By: Jonathan Allen
The Congressional Black Caucus has written a letter accusing Republicans of trying to make an “end run” around the House ethics committee, dismissing GOP efforts to oust Rep. Charles Rangel from his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee.
Rangel (D-N.Y.), a founding member of the CBC, easily survived the latest GOP effort to yank his gavel over a series of ethics allegations. The procedural motion sent the Rangel matter back to the House ethics committee, which already is investigating him. The motion was adopted, 246-153, with 19 members voting present.
But with increasing pressure on House leaders to act on a string of ethics allegations against Rangel — and the first signs of eroding Democratic support for him — the CBC moved to shore him up.
“Regrettably, the minority has repeatedly attempted to make an end-run around the bipartisan procedures for investigating possible ethics issues,” the CBC wrote in its letter, sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “These Republican attempts to presume guilt before an investigation has been completed violate the core American principle of the presumption of innocence. These attempts also will discourage members in the future from self-reporting any potential ethics issues, and will distract from the important work of the House to fix the economy, put Americans back to work, and improve access to health care.”
If that wasn’t clear enough, the group, chaired by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) added: “Charlie Rangel’s work on these issues is critically important, and we are proud of the thoughtful leadership he provides to the House. He has our full support for his work as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means while a bipartisan ethics review is pending.”