Remove Rangel

Amid ethical failings, longtime congressman doesn't deserve to keep his seat

Rep. Charles Rangel still doesn't get it.

Found guilty of 11 violations by a U.S. House ethics panel Tuesday, the New York Democrat called the ruling unfair.

No, no, no. You know what's unfair? Not paying your taxes, while heading the House committee that writes federal tax law. Oh, and using congressional letterhead to solicit donations for a memorial named for you .

The jaw-dropping quote of the hearing likely came from Blake Chisam, the top lawyer on the panel, when he said "I see no evidence of corruption." When was his last eye exam?

"I believe that the congressman, quite frankly, was overzealous in many of the things he did. And sloppy in his personal finances," Chisam added.

With friends like that, Al Capone could have gotten off the hook for his tax troubles.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker, who must have made countless eyes roll heavenward by asserting Rangel "is no crook," did make this meaningful point -- that Rangel had become "a case study in the customs and rituals of entitlement -- a man who believed the rules were fine for the little folk but didn't apply to him."

That alone makes him unfit to keep his seat in Congress, but these events are just the latest in a string of ethical ensnarements. Approaching 40 years in the House, Rangel has far outlasted his expiration date.

He should resign. If he refuses that, he should be expelled. The full House Ethics Committee takes up that decision today. Rangel shouldn't escape with a mere wrist slap.

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