Friday, December 3, 2010

Ethics and Government

On December 2, 2010, New York Representative Charles Rangel was censured by the House of Representatives.  He became the twenty third member of Congress to be so dishonored.  The last censure occurred thirty years ago.  It's not exactly the way the way the Harlem Democrat envisioned the end of  his forty year career.  It isn't clear when the elderly Rangel will finally decide to hang up his political fedora, but even his indictment prior to the November 2, elections did not seem to make much difference to his constituents who re elected him again. 

Mr. Rangel, was  the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee until this past March. This prestigious position  made him the chief tax writer in the country.  What many did not know was that Mr. Rangel himself was a tax cheat.  He was found guilty of not paying taxes on his  beachfront rental villa in the Dominican Republic, for seventeen years.  Rangel was also accused of using a rent controlled residential apartment at Lenox Terrace, which he used as office space for Rangel for Congress and National Leadership PAC.  Initially there were 13 charges against him, but one of the most egregious ones was the fact that he used government letterhead and staff to solicit contributions to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York.

In other words the man who headed the committee  making important decisions affecting us, the taxpayers of America, was himself cheating the government, and all he got for it was a censure from his colleagues.  Had he been a common man, who simply couldn't pay his taxes, his punishment would have been much more severe. We're conditioned to believe that "you don't fool around with the IRS."

 Did no one ever think to audit Congressman Rangel?  Sister One and her husband who are nowhere near Mr. Rangel's economic league, have been audited two years in a row. We can  attest that it is a harrowing process gathering all the documentation to present to the IRS, yet,  it is followed by an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction to know that all is in order and all the proper taxes have been paid.

Had Mr. Rangel been a Republican, he would have been the butt of every comedian's jokes, and the media would have held on to that story like a dog with a bone.  Instead the  leftist media has decided to take pity upon Mr. Rangel and people like Joe Scarborough and Katie Couric have publicly lamented the fact that Mr. Rangel would be humiliated thusly.  Aw!

We feel no pity for Mr. Rangel.  As supporters of term limits we feel that Mr. Rangel was long overdue to retire.  Forty years of fleecing the government and getting rich at the public's expense is enough.  What is sad is that his constituents don't know the difference, and they keep sending him back for more.

The Rangel saga has been in the news for months.  Don't we elect men and women to go to Washington, D.C. to serve us, and to represent us?  What lessons in integrity are we teaching future generations when those who hold high office behave as criminals, and are singled out for misconduct and lacking in ethics?

Ethics and integrity in government are extremely important.  Perhaps as this new Congress convenes to legislate on such issues as health care reform, education reform, immigration reform, tax reform, and all other considerations on their agenda, they might think of adding ethics reform to the list.  Who knows, they might just set an example, put a stop to our moral decline, and make us a better country.  One can hope!

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