Rangel Quits Key US Tax Post
Friday, March 5, 2010
Influential Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel has announced his
decision to temporarily step down from the House of Representatives
Ways and Means Committee while he contests allegations of unethical
The decision by the flamboyant New York Democrat, a 40-year veteran
of Congress, follows the publication of a report by the House Ethics
Committee, which concluded that Rangel violated House gift rules by
accepting payment or reimbursement for travel to conferences in the
Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.
In a short letter to House Speaker Nanacy Pelosi, who has made
stamping out political corruption one of her top priories, Rangel
stated simply that: "I respectfully request a leave of absence from my
duties and responsibilities as Chairman of the Committee on Ways and
Means until such time as the Committee on Standards completes its
findings of the review currently under way."
As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and someone who can be
characterized as occupying the left wing of the Democratic presence in
Congress, Rangel has been a key figure in the shaping of US tax policy in recent months.
The Committee on Ways and Means is the oldest committee of the
United States Congress, and is the chief tax-writing committee in the
House of Representatives. The Committee derives a large share of its
jurisdiction from the US Constitution which declares: "All Bills
for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of
Rangel has been replaced by Michigan Democrat Sander M. Levin, who
will serve as the committee's Acting Chairman until the Rangel
investigation is concluded.