Charlie Rangel may be having his ethics trial during campaign season, when we can all sit in front of the TV with our buckets of popcorn and be captivated by stories like this:
In one of the more important allegations against Mr. Rangel, the committee charged him with ethics violations for his solicitation of Eugene Isenberg, the chief executive of Nabors Industries, an oil company that was seeking a tax break from the Ways and Means Committee when he pledged $1 million to the Rangel Center.
Mr. Rangel met with Mr. Isenberg and his lobbyist to discuss the tax break, which the congressman previously opposed, in February 2007 — the day it was being considered by the Ways and Means Committee.
The tax break ultimately passed, with Mr. Rangel’s vote, saving Nabors more than half a billion dollars. Eleven days after the meeting, City College cashed a $100,000 check from Mr. Isenberg.
The committee charged that the interactions violated ethics rules because they could be construed as influencing the congressman’s vote. But Mr. Rangel and Mr. Isenberg have both said that the contribution was unrelated to the tax issue, and Mr. Rangel’s written response Thursday asserted that he never did political favors for donors, or anyone else.
You’ve heard of members of Congress wrangling over chairmanships and such. I think we need to invent a new term for when you change your vote after getting paid off: “Rangeling.”
At least, that’s how it seems to me today. I might change my mind tomorrow, after a meeting with a person I’ll simply call “Mr. Green.”