Another day, another politician evading responsibility for their actions …
Former U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel – who has been found guilty by his colleagues of 11 separate ethical violations – will receive only a censure for his crimes.
What’s a censure? It’s a fancy-schmancy political word that literally translates into “not a godd*mned thing.” Rangel will have to stand in the well of the U.S. House of Representatives while a “resolution of disapproval” is read against him. That’s it. And after being praised effusively for his courage and dignity in facing the charges by his colleagues, the Harlem Democrat will then be allowed to continue casting votes on the very laws he decided didn’t apply to him.
Rangel was found guilty of failing to report assets, failing to pay taxes, using public resources to campaign for reelection and using taxpayer-funded mail to solicit campaign donations, among other violations. On top of that, he’s alleged to have improperly used money from his political action committee to pay for his legal defense.
And let’s not forget the host of “pay-to-play” allegations against him – reports that he traded taxpayer-funded favors to political donors from his powerful Ways and Means perch.
His defense? That he was “sloppy,” not corrupt.
Whatever. Charlie Rangel should be in jail right now, people … he shouldn’t be receiving a hall pass so that he can continue abusing the public trust.
Beyond that, censures are cop-outs. They are nothing more than “Get Out of Jail Free” cards that politicians give each other when they get caught breaking the law. Of course what do you expect from a bunch of corrupt lawmakers who reserve the exclusive right to investigate themselves?
Rangel’s censure is a fitting coda of hypocrisy on the four-year tenure of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who promised when Democrats won control of the House in 2006 to “restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C.” and run “the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.”