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Congress: Abandoning Charlie?

The New York Post: “Democratic Party insiders predict that many top New York Democrats will abandon embattled Rep. Charles Rangel if the veteran lawmaker doesn't admit to several ethics violations before the charges against him are outlined on Thursday.”

Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) became the first Democrat to call for Charlie Rangel to step aside, The Hill reports. She told the paper Friday: "It is regrettable, but Charlie Rangel needs to resign from his seat in Congress. This isn’t about being a Democrat or Republican, this is about preserving the public trust. Our nation is facing extraordinary challenges and we must be focused on building a sustainable economy that will allow our workers and businesses to flourish."

“Sutton has built a reputation as a crusader for congressional ethics. In 2008, she led the fight to pass legislation creating the Office of Congressional Ethics, which now serves as an independent ethics body within the House of Representatives.”

The Hill: “A prominent congressional Democrat having to stand trial before the House ethics committee less than two months before November's election could compound the party's electoral woes in 2010. Yet if Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) does end up making the campaign trail tougher for House Democrats this fall, the irony is that short of him being expelled from the House, observers say he's unlikely to lose his own congressional seat.”

“Washington is abuzz with rumors of late-night partying and of House Republicans inappropriately hanging out with female lobbyists,” Roll Call notes. “But not everyone was taken by surprise. Minority Leader John Boehner has been working behind the scenes to address the issue for at least the past year and a half. The Ohio Republican has had private conversations with several lawmakers asking them to curb their inappropriate behavior.”

“Sen. James Inhofe last week terminated two part-time staffers after Roll Call raised questions about their employment, but the Oklahoma Republican continues to employ a part-time director of African affairs who earns the rest of his income as a missionary in the Africa division of the Assemblies of God church,” Roll Call reports. “Inhofe said last week that he terminated the two Oklahoma-based staff members ‘to keep it clean’ and ensure there are no conflicts. But he said he sees no conflict with his D.C.-based director of African affairs working on African issues for the Senate and a church group at the same time.”

“Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), addressing a convention of liberal bloggers and activists Saturday evening, implored the left to fight to stay in power in the midterm elections,” The Hill writes. “’If Republicans take back Congress they'll implement a truly dangerous agenda,’ Franken told the Netroots Nation gathering in Las Vegas. ‘Everything is on the table from repealing healthcare reform to privatizing Social Security.’”

Roll Call: “When Rep. James Langevin ascends to the Speaker’s rostrum to preside over the House chamber today on the 20th anniversary of the day the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed, the moment will symbolize nearly two decades of progress on the Capitol grounds.”