GOP Slow-Pedals Effort to Oust Rangel
New York Dems nervous as ethics probe drags on
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2009 8:04 AM CDT
House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., pauses as he responds to questions regarding alleged financial improprieties from reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
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(Newser) – Rep. Charlie Rangel, the ethically challenged head of the House Ways and Means Committee, has become yet another millstone for New York Democrats, whose electoral chances are already sagging under an unpopular governor. Several candidates want him gone, and are tacitly supporting GOP efforts to get him booted from his committee chair. But Republicans are treading carefully. Not only are they wary of attacking one of Washington's most powerful black figures, they also don't want to shine an ethics spotlight on their own ranks.

Earlier this month the House swatted down a Republican resolution calling for Rangel's ouster—but it netted two Democratic votes, and one New York candidate said he'd have voted for it, too. An ethics panel is still investigating Rangel's use of multiple Harlem apartments, shady fundraising, and alleged tax evasion on a house in the Dominican Republic. Even if the GOP can't oust Rangel, they can certainly use any damaging report for next year's election. "It’s a win-win for us, no question about it," one insider said.