When Congress returns to work a week from today, Democratic leaders in the House will face new questions about the financial dealings of the Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Charlie Rangel.
Last week it was reported that Rangel had quietly amended his 2007 financial disclosure forms filed with the House, which showed him acknowledging more than a half million dollars in assets that had not been previously reported.
“It’s the same old story for Rangel,” editorialized the Buffalo News, “who last year reluctantly acknowledged what he described as an inadvertent failure to report $75,000 in rental income for a beachfront property in the Dominican Republic.”
Rangel is already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, but as a long time student of the Congress, those types of probes could take forever.
The Buffalo News – not exactly from Rangel’s Harlem backyard – said it was time for Rangel to resign, in an editorial the paper ran on Monday.
This is one of a series of ethics tests for Democratic leaders, as several members are under investigation at this time.
All of it could blow over, or all of it could blow up in their faces, much as Republican problems caused big electoral headaches for the GOP just a few years ago.
What makes this story even more touchy is that Rangel is in charge of the Ways and Means Committee, which technically calls the shots on taxes – and if Democrats push ahead with health care legislation – there will likely be significant tax increases included.
Watch for this story next week when the Congress returns. I would be very surprised if House Republicans just let it slide.