Politicos Bail on Rangel's B-day Bash

An impending ethics trial sure can be a party pooper: Various politicians and associates of New York Representative Charles B. Rangel have bowed out of attending his upcoming 80th birthday soiree, dodging the event under the guise of having prior engagements or being out of town. Not even a performance by Aretha Franklin could lure some to the fete, which will take place at the main ballroom at New York's Plaza Hotel. Rangel faces 13 charges of ethics violations, including tax evasion and requesting millions from lobbyists and corporations and has decided to move forward with a public trial in lieu of settling. This has left some typically loyal supporters to shy away from being associated with Rangel, especially Democrats fearful of further damaging their image so close to the midterm elections. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was unsure if the party would still take place, saying, "I don’t know what the facts are… I was planning to go, but...” H. Carl McCall, former New York state comptroller and Rangel’s close friend said, "It is hurtful to him… Loyalty counts."