Ethics Woes

Charlie Rangel May Lose His Gavel

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is on the verge of having his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee taken away. A "trickle of Democratic defections turned into a flood" Tuesday night, Politico reports, as Rangel's fellow Democrats called for his resignation. At least 14 Democrats have called for him to quit as chairman. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) issued a statement saying the 39-year House veteran "should do the right thing and step aside," and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) seconded the sentiment, while an anonymous member of Congress said Rangel should do "the honorable thing." An ethics committee found Rangel in violation of gift rules last week, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she would wait to see if the panel would act on the findings. Republicans plan to offer a resolution calling for Rangel's removal, and few Democrats are expected to risk voter ire to stand by the New Yorker, especially given the electorate's anti-incumbent mood. Rangel emerged from a late Tuesday meeting saying he wouldn't be stepping down.