So do five other Members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were on the same trip(s). Amazingly, all six have been wrist-slapped by that crackerjack House Ethics Committee (only republicans get real punishment, and they usually have the good taste to resign before that happens), but Charlie remains under fire.
It was good to see that yet another member of New York's fine, democratic Congressional representation also took one of these "free" trips. I'm going to be looking into what these slugs actually do in Washington, so expect as huge screed sometime next week.
You would think people go to Congress for the free trips and all the income you can conceal from the IRS, or something...
Anyhow, maybe the "I didn't know" defense might be closer to the truth, because, it seems as if you can make all sorts of crap up and have it treated as if it were a real event...after the fact, too. You can even invent an entire conversation and then have it stuck into the Congressional Record at a later date. Perhaps simply to give the impression that a subject was brought up "on the record" when, in fact, a word was never spoken on it? That's a pretty neat trick, if you ask me. That lawmakers routinely do this is disturbing. If you can invent events and conversations and such, it's quite possible that you might not know if you actually did something or not. After a while, how does one actually prove that something has actually happened if the record is unreliable? We're talking George Orwell time here. This shows you how out of control Congress has become; they have managed to create their own alternate universe where reality is continually shaped and molded to their political requirements.
No wonder people shake their head wondering whether or not these folks live on the same planet the rest of us do. They live n one they've invented for themselves!
I'm not even sure I comprehend the entire range of practical implications of this practice. Knowing they can invent "history", I'm starting to wonder how often they actually do. What if half the stuff that's recorded in the Congressional Record....never happened? What if it was all a series of after-the-fact or tailored additions to the Official Record where the Member never stood upon the House Floor and said X, Y and Z? What if people are, right now, making huge decisions on the way we're governed, what services are made available, what taxes need to be paid, and a portion of it is based upon articles from a fifth-rate newspaper or complete fabrications of conversations between lawmakers, that are treated as if they are a) facts and b) were actually uttered by a living human being?
If this is true -- and history in the form of the Congresisonal Record is being manipulated -- and this is how our government truly operates, then no wonder we're in the shitter and no one in charge seems to have an answer.
The first step in fixing our broken, making-shit-up-as-it-goes-along government is to depose the obvious crooks first. For all his weasel language, Charlie Rangel is guilty -- if he didn't actually know, he was still supposed to know. Ignorance, they used to tell me, of the law was no defense. Ignorance shouldn't be a requirement for a Congressional Seat, either. If you can't get rid of a man who cheated on his income taxes, broke the laws regarding rent-control in New York State, accepted what amounts to a bribe in the form of a couple of conference/vacations, and allegedly used his office for personal gain, then who can you get rid of? Charlie Rangel leaving the House of Representatives is as necessary to the future health of this republic as the removal of a tumor is to the continued survival of a cancer victim.
If Charlie Rangel manages to stay in Congress, then we're doomed; he will stand as a shining example to every other crooked politician that not only are the rubes stupid, they can't lay a glove on you, and the falsification and invention of history and facts will continue apace, with far-reaching consequences for how this country is governed.
(H/T to Instapundit)