Opinion Brief

The end of Charlie Rangel?

In a move some commentators are calling "inexcusable," the New York Democrat walked out of his ethics hearing on Monday. Can he resuscitate his political career?

The ethics trial of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) erupted in "high drama" on Monday when he stormed out of the hearing complaining it was unfair because he couldn't afford a lawyer. The subcommittee on Tuesday found Rangel guilty of 11 out of 13 charges that he broke House rules by, among other things, failing to pay income taxes on rent from his villa in the Dominican Republic, and raising millions of dollars from people with business before Congress. Now the matter goes to the full ethics committee, which will decide Rangel's punishment. Did Rangel's walkout mark the end of his career? (Watch Rangel's walkout defense)

Rangel is not going anywhere: Rangel's theatrics may appear "rather crazy," says Jazz Shaw at Pajamas Media. "But I maintain it’s simply crazy like a fox." If he had publicly fought the charges, his dirty laundry would have been aired for days, but now the worst is over and he can start dusting himself off. The ethics committee's lawyer says Rangel was "sloppy" in his finances, not corrupt, so he'll probably face a reprimand or formal censure, not expulsion from the House. "Mr. Rangel goes to Washington ... and leaves"

Why should he leave? Voters support him: Plenty of people want to get rid of Charles Rangel, says Roger Clark at NY1, but some voters in his Harlem district are "rooting" for him. Voters there have heard all about these charges, and they just reelected Rangel to a 21st term by a wide margin. "Rangel constituents show support for embattled representative"

Rangel owes it to his constituents to resign: Charles Rangel finally had the chance "to clear the air and his name," says Ron Christie at The Huffington Post. But his decision to walk out was "nothing short of inexcusable." Rangel served his country well in a 50-year career as a soldier, a prosecutor, and a member of Congress. But "the myriad of ethics charges" against him are an embarrassment to Congress, and to the people Rangel was elected to serve. His only "honorable option" now is to resign."Sorry, Charlie"

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