Craig and former Illinois Governor George Ryan), the Democrats have more than their share (think Bill Jefferson "BJ" Clinton, William "Cold Cash" Jefferson, and present Illinois Governor Rod "F'ing" Blagojevich). I'm not so convinced that race is the only factor here. Nancy Pelosi can get away with her straight-faced claim that she'll preside over a more ethical and transparent Congress - just don't look for any action to back up her talk. They profess outrage at Republican praises for a 100-year-old Senator, who long since abandoned his racist ways, but can't come to grips with any action against Charlie "Mr. Likable" Rangel. Give me a break.

No doubt McCain and his dou... (Below threshold)

No doubt McCain and his dough-boy Graham will applaud not only Rangel but Pelosi for keeping the House as corrupt and dirty as the Senate.

I am grateful Obama and the Democrats won, the next two to four years will finally bring an end to McCain and his tribe of dirty RINOs.

HughS:Let me begin... (Below threshold)


Let me begin with a nitpick, which leads into bigger things. When Trent Lott made his idiotic remark to Strom Thurmond and when he resigned, he was Senate Minority Leader, not the Majority Leader; the remarks and the resignation occurred in December 2002, in the gap between the elections and the start of the new Congress. Had Lott not been forced to resign his leadership position, he would have become the Majority Leader on January 3, 2003.

Why is this important? Well, the idiotic remark that got Lott demoted was merely the straw that broke the camel's back. It seemed as if Lott was consistently getting outfoxed by the Democrats in the Senate, of which managing to lose the majority midterm was just one example. Because of this, a lot of people who might otherwise have tried to defend Lott saw this as a perfect excuse to force him out and get him replaced with someone more effective. In other words, while the remark was the proximate cause, it wasn't the only or even necessarily the most important reason Lott lost his seat.

Get an indictment, then the... (Below threshold)

Get an indictment, then there is a well worn path to follow.

Lott was a typical limp-wri... (Below threshold)

Lott was a typical limp-wristed republican, too gutless to tell the media and the rest of the left to shove it. He was, of course, betrayed by other spineless, feckless members of the party who thought it best--and safest--to hide under their desks rather than defend him. Many of these clowns have yet to emerge.

Unless and until Republican... (Below threshold)
Ken Hahn:

Unless and until Republicans realize the media operates as a subsidiary of the Democratic Party and proclaim it over and over, the coverage will continue as it is. Republican scandals will be repeated on the front page and investigated with enthusiasm, while Democratic scandals will be excused if they are covered at all. The Democratic Party has been totally corrupt since Thomas Jefferson sold out his principles for Aaron Burr's urban mob and its votes in 1799.

There are elements of racism in the Democrats treatment of Rangel, but to be fair they did cover up for John Edwards, Bill Clinton and Barby "Bad Check" Boxer too. Democrats get a pass from any media investigation or criticism. This won't change as long as Republicans don't call out the liars and and propagandists that are "journalists" today.

For any one who doubts the left wing orientation of the press, I offer a simple test to tell if your media outlet is a Democratic propaganda machine. Take two names, Bristol Palin and R. Hunter Biden. If she got more coverage than him, then you are reading or watching a part of the propaganda organization and any political coverage you get is biased and probably distorted, if not out and out lies.

Honest Democrat is a contradiction in terms.

Hey, if associating with a ... (Below threshold)

Hey, if associating with a slum-lord gets you the presidency, imagine what being a slum-lord will get you.

The end of the culture of c... (Below threshold)

The end of the culture of corruption in congress doesn't look exactly as I expected it would.






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