Dear Charlie Rangel: Being Not ‘Corrupt’ Isn’t Good Enough
The House Ethics Committee voted to censure Congressman Charles Rangel for 11 counts of ethics violations involving his personal finances and inappropriate solicitation of contributions. Censure is essentially a slap on the wrist for the 20-term Congressman from New York; Rangel faces “public rebuke” by his colleagues should the censure be approved by the House of Representatives.
Rangel continued to protest the unfairness of the proceedings, reiterated his 40 years of service, and emphasized that he is not “corrupt.” Is being “not corrupt” a sufficient standard to hold for a man who once chaired the powerful Ways and Means Committee that oversees policies relating to Social Security, Medicare, taxes, tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures? No! At the very least, Americans should expect their elected lawmakers to act with integrity, to be effective at their jobs, and to care more about their constituents than their own ego and political self-interests. Rangel failed on all three counts. His actions betrayed the trust of the public and tarnished his own reputation and the integrity of the highly-regarded position he once held.
Perhaps now is the time for the public to send Congressman Rangel a constructive reminder that being just “not corrupt” is not good enough, that 40 years of service cannot excuse his ethical misconducts, and that trust is something he has to earn everyday.
- Send a postcard addressed to Congressman Charles Rangel via Zazzle.com/WhatTheFolly
- Download the postcard PDFs (front side, back side) to print at home and mail at your convenience!
- Ethics.House.Gov: Statements on the sanction hearing held on Nov. 18, 2010
- Rules.House.Gov: Definition of censure.
- Congressman Charles Rangel’s statement released on Nov. 18, 2010
- Washington Post: Charlie Rangel censure recommended by House ethics committee
- National Journal: House ethics committee votes to censure Rep. Charles Rangel
- Associated Press: Video from the sanction hearing on Nov. 18, 2010