Why is Representative Charlie Rangel (D- Everything North of 96th Street) still Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee?
Rangel’s biggest supporters have been complaining for a while about his apparent disregard for the very tax code over which he conducts not only oversight but which he actually writes. Chairmanship of Ways and Means is arguably the most powerful position in Congress and, as such, requires a leader that possesses not only good judgment but also a presence of mind to make difficult decisions.
Exploiting rent controlled properties for personal campaign expenses and not reporting overseas income are hardly the kind of “leadership” this country needs in such a position at this time and the House Ethics Committee is not the venue to adjudicate this matter. Why? Because every taxpayer knows that there is a big difference between overstating expenses and not reporting income.
Rangel needs to resign the Chairman position immediately. By doing so he can preserve what is left of his reputation (and he had a good one: Korean War Hero, liberal activist hero to millions of Democrats) and leave his colleagues something of a cudgel to brow beat Wall Street execs about the benefits of regulation.
President elect Obama should insist on this change immediately. Ignoring this elephant in the room will only reinforce the arguments of his critics, to wit, that there is no hope or change in the future. It will politics as usual. And don’t think for a minute that the Wall Street types that are presently having their industry micro managed by Barney Frank & Co. won’t remind everyone on the Hill about this.