Politico: Rangel in Disarray

John Bresnahan of Politico reports today:

Rep. Charles Rangel is heading into a Nov. 15 ethics trial with no lawyers, little money and a risky strategy that may turn his trial into a political showdown, rather than a legal face-off, according to sources close to the New York Democrat.

It’s not even clear if the ethics trial will start on time. Rangel has asked for a delay in the proceedings, but the ethics committee – with members off running their own reelection campaigns – has not publicly ruled on the request.

The article includes speculation that Democrats might go easy on Rangel because they will have already have lost their majority. Indeed, with the latest projections that they will lose 50 or more seats on Tuesday, Democrats may be so shell shocked that the Rangel trial may be the last thing on their minds. The path of least resistance may be to simply let the matter slide to the next Congress.

It is now Republicans who are on the spot. If they just acquiesce to more delay, it will look like business as usual on Capitol Hill. After accusing Pelosi of failing to “drain the swamp” during the campaign, Republicans now have the responsibility to make sure Rangel is tried and sanctioned. In the present climate, anything less than expulsion will look like a slap on the wrist.

Bresnahan reports:

Rangel “sees this as a political, not a legal, fight at this point,” said a source close to the case, signaling the 80-year-old Korean War vet may present his own defense before the ethics committee.

It is not a political fight to NLPC. We invested significant time and resources in exposing Rangel’s tax evasion that led to more far-reaching scrutiny of Rangel’s finances. It is important that this matter be properly adjudicated.

We also exposed Rangel’s acceptance of corporate-funded Caribbean junkets. Of course, we welcomed the Ethics Committee admonishment that cost Rangel his Ways and Means chairmanship, but more serious charges are still pending.

Related:

Rangel Parts Company With Ethics Lawyers, $2 Million Lighter

Ethics Committee Delays Rangel, Waters Trials as New Poll Says Pelosi Failed to Drain the Swamp

Republicans on Ethics Committee Accuse Lofgren of ‘Stalling’ on Rangel, Waters Trials

Ethics Chair Lofgren Can’t Find Time for Rangel Trial But Brings Colbert Comedy Show to Capitol Hill

Pelosi to Delay Rangel Ethics Trial Until After Election?

Morgenthau Owned Nabors Stock When He Introduced Rangel to CEO Isenberg

Ethics Commitee Covers Up Massive PMA ‘Pay to Play’ Scheme

NY City Cuts Off Funding For Rangel-Backed Group

Charles Rangel Attacks NLPC on House Floor

Rangel Faces New Ethics Complaint From Conservative Group (The Hill)

NLPC Files New Rangel Ethics Complaint

Two House Ethics Committee Members Tainted by Rangel Cash

Timeline of Charles Rangel Ethics Scandal

Photo Casts More Doubt on Rangel Claims

Flaherty: Rangel Had to Know of Junket’s Corporate Sponsorship (Fox News Channel video)

Flaherty: Rangel Dirty Even After Coming Clean (CNN/Anderson Cooper video)

Flaherty: Rangel is ‘Serial Offender’ (CNN/Anderson Cooper video)

NLPC Alleges Charles Rangel Hid More Income in Complaint to House Ethics Committee

Washington Post Calls on Rangel to Resign Ways and Means Chairmanship, But What About Criminality?

WSJ Highlights NLPC’s Efforts to Expose Rangel’s Tax Evasion

Rangel Hid $500K in Assets

Nabors Chairman Gets Testy With Flaherty About Rangel Center Donation; Calls NY Times ‘Full of Malarkey’

Caribbean Junket Probe Headed by Black Caucus Member Shows Pelosi’s ‘Mockery’ of Ethics Process

House Ethics Committee Asks NLPC For Info on Rangel-Led, Citigroup-Funded Caribbean Junket

Peter Flaherty Discusses Citigroup-Funded Congressional Junket on CNBC (video)