Friday, July 30, 2010
REP. CHARLES RANGEL, WRANGLED BY THE HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE!
"Sixty years ago I survived a Chinese attack in North Korea and as a result I haven't had a bad day since. But today I have to reassess that statement." With those words Democrat House of Representative member from New York, representing Harlem for nearly forty years now, Charles Rangel finally came to terms with his fate - a corruption tarnished congressional tenure! Icheoku says it is only a matter of time before the congressman resigns his office or is expelled/fired by his colleagues for being such blemish on the House. What a low note to end a towering political career which spanned four long and meritorious decades. This is another example of the irony of life which no mortal can ever predict, that man majority of the time is his own greatest worst enemy. Oh Charlie, why?Representative Charles Rangel was accused by House investigators of 13 count violations of congressional ethics standards including failure to report rental income from vacation property in the Dominican Republic, hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income and assets on his his financial disclosure statements. his use of congressional staff and stationery to raise money for a center in City College of New York named after him; accepting favors and benefits from the donors that may have influenced his congressional actions; use of a subsidized New York apartment as a campaign office instead of a residence; and misuse of the congressional free mail privilege. At 80 years old, Icheoku asks, what use is putting old Charlie through the grueling mill of a prosecution and trial; instead let the House force his resignation and then rest the matter. Mr. Rangel served his country both as a young military serviceman and also as a congressman for forty years without blemish until this current episode. Icheoku says it is possible that old age associated 'senility' clouded Charlie's rationality to the extent that he did not fully appreciate the gravity of his indulgences which in turn brought about his current travails? No one died in the process; so instead of crushing old man Charlie with a sledge-hammer, let his past records come to his aid and with a reasonable fine, allow Representative Charles Rangel to just 'disappear' into a well deserved, earned and long over-due retirement where he could live out his golden age in peace. We are not condoning his infractions nor advocating a no-guilty acquittal but that justice be tampered with mercy, his well advanced old age and years of service to his country considered. Icheoku adds that forty years is such a long time for just one person to be occupying a public office; and this should serve as another ground to let old Charlie go. Therefore it is about time that Representative Charles Rangel yielded that Harlem seat to a younger more dynamic person with added stamina and fresh new ideas to move legislations forward. Charlie's longevity in the House of Representatives and its approaching inglorious end helps persuade the argument by some school of thought that it is about time term limits are set for our national assembly just like some states in the union are already doing with the California's example. Finally Icheoku says, whether or not, as the Republicans who have already smelled blood in the water and plans to use Charlie's mishap as a campaign tool against the Democrats in the upcoming November mid-term elections, insists that 'the plea bargaining phase is now over and that the House is now in the trial phase," only one end-result can be achieved - his conviction. So why proceed with the drama of a circuitous trial if Charles Rangel agrees on his plea bargain to fall on his sword by admitting his culpability. This is a meaningful resolution of his ethical violations and one that will admit Rangel a more respectful exit from a scene which he had bestrode for a very long time. But either way and no matter how the matter is finally resolved, what a pitiful way to end a very long and otherwise would have been a stellar political career; it also adds another impetus to the existing cynicism in the polity that Washington politicians are there for themselves only, and that they are all the same irrespective of the partisan strips they may be wearing. But hey, a belated draining of the swamp promised by Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi? FYI: Lawyers for indicted Charles Rangel and the House Ethics Committee finally worked out a plea deal, which the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct have to approve in order to give it any efficacy; provided of course that Republicans do not insist on proceeding full steam with the trial.