The House ethics committee announced yesterday that it will expand its months-long investigation into Ways and Means Committee chairman Charlie Rangel's (D-NY) "tangled personal finances" to include his August disclosure of more than $500,000 additional assets. While a Rangel dismissed the decision as "nothing new," Republicans said "the news provide further proof that Rangel needs to step aside."
The New York Post on the investigation: "The panel said it has issued nearly 150 subpoenas, interviewed 34 witnesses resulting in 2,100 pages of transcripts, reviewed and analyzed more than 12,000 pages of documents, and held more than 30 investigative meetings."
The New York Daily News reports that the panel is "'highly likely' to wrap up its work before the end of the year after taking Rangel's testimony. The strongest sanction could be an embarrassing but essentially toothless recommendation for censure. Rangel's ultimate fate as head."
The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson warns House Democrats they ought to be more pro-active in condemning Charlie Rangel's behavior.
"The real problem, though, is the overall portrait of a wealthy and privileged congressional pasha to whom ordinary rules don't apply. It's a picture that obscures Rangel's long and tireless work in the House on behalf of the needy and dispossessed. It pains me to see his record tarnished, because I like and admire the guy. But he's the one who did the tarnishing.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi may owe her job to Rangel, but she needs to press the ethics committee to do its work without fear or favor. And she needs to contemplate the prospect of explaining to voters, come next fall, why the affluent man who sets their taxes didn't pay his. "