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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rangel and Fact Bargaining

As of this writing it appears that longtime Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel will be undergoing a trial in the House of Representatives on various ethics charges. This despite his reportedly agreeing to certain findings in connection with those charges.

This development raises the question of whether Rangel attempted to "fact bargain" on these findings. This means that he may have been willing to admit certain things like "errors in judgment" in order to avoid having to defend other mistakes or even intentional acts which may be alleged to be wrongdoing. Reluctance by the House leadership to accept such admissions may show its displeasure that Rangel's admissions were not meant to reveal the truth, but rather to conceal it. The House (and members of both parties) may also be indignant at what they perceive at Rangel's defiance.

In any event, Rangel's distinguished career is winding down ignominously. I predict Rangel will take a page from former New York State Senator and Majority Leader Ralph Marino (who quit rather than be a mere backbencher) and resign altogether from the House. He will not resign in disgrace; rather, he will resign once he can dictate who his successor is (through the committee on vacancies on his designating petition). Then he will surely go on to bigger and better things.

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