Rangel busy as ever
HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 5/2/2013, 11:20 p.m.
To say that Rep. Charles Rangel has been extra busy nowadays would be a gross understatement. Not only has he filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn a 2010 House decision to censure him for financial wrongdoing, he has also recently introduced the Enforce Existing Gun Laws Act.
This measure, the 82-year-old representative said, "will provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the resources and authority necessary to effectively enforce America's current gun laws.
"Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress," he continued, "have gone on the record stating unequivocally that 'We need to enforce existing gun laws,' and I agree."
Like many of his Democratic colleagues, Rangel was furious about the delays in travel caused by the furloughing of air traffic controllers, which the House reversed in a vote last week. The bill passed by the House is the same one passed by the Senate, Rangel said, and, "It will reduce the delays that affected 20 to 50 percent of the daily flights this week."
Some 15,000 air traffic controllers had been furloughed in the wake of the sequester measure and the subsequent across-the-board cuts that Rangel and other Democrats predicted would happen.
"Republicans are finally recognizing the consequences of the sequester on the American people," Rangel explained in a press release. "Yet they still refuse to act on more broad-based, responsible solutions that protect Americans from these disastrous cuts. Democrats are focused on jobs, growth and a stronger middle class. We are ready to act now to replace all the sequester cuts with a budget that's balanced and fair, that expands our economy, and that responsibly reduces the deficit."
The lawsuit that Rangel filed last week contends that staff and members of the House Ethics Committee, which conducted the probe against him, willfully suppressed evidence of misconduct in how the investigation was conducted. If these facts had been known, Rangel asserted, there would have been a "different outcome."
According to Rangel's lawyer, Jay Goldberg, his client's long and illustrious career was blemished by the financial scandal and he continues to "suffer irreparable harm that cannot be compensated by money damages."
If the committee's chief counsel had informed Rangel of improprieties in how the probe against him was conducted, the congressman would have made a motion to dismiss the case against him, according to the complaint. Moreover, the complaint continued, the committee "acted knowingly, intentionally and willfully to frustrate the goal of assuring adherence to plaintiff's due process rights."
Targeted in the lawsuit are House Speaker John Boehner, former Ethics Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), five Republicans who were then serving on the panel, and several staff members.