Why Charlie Rangel stepped down as Ways and Means chairman
New York Representative Charlie Rangel has stepped down as chairman of the House Ways and Means committee following more than a year of calls for his resignation.
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For more than a year, the popular chairman – a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi – has dodged calls from Republicans and ethics watchdog groups for his resignation.
“Rep. Rangel has had a long and distinguished career and I respect his leadership, but I believe Congress needs to do more to restore the public trust,” said Rep. Artur Davis (D) of Alabama, in a statement. A colleague on the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Davis was the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to back calls for Rangel's resignation.
Rangel faces ongoing ethics probes on issues ranging from misuse of rent-controlled apartments in New York and failure to disclose income from a villa in the Dominican Republic to reports that he exchanged official favors – a tax loophole for oil driller Nabors Industries Ltd. – in exchange for a $1 million gift to the Charles Rangel Center at City College of New York.
“He’s not getting that chairmanship back, because trips to the Caribbean are the least of his problems,” says Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), an ethics watchdog in Washington.
“As we get deeper into election season, support is eroding for Rangel, because members know that ethics matters with voters,” she adds.