October 7th, 2009
08:34 PM ET
11 years ago

GOP, citing ethics, calls for key House chairman to step down

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/07/art.rangel.gi.jpg caption="Congressional Republicans intensified their calls Wednesday for Chairman Charlie Rangel of New York to resign his post."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congressional Republicans intensified their calls Wednesday for powerful House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel of New York to resign his post heading the committee, at least temporarily.

Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, introduced a motion that would have forced Rangel to step down during an ongoing ethics investigation into his finances and activities.

House Democrats responded by voting to shut off debate and instead send the resolution to the House Ethics Committee, where the matter has sat for a year. The move to effectively kill the resolution by sending it to the committee passed on a mostly party-line 246-153 vote.

The vote has no significant effect but shows Republicans are turning up the heat on Rangel and hoping to score political points by highlighting the ethics probe.

The prominent Harlem, New York, Democrat has been under investigation for a year over several issues, including hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of assets which allegedly he did not claim on financial disclosure forms. Rangel has admitted to failing to pay taxes on $75,000 in income from a rental property he owns in the Dominican Republic.

The Ways and Means committee is the lead body for writing tax law in the House.

Rangel has said he is the victim of a smear campaign by some in the media.

"The allegations were made by newspaper reporters, and I asked the Ethics Committee to review it and report back to Congress," he told CNN Wednesday. "If I was to step aside, it would mean that newspaper reporters could dictate and create clouds when really we should have a committee that has investigative forces that can search for the truth and report it."

Rangel also said that chairmen usually retain their posts when under an ethics investigation. When asked if the probe affects his abilities to lead the committee, he responded, "Not at all."

Rangel is one of three chairman crafting health care legislation. Some Democrats have said Republican moves against him are an attempt to derail that debate.

–CNN's Dana Bash and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Updated: 8:34 p.m.

Filed under: Charlie Rangel • House
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Mike Syracuse, NY

    A fitting successor to Adam Clayton Powell. I guess 'smear campaign' is what Democrats call the truth.

    October 7, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Sybil Rosenstein

    Charlie Rangel is a crook and should be put in jail. If an ordinary citizen even came close to not paying his taxs for years, he would be thrown in jail so fast his head would spin. This man has no shame. The Democrates are protecting him...to think we have elected these people....shame on us too!!

    October 7, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Patrick

    This shouldn't be political. If he is corrupt all members of congress should vote to remove him if he's clean let him stay. There is no in between.

    October 7, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Bertina

    Rangel should step down when Ensign steps down.

    October 7, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Ren from Baltimore

    Rangel was caught breaking the law, from all appearances. This does not seem to be a witch hunt mounted by the political right; he did this to himself by "forgetting" to claim income from business matters from which he was aware he was benefiting.

    It would behoove the situation for him to voluntarily recuse himself from the Chairmanship's postiion until the matter is settled. At the very least, he would be setting a high example if he did so.

    October 7, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. Jeff in Virginia

    the GOP complaining about ethics??

    hahahahahaha. that's too funny. cat, meet kettle.

    October 7, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. Willy

    Being a democrat in Comgress means you never have to say you're sorry for breaking the law and the media will cover for you too.

    October 7, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Mercedes

    Before anyone in New York State gives any consideration to this congressman from Texas request maybe Texans should start asking their governor to step down. He has done nothing but trouble and sent an innocent man to be executed.

    October 7, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Sian Rose

    Charles Rangel should have stepped aside a long time ago. He is doing more damage than good to the Democratic Party and to his own legacy. He no longer has a reputation to preserve. With the massive cloud of corruption hanging over his head he cannot eb effective. It is time he put aside his own ego and do what is right fro his party and his constituents.

    October 7, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Jim

    I know... Let's remove Rangel, and then let's investigate EVERY Republican to see where they have mis-stepped. I have no problem with removing a guy who has been less than forthcoming about his money, real estate, and other issues. Let's get rid of him. But, let's hold the Republicans under the same microscope. Let's hold ALL of our Senators and Congressmen under the same magnification. How many would withstand that kind of scrutiny? Rangel is the low-hanging fruit. Let's go after all the corruption. Now that would be change we can believe in...

    October 7, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. LIP

    "Do as I say, don't do as I do", says Charlie when knocking down a beer one night shortly after meeting with his accountant.
    How is it that we all have to live by one set of rules and the guy that makes the rules gets to live by another set and the guys and gals he works with say "it's okay Charlie, we all do it".

    October 7, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. single mom

    Could everyone please note that "House Democrats responded by voting to shut off debate and instead send the resolution to the House Ethics Committee, where the matter has sat for a year."

    In other words, they can pass a resolution in thirty minutes about Wilson's two word out-burst, but will sit on on growing evidence of ethics violations by one of their own.


    October 7, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. No Incumbents 2010

    Carter is a shameless partisan showboat who wants to sentence Rangel before he is found guilty of anything. Even six Republicans realized this was a political stunt and voted against it. Let the Ethics Committee finish its investigation without partisan interference. Don't Republicans have more important issues to address such as reducing the national debt, reducing the size of government, and improving the economy?

    October 7, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. New Age Democrat

    Rangel is an embarrassment and a crook. Pelosi would do well to remember her pledge to preside over the most ethical congress. She has done nothing to rid the party of corruption. I'm afraid this, and numerous other scandals, will only be the downfall of the party. It seems neither side can learn of their mistakes.

    October 7, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Jude

    Oh Yeah, Nancy Pelosi was going to "Drain the Swamp" to turn this Congress into the most honest and open Congress in history. What a JOKE.

    October 7, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. awaitingmoderationby CNN

    How can they do this. Nancy Pelosi has been investigating for a year and has not issued her decision yet. Could it be that the Republicans know how Nancy Pelosi's investigations go? Nothing will come of it, liberals are hypocrites and commit ethics frauds and other frauds (ACORN/SEIU) and when found out, just say it is racism. That is the way libs operate. Always blame someone else.

    October 7, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. kim

    I cannot believe the republicans out of all people are moving to cite someone on ethics violations. This is absurd. Maybe if this had happened at a different time I could understand. But amidst all of these republican affairs, lies, bribery, office abandonment, racist posters and propaganda? As wrong as charlie rangel may be, guess what? Im givin him a pass..

    October 7, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. Concerned in CA

    Even as a liberal Democrat I think Rangel needs to step down.

    October 7, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. special kay

    Let's not be selective in who we investigate. I agree if violations have occured/proven then he should step down. But we can also say the same for Gov Sanford and Senator Ensign. Fair is Fair Repubs.

    October 7, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Boston Irish

    Quote – US Tax Dollars armed them and trained them. It only seems fitting that US tax dollars (and innocent, ignorant US children) should now be wasted to remove them.
    Sheesh, read a book.

    totally neutral, what are you talking about??

    October 7, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Kim

    When Ensign steps down, then Mr. Rangel can think about it!

    October 7, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Illinoisman

    I didnt know when the Dems ran on the "culture of corruption" platform they were talking about themselves. Rangel has NO BUISNESS being on the ways and means chair if he cant even pay his own taxes. But the Dems are Drunk with power so we get a whole slew of criminals running this government.

    October 7, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. New Age Democrat

    Democrats here seem to not care at all where or how our money is spent. I'm amazed as such childish irresponsibility, but then again, I see that the the resolution against Rangle failed. Rangle is a crook, with way too much power with his record. I truely believe that the Democrat Party is completely corrupt now and their only motive is greed. Dont get me wrong, there's corruption in both parties, but I expected more from the Democrats and their vow towards ethics. More broken promises.

    October 7, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. sharon

    the GOP was to score points? get real.
    C street anyone?

    October 7, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Grrr-awful-o

    ...just another democorrupt politician... there are two kinds of democrats: ones who have been caught, and ones who haven't...

    October 7, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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