Rep. Charlie Rangel's end game is fast approaching. He's been found guilty on 11 counts of breaking House rules by a committee of his legislative peers and faces sanctions that could range from a reprimand to expulsion from Congress.
Mr. Rangel could have served as a poster child for the angry-voter movement that had incumbents running scared this fall. Throughout this sordid saga, the long-time Democratic congressman has shown poor judgment, combative behavior and contempt for the public good.
Mr. Rangel was found guilty of failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and assets, improper use of several rent-controlled apartments, questionable fundraising efforts for a college center in New York that bears his name, and failing to pay taxes on property he owns in the Dominican Republic.
This from a legislator who's supposed to be an expert on tax matters. Despite his long record of service, it's impossible to feel sorry for the 80-year-old lawmaker -- he asked for it. ``If I can't get my dignity back here, then fire your best shot in getting rid of me through expulsion,'' Mr. Rangel thundered in August when some Democrats asked him to quit.
Instead, he insisted on a trial, but remained defiant to the end. First, he begged for a last-minute delay because he had run out of money to pay his lawyers. Then he indignantly walked out when the panel refused. Then he complained that the panel had acted despite his absence.
On Thursday, the panel will recommend proper punishment for Mr. Rangel. The full House will vote on it afterward. The betting is that it will be limited to censure or reprimand, but Mr. Rangel's bizarre behavior surely raises questions about his continued fitness for office.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.miamiherald.com. Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/18/v-print/1931312/keeping-a-clean-house.html#ixzz15ecDyLOw