Friday, September 26, 2008

'You Want This Ethics Committee to Instill Public Confidence'

Considering public approval of Congress is at an all-time low, something called an Ethics Committee sounds like an oxymoron. To think New York's Charles Rangel is going to receive anything more than a slap on the wrist and a pat on the back is to delve into fantasy, especially when you consider one of the Democrats on the committee has received campaign contributions from the tax cheat.
The members of the House panel investigating Rep. Charles Rangel's possible ethical lapses are no strangers to the embattled Harlem pol.

Rangel, a 19-term Democrat, has crossed paths with all four members of the special subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee that is probing four possible breaches of ethical rules.

He partied with the chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), at Tony Bennett's 80th-birthday gala.

But the two have also butted heads over tax policy. Green, from Houston, opposed Rangel's attempt as chairman of the powerful tax-code-writing Ways and Means Committee to further tax oil companies.

The second Democrat on the committee, Bobby Scott, of Newport News, Va., received $1,000 from Rangel's own congressional campaign fund on March 28, federal filings show.

"It would be better to give the money back," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "You want this Ethics Committee to instill public confidence."

Scott's office did not return calls for comment.

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