Say Goodbye, Charlie

The House Ethics Committee has officially announced that it found “substantial reason to believe” that New York Representative Charles B. Rangel had violated House rules or federal laws by soliciting donations from people with business before his committee to fund a center named in his honor at City College of New York, not paying taxes on a Caribbean home, improperly using a rent-stabilized apartment in New York as a campaign office, and not properly disclosing more than $600,000 in income and assets.

Thirteen counts in all, some a bit minor, but a few quite serious, if guilty of the charges.

While he is probably not guilty of most of the violations, there are a couple that he probably is guilty of.  Where there is smoke there might not be quite a fire, but there is smoldering nonetheless.

Mr. Rangel has served in the House for forty years — a long and distinguished career.  He is now eighty years old, and it is time for him to go.

I read in the paper this morning that Mr. Rangel was concerned about his legacy if he chose to resign.  This is the problem with most of our elected officials who have been in office for twenty terms:  They think this is all about THEM.

Mr. Rangel, you are a good man.  You have served your district and the country well all of these years.  This may not be the way you wanted to go out, but for the good of your constituents, for the good of the people, the good of the country, and yes, for the good of the Party, you must say goodbye.

There is no such thing as being partially guilty of wrongdoing.  You either violated the rules or you didn’t.  There is no guilty with an explanation here.

During the time the Republicans held Congress, people in our Party called for the resignation of those who had done wrong.  Many didn’t, but we did call on them to resign.  Now it is one of ours who has violated the rules and possibly the law and we need to be consistent in our ways.  Double standards are not acceptable.

I won’t even go into what it will “look like” if we have to go through a full-blown trial just before the election.  That is for the strategists to wring their hands over.  For me, the important part is that we PUSH for cleaning up our government — and the only way to do that is to apply it across the board with no exceptions.

It is also another good reason to impose term limits.  It was the one point in the Contract for America in 1994 that I agreed with.  Career politicians are completely out of touch with We The People.  A lot of good people go to Congress, but if they stay too long…  (fish comes to mind…)

So Charlie, it is time to go.