The career of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) hangs in the balance this week as he battles charges made against him by the House Ethics Committee. Rangel, a 40-year congressional veteran and former Ways and Means chairman, is frantically trying to broker a deal with the committee before the allegations are made public. Such a deal would likely force the congressman to admit to unethical behavior, which is thought to include a coverup of financial dealings. Rangel insists he has done nothing wrong, but the Democrats want him to avoid a public trial that could be damaging for their broader electoral prospects. Should he fight the charges? (Watch a Fox report about Rangel's battle.)
Rangel ought to fight ... so we know what he's done: Rangel is angling for a "tap on the wrist" from the Ethics Committee so he can "bull his way to re-election," says an editorial in the Chicago Tribune. But allowing him to "cut a deal" means his crimes will never come to light. The Democrats are desperate to avoid an embarrassing trial just months before the midterms. But "that's exactly what needs to happen."
"Charlie Rangel's war"
The Dems need to cut him loose, and fast: Don't the Democrats have enough problems "without throwing corruption into the stew?" asks Michael Tomasky at the Guardian. Unless they want Rangel to be a GOP talking point throughout the fall, Democratic leaders need to tell the congressman he "crossed a line, and they can't let it slide." For the good of the party, "the Democrats should hang Charlie Rangel out to dry right now."
"On Charlie Rangel"
But he'll get re-elected anyhow: It won't make any difference, says John Crowell at Republican American. Rangel's ethics charges have been "circulating for years," but only now, months before the midterms, does the committee do something about it. Even if Rangel is "expelled" from the House, his "heavily Democratic district" will just vote him right back in.