Tuesday, November 16, 2010

House Democrats Reshuffle, Rangel Found Guilty

Find out the latest of who is heading up the Democratic leadership to battle the Republicans for the next two years.

From Denny: While House Speaker Pelosi is apparently going to be reelected as House Minority Leader, much of the rest of the team is decided. The conflict between Hoyer of Maryland and Clyburn of South Carolina vying for the second position of Minority Whip has created some rifts in the party.

Pelosi's smart solution? She has created a new Special Assistant to the Speaker position to place Clyburn to end the contentious battle - and therefore hold the loyalty of the Black Caucus. There are those who prefer Hoyer's compromising style to Clyburn's direct truth. I prefer Clyburn as he is a straight shooter without guile. Hoyer comes across as the typical slippery politician. It seems Hoyer has powerful allies like Waxman of California who prefer his leadership over Clyburn.

Of course, the polling machines, paid for by vested interests, are out in full force declaring that the nation of Democrats are divided negatively against Pelosi. I doubt that as a truth. Hoyer was pushing hard to move up and replace her, finding himself rebuffed by a lot of the House members. A little too much ambition that backfired on him. Besides, since the Democratic voters are primarily women the male leadership had better keep Pelosi in place or they will lose what women they do have left voting for them.

Here's the latest news about the Democrats that will affect the 112th Congress:

* House ethics panel convicts 80-year-old Korean War vet Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on 11 of 13 counts

Rangel was just reelected in his district yet is no longer one of the most powerful politicians in the House after this blow.

Of what charges was he found to be guilty?

* Rangel used official House stationary and staff to solicit money for a school of public policy in his name at the City College of New York.

* He solicited donors for the center with interests before the Ways and Means Committee. Congressional members are actually allowed to solicit money for nonprofit groups, even ones bearing their names. The kicker is that they are not allowed to use congressional letterhead - or office resources - in pursuit of that endeavor.

* Rangel was found guilty of using an apartment in Harlem zoned for residential use as his campaign office

* He failed to report more than $600,000 on his financial disclosure report

* Rangel also failed to pay taxes on rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.

Basically, House rules need to be revamped is obvious. Rangel broke House ethics rules and federal laws.

"We have tried to act with fairness, led only by the facts and the law," said Lofgren, chairwoman of the adjudicatory subcommittee and the full House ethics committee. "We believe we have accomplished that mission."

What happens next? The full ethics panel meets at a sanctions hearing to decide Rangel's punishment.

What kind of sanctions can Rangel expect that are serious?

* Formal reprimand
* Censure or
* Expulsion

All require a vote on the House floor. Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote. A reprimand or a censure only require a majority vote.

The ethics panel could just impose a fine and deny Rangel some House privileges.

For those of us who wanted a change in the Democratic Senate leadership, well, forget that - or hold your nose - whichever is your pleasure. Harry Reid of Nevada is back as reelected Senate Minority Leader.

Minority Whip is Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Democratic Conference Secretary is Patty Murray of Washington.

Chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee is Chuck Schumer of New York where he will be the third-ranking memeber of the Democratic leadership. The beauty of this position is that Schumer will be in charge of a new policy and press operation. It will combine the staff and the resources of the DPC and the Senate Democratic war room. After all there are 21 Senators and two Independents allied with the Democrats who are up for reelection this next cycle. This is a newly created position. He is replacing Byron Dorgan of North Dakota who is set to retire.

Well, let's hope these changes and reaffirmations will set the tone for a fighting steel-spined Democratic leadership who will not cave in to the Republicans - or Team Obama's bad decisions

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