Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) is going for the nuclear option on his defense: publicly accusing his colleagues of the very same conduct that is the basis for his own ethics charges. He is basically grabbing on to other members like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and saying “If I go over, you are going with me.”
For Democrats, this could get even worse with Maxine Waters, 71, now also facing an ethics trial.
One of the charges is that Rangel pressured corporate donors with legislative interests to make sizable donations to an academic center named after him.
His lawyers have pointed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who helped raise money for a center named for him at the University of Louisville as well as the recently deceased Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and former Republican senators Trent Lott (Miss.) and Jesse Helms (N.C.). In their filing, the lawyers argue that “[t]hese activities have never been regarded as creating an improper benefit to a Member.”