Among Charlie Rangel’s claims in the aftermath of the finding that he violated the rules of the House of Representatives is the argument that Rangel was denied the advice of counsel, leaving him defenseless against the charges he faced. Specifically, Rangel claimed that he did not know that he could have started up a legal defense fund to pay for an attorney, after the first law firm Rangel hired left once the money from his campaign fund–with which Rangel was allowed to pay for legal counsel–ran out.
Anderson Cooper actually did a pretty good job of ripping this argument to shreds a couple of nights ago. The transcript of his show is a long one, and of course, not all of it deals with Charlie Rangel’s ethical problems, but those parts that do are certainly worth reading.
Prior to losing the majority, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have one last chance to try to deliver on the promise they made back in 2006. You know, the one where they said that they would give the American people the “most ethical Congress in history,” and that they would “drain the swamp” of corruption. They can deliver on that promise by giving Charlie Rangel the most stringent punishment possible. And yes, expulsion from the House of Representatives–though not expected–should be on the table.