The Political Calculus of Rangel Stepping Down
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group, points out that Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) decision to step down from his perch atop the Ways and Means Committee “didn’t happen in a vacuum.”
“Midterm elections are only eight months away and voters have made it abundantly clear that they care about ethics, even if members of Congress only pretend to,” Sloan said in a statement. “By forcing Rep. Rangel out, Democrats undercut Republican efforts to portray them as soft on ethics, the very strategy that returned Democrats to the majority in the 2006 elections.”
Rangel was admonished last week by the House Ethics Committee for taking corporate-sponsored trips that the same ethics panel had approved beforehand.