Sunday, January 25, 2009

Great: Ethics Panel Investigating Rangel 'Virtually Disbanded'

So nice that were living in the age of openness and transparency where everyone will now be, according to Barack Obama, taking responsibility. Well, it's pretty transparent nothing will ever come of the investigation into Charles Rangel, and the Democrats are openly flaunting it.
Nobody's home at the House ethics committee that's supposed to be investigating Rep. Charles Rangel.

The panel created on Sept. 24 to probe the Harlem Democrat's alleged ethical lapses has been virtually disbanded, after meeting only twice in four months on the matter, The Post has learned.

Of the four congressmen named to look into the powerful Ways and Means Committee chairman, only one remains - Alabama Republican Jo Bonner. The three others left the Rangel probe last month when they were "rotated" off the 10-member Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

The dormant investigation won't be jump-started until three incoming ethics committee members are assigned to the Rangel probe later this month.

Because the committee conducts its work in secret, it is not clear if any progress has been made on the Rangel investigation. In the committee's recently released 100-page report on its work in the 110th Congress, only four paragraphs mention the Rangel probe, listing five alleged ethics breaches and noting that the panel had not been able to complete the investigation.

The panel has already missed Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Jan. 3 deadline for filing a final report on Rangel.

The investigative subcommittee was convened three weeks after a Post exposé reported that the 38-year lawmaker failed to declare rental income on a beachfront villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.

Among other alleged breaches referred to Congress: Rangel's use of four rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem; his use of congressional stationery to solicit donations for an academic center named in his honor at City College; his storage of a vintage Mercedes at a House parking garage; and a $1 million pledge to the Rangel Center from an oil-drilling company that benefited from Rangel-sponsored tax legislation.

Critics say the shuffling of committee members will delay an already lackluster probe.

"It will clearly slow things significantly to bring the new members up to snuff," said Norman Ornstein, a congressional analyst at the American Enterprise Institute.

"The lack of any visible activity, such as interviews with many principals or visits to the Dominican Republic or any progress report, are all discouraging."

The probers should have been required to stay on the investigation to avoid further delays, said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group.

"Four months after the investigations started, there is no investigative subcommittee, no public hearings, and no sign of any progress whatsoever,"
he said.
All this from the most (ahem!) ethical Congress ever.

Linked at Instapundit. Thanks!

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