Being Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee normally guarantees lucrative fund-raising. But having trouble with House ethics rules–and the law–appears to be putting a crimp in Rep. Charlie Rangel’s fund-raising.
Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York has so far been able to hang onto his powerful committee chairmanship despite damaging disclosures about his financial dealings. But when it comes to the kind of clout that Washington pays close attention to – campaign dollars – his status seems to be slipping.
The pace of financial contributions to Mr. Rangel, a fund-raising powerhouse for the Democratic Party who is chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee, has dropped by nearly half this year from the previous election cycle, according to the most recent campaign finance disclosure statements.
From January 2009 to September 2009, he raised a total of about $1.7 million through three committees he controls and uses to dole out money to Democratic candidates and causes. Mr. Rangel brought in more than $3.1 million with only two committees he controlled during the corresponding period in the previous election cycle, the financial disclosure statements show.
Now, Democratic officials and donors say that that the ethical questions hanging over Mr. Rangel, who has represented Harlem in Congress since 1971, are taking a toll, particularly as Republicans spotlight his problems in ads and repeated pushes are made to try to force him to step aside from the chairmanship. The House Ethics Committee is investigating the allegations against him.
The falloff in contributions has implications for the Democrats as they face a tough electoral season, with Republicans seeking to chip away at their majority.
As the Times explains, Rep. Rangel’s problems are the Democratic Party’s problems. Normally congressional potentates like Rep. Rangel contribute to other candidates to help preserve their positions. But with less largesse to distribute, Rep. Rangel won’t be able to do as much to prop up the Democratic majority.
Ah, I feel so bad for Charlie.