While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be reticent to drain the swamp and admonish Representative Charley Rangel for recent ethics violations, President Barack Obama has, in typical Obama fashion, thrown the scandal-plagued New York Democrat under the bus, reports the New York Daily News. In recent days, a growing choir of Democrats have begun echoing GOP demands that Rangel surrender his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
Members of Congress "ought to be accountable," Obama said, according White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, "and that applies to everyone."
"Rules are put in place for a reason and those rules can and must apply to each and every person," Obama stressed, said Gibbs.
Rangel, a 40-year veteran of Capitol Hill and founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was formally admonished Friday by a House ethics panel for taking two corporately-funded trips to the Caribbean.
But Rangel's problems don't end at corporations underwriting tropical junkets. The committee is still investigating allegations that Rangel used official stationary to fundraise for a college center which bears his name, as well as discrepancies in financial disclosure forms.
In her weekly press conference, Pelosi said the calls for Rangel's resignation, which reached new heights when Obama cautiously abandoned the powerful Harlem Democrat, were partisan and said she would not ask that he relinquish his gavel.
"They have said he did not knowingly violate the rules," she said of the committee's findings. "They did not take action against him. They just said he did not willfully break the rules."
"Given that you promised to run one of the most ethical and honest Congresses in history," one reporter's question began, and ended prematurely, as he was interrupted by the Speaker. "And we are," she said, typifying the rhetorical lengths at which Pelosi and other House leaders will take--stopping short of a meaningful censure--to ensure Rangel's impropriety won't taint the Democratic brand.