Hold fast and stay strong

BY ELINOR TATUM | 4/12/2011, 4:36 p.m.

Dear Congressman Rangel,

I cannot tell you how much it hurts me and the entire community every time we pick of the New York Post and see your name smeared by that racist rag. They seem to try to keep your name in the paper by recycling the same stories, distortions and outright lies that they have been perpetrating for the last year.

There is nothing new in the investigation, there are no new findings, there is not a shred of new evidence, just the same hearsay that has been making the rounds in conservative circles in Washington and on conservative talk and cable shows, couched to seem as though there is new or different light to this same old, tired information.

We know that the NY Post's lazy reporting staff has depended on conservative groups like the National Legal Policy Center and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Washington--they are neither responsible or ethical--spending substantial resources to dig up and feed negative allegations against you.

Today, Wednesday October 7, 2009, the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives launched into another unsuccessful bid to have you removed as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means. But your Democratic colleagues were joined by three Republicans in blocking action against you.

It is true that the House Ethics Committee is looking into your filings, but it is also true that there are no accusations against you in any court of law. You have cooperated with the committee fully, paid thousands of dollars for extensive forensic accounting to assure the legitimacy of your personal actions and have made full and complete public disclosures that have shown no evidence of personal gain or wrongdoing.

You have indeed acknowledged some sloppy bookkeeping, indicating that you not a first order businessman. My late father, Bill Tatum used to always say: "Charlie Rangel could be a very wealthy man today if making money was his goal, but he was more interested in being a good public servant than making money."

We know you, Congressman Rangel. You have represented our community and our country with honor and distinction. And we need you.

You are the highest-ranking African-American in Congress and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. You have been a champion of civil rights, a protector of families' health, education and wellbeing. And you care about our young people as they have gone to war and when they came home, too. Your groundbreaking empowerment zone legislation has been a critical force in revitalizing inner cities, and you have been a great advocate for low-income housing credits as well. You believe in our communities, and have never given up on us, so we will not give up on you.

Elinor Tatum,

Publisher and Editor and Chief