WASHINGTON – In the wake of an announcement from the bipartisan House Ethics Committee yesterday that they had “substantial reason to believe” that U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) violated a range of ethics rules and potentially broke the law, the embattled Democrat held a press conference today and bullishly refused to step down from Congress or end his bid for reelection this November.
Roll Call noted, “The House ethics committee announced Thursday that an investigative subcommittee found substantial reason to believe that Rangel broke House rules and possibly ran afoul of the law. The panel has been investigating questions involving Rangel’s personal finances, fundraising efforts and other issues for nearly two years.”
Despite these very serious allegations, Rangel’s Democrat colleague U.S. Representative Paul Hodes (D-NH) continues to loyally remain silent about his alleged transgressions, refusing to call for his resignation or return at least $17,000 in donations that he received from Rangel’s campaign committee and leadership PAC.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza reported today:
The news that New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel violated House ethics rules and could be subject to a Congressional trial – likely in September – has party strategists panicked at what such a spectacle might do to an already difficult election climate for their side…
Republicans are likely to repeat a strategy they employed when Rangel was forced to step down as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in March – calling for the return of campaign contributions from the New York Democrat and seeking to get his colleagues on the record about whether or not he should resign.
For a party trying to desperately to turn the election into a choice between the two parties rather than a referendum on President Barack Obama and Democratic majorities in Congress, the Rangel allegations -- and his combative approach to fighting them -- is an unwelcome headache that could further complicate their efforts to keep the majority on Nov. 2.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) continues to call on Hodes to return Rangel’s tainted campaign cash, especially in light of the fact that many of his Democrat colleagues returned the money earlier this year.
But instead of distancing himself, Hodes offered the Union Leader the bizarre excuse in March 2010 that he would not return the donations “because it was given to his House campaign committee, which has since been closed. The money was rolled into Hodes’ U.S. Senate campaign committee, which, the state Republican Party said, means it is still available to be returned.”
“Paul Hodes is vying for a promotion to the U.S. Senate and he has a responsibility to stand up for ethical standards and accountability in Congress on behalf of the people of New Hampshire. So will Hodes finally step forward to call for Congressman Rangel’s resignation and return his tainted campaign contributions, or will he continue to stand by and condone his unethical behavior?” asked NRSC Press Secretary Amber Marchand.
Paul Hodes Has Accepted At Least $17,000 From Rangel’s Campaign Committee And Leadership PAC:
- Hodes Accepted $2,000 In September 2006, And Two Separate Times In March 2008 From Rangel For Congress. (Federal Election Commission Website, www.fec.gov, Accessed 2/25/10)
- In The 2008 Cycle, Paul Hodes Accepted $5,000 From Rangel’s Leadership PAC. (Center For Responsive Politics Website, http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cmte=C00302588&cycle=2008, Accessed 2/25/10)
- In The 2006 Cycle, Hodes Accepted $5,000 From Rangel’s Leadership PAC. (Center For Responsive Politics Website, http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cmte=C00302588&cycle=2006, Accessed 2/25/10)
- In The 2004 Cycle, Hodes Accepted $1,000 From Rangel’s Leadership PAC. (Center For Responsive Politics Website, http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cmte=C00302588&cycle=2004, Accessed 2/25/10)