Several months ago we asked that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who will start his ethics trial in the House on Thursday, resign from Congress. In early March I condemned the “sheer hypocrisy” of a man who “had the temerity to spend every other American’s hard-earned money while he himself evaded that same burden over and over again, year after year.” I also urged John Hall to return or donate the $21,000 funneled to him from Mr. Rangel’s campaign and leadership PAC since 2006.
It seems that Mr. Hall has yet to join his Democratic colleagues in publicly distancing themselves from, rather than maintaining financial ties to, the disgraced Mr. Rangel by returning or donating to charity any Rangel money in their war chests. National Journal’s website Hotline On Call contacted the Hall office to see what has or would become of the money. As of this posting, HOC’s inquiries have met with no response.
John Hall should know that Charles Rangel has committed misdeeds against the Congress of the United States and the people of New York, and Mr. Hall’s constituents should have the reassurance that he is not benefiting from what Mr. Rangel has done. It certainly shouldn’t have taken nearly five months (and counting) to hear his response.
UPDATE: Although Hotline On Call still lists Mr. Hall as unresponsive regarding his Rangel cash at the time of this update, this article from WGRZ.com quotes Hall as saying he has indeed divested himself of all donations that lead back to Rangel. Wise move, though it still leaves a few questions unanswered.
First, if Mr. Hall considers Mr. Rangel ethically compromised enough to sever these ties with him, does he still think Rangel is fit to hold a position of public trust? Are 13 ethics charges enough to justify removal from Congress (and if not, what number is sufficient)? On a related note, if Rangel is indeed too toxic for Mr. Hall to associate with him, why is this (from the WGRZ.com article) the best Hall could do when asked what consequences Rangel should face (emphasis added):
“All of us in public service have a duty to live by the highest ethical standard,” said Hall, a two-term Democrat from Dover in Dutchess County. “He should do what he thinks is right.”
Charles Rangel should do what he thinks is right? Mr. Hall, did you not read the long list of reasons not to trust him at all? Why is Mr. Hall shying away from joining the growing number of his colleagues in the Democratic caucus calling for Rangel to resign his seat outright? Even President Obama himself is calling for him to end his career “with dignity.”
Then again, Mr. Hall’s 98% record of voting with Nancy Pelosi on the party line does not inspire confidence that he will break with the Democrat-dominated Ethics Committee on their expected call for a reprimand for Mr. Rangel, the gentlest penalty available to them. Charles Rangel abused his office and abused the hard-earned dollars of American taxpayers. He does not deserve the public trust, and John Hall doesn’t deserve to be re-elected if he cannot recognize the danger posed by allowing a charlatan to remain in a position of power.