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Feliz cumpleaños hermano Rangel

August 11, 2010

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Assistant Marshall, Puerto Rican Day Parade

Embattled Congressman Charles B. Rangel is celebrating a birthday bash today, August 11, 2010, though his real birthday was on June 11th,  from 6PM to 8 PM at the Plaza Hotel. Singer Aretha Franklin is performing.

Wow! That’s a birthday bash alright, the queen of soul herself who wouldn’t want to be on the guest list for this one as friends, colleagues, and supporters gather to wish Rangel a happy birthday.

And it should be a happy one for him the funds needed to help pay for his escalating legal fees as he continues forward in his last bid for Congress in the aftermath of the House ethics committee charges and the public trial scheduled for sometime in the fall either before or after the election.

The rules allow Rangel to use campaign funds to  cover his mounting legal fees. In 2009, three-fourths of his $2.16 million he used to cover legal fees and in 2010, $655,232 of his funds $230, 749 or 35 percent used for the same purpose.

Still,  unless the House ethics committee moves to expel, sanction or remove  him, Rangel still rakes  in more than enough funds to continue to run for Congress, giving his other competitors for the seat (Powell IV, Morgan, Tasini) something to worry about in one of the most contentious Congressional races of the year.

Even NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg  a non-Democrat, former gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall, former president Bill Clinton head the cast of characters  on the birthday bash stage. Hey, what’s a birthday party without an emcee like  Governor David Paterson  himself, accompanying him the Speaker of the House, Sheldon Silver.

The party just before  the elections, I’m sure many more plan to arrive to empty out their political campaign wallets for a fund-raiser costing invitees from $200 as a special guest to $5,000 as a host, but why miss an opportunity during an election year to hobnob with the  elected officials listed as  Master of Ceremony such as Hon. Charles E. Schumer, Hon. Kirsten Gillibrand, Hon. Andrew Cuomo,Hon. Thomas DiNapoli, Hon. Sheldon Silver, Hon. Michael Bloomberg,Hon. Christine Quinn, Hon. John Liu, Hon. Bill de Blasio,  and Members of the NY Congressional Delegation.

Yet, one wonders how credible is a public trial Republicans in the House are pushing for saying “Credibility is what’s at stake here; the very credibility of the House itself before the American people,” said Rep. Mike McCaul, the ranking Republican on a subcommittee that will hold a trial-like hearing on the charges against Rangel.”

Okay, Rangel allegedly asked for donations for the Charles B. Rangel Public Policy Center at the City University of New York certainly a worthy institution for an African-American/Puerto Rican 20-term Congressman, the funds not benefitting him or going into his campaign coffers. And certainly, not a reason to pressure him  earlier this year out from  his seat as Chairman of  the House Ways and Means Committee, one of the most powerful titles  in the House listed as one of the 13 charges against him earlier this year.

Yet if Rangel survives it triumphantly he will pass down the political torch to someone he and his inner long time circles of supporters decide to succeed him most likely an African-American to maintain a legendary seat one held almost 66 years first with Adam Clayton Powell, Jr until Rep. Rangel unseated him in the 1970s, Powell ,making history as the first black Congressman sent to the House for the Northeastern states since Reconstruction ended in 1877.

This is the legacy. And the political battle is on to preserve it, nothing wrong with that as long as all the constituents in the changing demographic of the 15th Congressional District political agendas  met, including the Latinos the largest group.  And in the long run  legacy or not this is what will decide the outcome of this saga.

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