Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been found guilty of violating ethics rules in accepting Caribbean trips from a corporation. In a classic move, the House ethics office has decided not to find violations by four other members of the Congressional Black Caucus who also took the free trip in 2007 and 2008 because they were unaware that it was paid for by the corporation. How about the idea of not going on paid trips at all? I have long argued for a complete ban on such travel, here. The other four members were Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Michigan; Donald M. Payne of New Jersey; and Delegate Donna Christensen of the Virgin Islands.
The trips to attend business seminars in Antigua and Barbuda and in St. Maarten were paid for by corporations like Pfizer, Verizon and AT&T.
Rangel says that he will be admonished, but many will likely call for him to step down from his powerful post.
Rangel, 77, is still under investigation for alleged financial improprieties. He disputes the latest findings against him, here.