Monday, August 2, 2010

New York Times-Rangel and Waters Under House Ethics Microscope

Alex Wong/Getty Images
(story reported by David Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse)

WASHINGTON — By defiantly pushing for full-fledged ethics trials, Representatives Charles B. Rangel and Maxine Waters are raising the prospect of a spectacle focusing on Congressional corruption this fall, just as Democrats are fighting to hold on to their majority in an election already defined by distrust of Washington.

Neither lawmaker, both Democrats, faces electoral jeopardy. Mr. Rangel, who was charged on Thursday by the House ethics committee with 13 violations, including failing to pay taxes on rental income from his Dominican villa, represents a safe district in Harlem. Ms. Waters, who is accused of using her office to help a bank in which her husband owned stock request bailout money, has a similarly secure seat in Los Angeles.

But the tenacity of Mr. Rangel, a 20-term veteran, and Ms. Waters, in her 10th term, in fighting the accusations, puts the interests of these two veteran members of the Congressional Black Caucus at odds with those of their party leaders, particularly the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who famously promised to “drain the swamp” and run “the most ethical Congress in history.” The trials threaten to tarnish Democrats as they try to turn the midterm elections into a choice between keeping them in power or returning to Bush-era policies.
(click here to read the entire story in the New York Times)

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