Wrangling Charlie Rangel

One step forward, two steps back:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) decision to tap Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) to take the gavel of the Ways and Means Committee surprised some on Capitol Hill. Many expected Pelosi to appoint mild-mannered Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), who ranks behind Stark in seniority on the Ways and Means panel, to replace Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.).

Stark was involved in a recent confrontation with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), a quasi-independent body Democrats created in 2008 to help burnish the ethics committee’s reputation.

The OCE initiated in investigation into Stark and several other members after press reports began scrutinizing the lawmakers’ claim of homestead tax deductions for residences they own in the D.C. area.

Stark faced scrutiny for claiming a $3,770 tax break in Maryland because he was registered to vote in Fremont, Calif., and rented a house there.

Throughout his interview with investigators, the OCE report said Stark was “extremely belligerent and frequently insulted OCE staff members interviewing him.”

They also noted that Stark had tried to surreptitiously videotape the interview.


Say what you will, but Rangel was likable, charming, and sometimes wickedly entertaining.

Pete Stark is just a bully — a crass, tasteless, and stupid bully.

In case you’d forgotten, here’s the bully in action.

Thanks, Madam Speaker, for reminding us what the Temporary Democratic Majority is all about.

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