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Charles Rangel, former Ways and Means chair, found guilty of failure to pay taxes and 10 other ethics violations

The one very tiny bright spot for Democrats bemoaning their loss of control of the House is that they don't have to worry about Rep. Charles Rangel making any crazy attempt to regain his chairmanship of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

Of course, any hope Rangel might have had of claiming his past Congressional power faded yesterday when the House Ethics Committee found the 80-year-old Representative from New York City guilty of 11 violations.

In announcing its findings, the Committee on Official Standards of Conduct noted that there was "clear and convincing evidence" for the panel's "guilty" verdict.

One of the matters about which there was no disagreement was Rangel's failure to pay taxes on rental income from his Dominican villa. That alone is bad enough, but Rangel compounded the problem when he announced that he didn't realize he had to declare the rental receipts as income.

Really, the head of the Congressional panel Constitutionally charge with writing our country's tax laws was ignorant of one of the most basic portions of the tax code?

They needed to add another charge for being stupid. But then, such allegations on Capitol Hill could keep the Committee busy 24/7!

Next up is the Congressional equivalent of a trial's sentencing phase. It's officially known as a sanctioning hearing, and will be held tomorrow.

Rangel walked out of the Committee's first hearing. It will be interesting to see if he shows up for this next one.

A bad example for new Members: Leave it to Jon Stewart to find a way that the Rangel's woes can be put to good use.

In his You're a Bad Man, Charlie Rangel video segment, Stewart suggests that rather than read the voluminous ethics manual, Congressional freshmen could have just walked down the hall to watch Charlie Rangel's case unfold.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
You're a Bad Man, Charlie Rangel
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

Maybe they'll take that advice and go to the sanctioning hearing to see what could happen if they're not careful.

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