The Wrangle Weiner Rule

Dear Republicans:

Please stop being idiots.

For some reason I can not ken, you love to play “Heads I lose, Tails you win!!” with the Democrats.

This is what is usually called “Stupid beyond belief”. Sometimes “Pig Ignorant”. Please just stop.

Every time some Republican does something stupid, like forgetting to report that condo from which he’s been getting rent, or sending shirtless pictures to a “lady friend” who just happens to not be his spouse; the Republican immediately resigns. The nightly news will report “Foo happened, and Bar resigned”.

Later there is a special election in the district or someone gets appointed and half the time it’s a Democrat who takes the seat.

When a Democrat does something stupid, they say “Hell No, I’m not going to resign”. And don’t.

They will never learn from your high moral example.
They think you are being stupid. You are.

The Wrangle Weiner Rule

So, to help you out, I’d like to propose the Wrangle Weiner rule.

Next time some dumb Republican screws the pooch (hopefully not literally…) go ahead and resign… BUT do it conditionally. Announce that you are tendering your resignation contingent upon the resignation of Rep. Charles Rangle or of Rep Anthony Weiner (for financial and sexual transgressions respectively).
(For those appointed to office, they can cite (tiny) Timothy Geitner and his taxing issues…

Rep. Charles Rangle

For those who might have forgotten, Rep. Charles Rangle was involved in a minor matter of not being honest on his taxes, among other things:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Rangle#2008.E2.80.932010:_Ethics_issues_and_censure

Letterhead use and Rangel Center fundraising

In July 2008, The Washington Post reported that Rangel was soliciting donations to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York from corporations with business interests before his Ways and Means Committee, and was doing so using Congressional letterhead. Such companies and individuals included AIG, Donald Trump, and Nabors Industries, and by this time Rangel’s efforts had helped raise $12 million of the $30 million goal for the center. Government watchdog groups and ethics experts criticized Rangel’s actions, with the dean of the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management saying Rangel “has crossed the line”.
[…]
Renting Harlem apartments at below-market rates

The New York Times reported in July 2008 that Rangel rents four apartments at below-market rates in the Lenox Terrace complex in Harlem. It reported that Rangel paid $3,894 monthly for all four apartments in 2007. In contrast, the landlord’s going rate for similar apartments in the building was as high as $8,125 monthly. Three adjacent apartments were combined to create his 2,500-square-foot (230 m2) home. A fourth unit is used as a campaign office, which violates city and state regulations that require rent-stabilized apartments to be used as a primary residence. Rangel received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from one of the landlord’s owners, according to the paper. Rangel said his rent does not affect his representation of his constituents.

Congressional ethics experts said the difference in rent between what Rangel was paying and market rates, an estimated $30,000 per year, could be construed as a gift, exceeding the $100 House of Representatives gift limit. In late July, the House voted 254–138 to table a resolution by Republican Minority Leader John Boehner that would have censured Rangel for having “dishonored himself and brought discredit to the House”, by occupying the four apartments.

House parking garage

A September 2008 New York Post article reported that Rangel had been using a House parking garage as free storage space for his Mercedes-Benz for years, in apparent violation of Congressional rules. Under IRS regulations, free parking (here, worth $290 a month) is considered imputed income, and must be declared on tax returns. In July 2010 the House Ethics Committee ruled that Rangel had committed no violation, since in practice the parking policy was only applied to Congressional staff and not to members themselves.

Taxes on Dominican villa rental income

Rangel was accused of failing to report income from his rental of a beachside villa he owns in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. A three-bedroom, three-bath unit, it has rented out for as much as $1,100 per night in the busiest tourist season.

Labor lawyer Theodore Kheel, a principal investor in the resort development company and frequent campaign contributor to Rangel, had encouraged him to purchase the villa. Rangel purchased it in 1988 for $82,750. He financed $53,737.50 of the purchase price for seven years at an interest rate of 10.5%, but was one of several early investors whose interest payments were waived in 1990.

In September 2008, Rangel’s attorney, Lanny Davis, disclosed that Rangel had failed to report on his tax returns or in congressional disclosure forms $75,000 in income he had received for renting his Dominican villa. That month, Rangel paid $10,800 to cover his liability for the related back taxes. He had owed back taxes for at least three years. The Ways and Means Committee writes the U.S. tax code, and as such his failure to pay taxes himself led to heavy criticism.

A September 14, 2008, New York Times editorial called for Rangel to step down temporarily from his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee while his ethical problems were investigated.

On September 24, 2008, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate whether Rangel had violated its code of conduct or any law or other regulation related to his performance of his duties. On November 23, 2008, The New York Post reported that Rangel took a “homestead” tax break on his Washington, DC, house for years, while simultaneously occupying multiple New York City rent-stabilized apartments, “possibly violating laws and regulations in both cases.” In January 2009, Republican Representative John R. Carter introduced the Rangel Rule Act of 2009 (H.R. 735), a tongue-in-cheek proposal that would have allowed all taxpayers to not pay penalties and interest on back taxes, in reference to Rangel not yet having paid his.

Defense of tax shelter

Rangel receives book written by US Consul General Gregory Slayton, in Bermuda in 2009

In November 2008, following reports by The New York Times, Republican Congressmen asked the House Ethics Committee to look into Rangel’s defense of a tax shelter approved by his Ways and Means Committee. One of the four companies that benefited from the loophole was Nabors Industries, which opened headquarters in Bermuda as a foreign corporation. Under the loophole, Nabors receives tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks. In 2004, Rangel had led opposition to the tax breaks. Nabors donated $1 million in 2006, and $100,000 later, to the City College of New York school named after Rangel.

Its CEO said the donations were unrelated to Rangel’s February 2007 promise to oppose closing the loophole. He denied there was any quid pro quo, and called the article about it “malarkey”. Rangel said The New York Times had ignored facts and explanations, and denied the charges. The House Ethics Committee voted in December 2008, to expand its investigation of Rangel to the matter. Eventually the Ethics Committee would not make a specific charge over this matter but did include it in the supporting documentation for the overall charge that Rangel had solicited Rangel Center donations from those with business before his committee.

Unreported assets and income

On September 15, 2008, it was disclosed that: a) Rangel had omitted from his financial reports details regarding his sale of a Washington, DC home; b) discrepancies existed in the values he listed for a property he owns in Sunny Isles, Florida (varying from $50,000 to $500,000); and c) inconsistencies appeared in his investment fund reporting. He apologized, saying “I owed my colleagues and the public adherence to a higher standard of care, not only as a member of Congress, but even more as the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.” Republicans called for his removal as chair. Rangel said there was no justification for that, as the mistakes were errors of omission, that would not justify loss of his position.

In August 2009, Rangel amended his 2007 financial disclosure form to report more than $500,000 in previously unreported assets and income. That doubled his reported net worth. Unreported assets included a federal credit union checking account of between $250,000 and $500,000, several investment accounts, stock in Yum! Brands and PepsiCo, and property in Glassboro, New Jersey. Rangel also had not paid property taxes on two of his New Jersey properties, which he was required by law to do.

The ethics issues led by December 2008 to some loss of standing for Rangel, to Republicans trying to tie him to all Democrats, and to some Democrats privately saying it would be best if Rangel stepped down from his Ways and Means post. In late 2008 and again in September 2009, the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Rangel one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress. Media pieces compared Rangel’s woes with those of ethically challenged past Ways and Means chairs Wilbur Mills and Dan Rostenkowski. Pelosi, a long-time friend of Rangel’s, withheld any possible action against Rangel pending the House Ethics Committee report. Rangel evinced impatience with that body, saying “I don’t have a complaint now, except that it’s taking too goddamn long to review this thing and report back.” On September 3, 2009, The Washington Post called on Rangel to resign his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, given the ethical issues that had surfaced. Another Republican resolution was put forth to force him out of his chairmanship. However, Rangel stayed in place and mostly maintained his role in House leadership and policy discussions, including the Obama health care reform plan (opposition to which, he suggested, was partly due to racial prejudice against President Obama). Nevertheless, his influence was diminished by the questions surrounding him.

Caribbean trips

In May 2009, the non-profit National Legal and Policy Center filed an ethics complaint against Rangel and other members of Congress for trips, taken in 2007 and 2008 to Caribbean islands. The trips had been sponsored by Carib News Foundation, a New York non-profit funded by corporations with interests before Congress and the Ways and Means Committee. This, combined with the duration of the trips, seemed to violate House rules. The Ethics Committee agreed the following month to investigate the matter.

On February 26, 2010, the Ethics Committee issued its report. It determined that Rangel had violated House gift rules, by accepting reimbursement for his travel to the conferences. It found that he had not known of the contributions, but concluded that he was still responsible for them and was required to repay their cost. Five other members were cleared of having violated rules, but were also required to repay their trips. Rangel disagreed with the committee’s finding, saying:

Because they were my staff members who knew, one of whom has been discharged, [the committee has decided] that I should have known. Common sense dictates that members of Congress should not be held responsible for what could be the wrongdoing, or mistakes, or errors of staff.

Pelosi said she would not take any action against Rangel pending further committee findings, as his staff had been more at fault and he had not broken any law. The Ethics Committee continued to investigate the charges against Rangel relating to obtaining rent-stabilized apartments, fundraising, and failure to disclose rental income from his Dominican villa.

Stepping aside as House Ways and Means Chair

After a February 2010 House Ethics Committee report criticizing him for taking sponsored Caribbean trips, the White House backed off its prior support of Rangel somewhat, and within days 14 Democratic members of Congress publicly called on Rangel to step aside as Ways and Means chair. Other Democrats were concerned that Rangel would impede Democrats’ efforts to maintain their majority in the 2010 House elections, but did not say anything publicly out of respect and personal affection for Rangel.

Momentum quickly built against Rangel, with 30 or more Democrats planning to oppose his continued chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee, in a full House vote being pushed by Republicans. Democrat Paul Hodes of New Hampshire noted:

I think we’re in a zero-tolerance atmosphere, and I think … Washington should be held to the highest ethical standards. I have the greatest admiration for Mr. Rangel’s service to this country. He’s been a great public servant. This is very, very unfortunate, but I think it’s necessary.

On March 3, 2010, Rangel said he would take a leave of absence as chair, pending issuance of the Ethics Committee’s report. Pelosi granted his request, but whether such a leave was possible was unclear and the House Speaker pro Tempore said that a resignation had taken place and that Rangel was no longer chair. Observers opined that it was unlikely that Rangel would ever be able to regain the position. Several Democrats said they would return or donate to charity campaign contributions given to them by Rangel. Representative Sander M. Levin of Michigan took over as acting chair.

House ethics committee charges

On July 22, 2010, a bipartisan, four-member investigative subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee indicated it had “substantial reason to believe” that Rangel had violated a range of ethics rules relating to the other charges. The matter was referred to another, newly created, special subcommittee to rule on the findings.

Rangel negotiated with the Ethics Committee. But participants in the talks characterized him as unwilling to admit wrongdoing in connection with several of the charges, and anxious about preserving his legacy. No settlement was reached.

On July 29, 2010, Rangel was charged by the committee with 13 counts of violating House rules and federal laws. Rangel’s lawyers continued to insist that he had not intentionally violated any law or regulation, had not handed out political favors, and had not misused his office for personal financial gain. Rangel somberly said only this on the day the charges were announced:

Sixty years ago, I survived a Chinese attack in North Korea. And as a result I wrote a book that, having survived that, that I haven’t had a bad day since. Today I have to reassess that.

So that’s your bar, Republicans. Unless you are significantly more corrupt, dishonest, and self-serving that that ( I don’t see how it is possible to have a lower moral standard, so I’ll leave that off the list) then you simply need to stand up and say:

“Today I announce my Resignation; subject to the Wrangle Weiner rule, it shall be effective upon the resignation from office of Rep. [fill in the blank]; for until he resigns, I’ve clearly not fallen below the accepted standards of this august body. Thank you.”

In response to any questions, simply cite the precedent of Mr. Rangle or Mr. Weiner, as appropriate needed.

Weiner Rises To The Occasion

For anyone not aware of it, Rep. Weiner sent semi-nude pictures of himself to young women who were not his wife. Then lied about it. Repeatedly. In no uncertain terms.

Well, finally, after enough poking and pulling by the body of journalists watching his every expression for a clue as to what might get a rise out of him, Weiner “did the right thing” and admitted that he was the guy who took and sent the pictures (as if anyone seriously believed you could have a “shoulder height looking down” picture of your bulging shorts and NOT know who took it… then again, depending on how often that happens and how many folks you’ve “friended” that way…)

But still, Weiner stood firm. He refuses to quit before he’s done what he entered congress to do. Never mind all the attention, or perhaps because of it, and never mind how much of a grip of the issue is held by the press, he refuses to quit now. I fear it will take much more attention from the press, and perhaps even from the public at large, to wear out his resolve.

At any rate, I’m pretty sure things will come to a messy end eventually. Then we can all calm down and forget about how much of a disappointment it was and resolve never to do that again…

Until They Leave

So, until those two jokers are “on the street”, I strongly advise any Republicans With Issues, to stop handing free seats to the Democrats. Just cite the Wrangle Weiner rule and “press on”.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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21 Responses to The Wrangle Weiner Rule

  1. KevinM says:

    I`m afraid its a constituency issue.
    Those who voted for Weiner would probably vote for him again anyway.
    The Republican candidates are aware that their own voters will not show up for their next campaign.

    Amoral sociopaths one and all, the two big teams are merely farming different crops.

  2. George says:

    So Weiner stood right there and said he was hacked. Said he was “the victim”. Called Breitbart a liar.

    Remember that next time he says ANYTHING else. The man can look a camera right in the lens and lie his ass off. He lied to us, he probably lied to his wife,

    Imagine if things had gone this way:

    “Yep, that’s my “Willie”. I meant to private tweet but accidentally public tweeted it and it sure is embarrassing but hey, we’re all adults, the wife is okay with it, have I committed a crime?”

    In that case he would certainly be a creep but he wouldn’t be a lying creep. I might still be inclined to believe things he might say had it come off like that. As it stands now, who is going to believe a single thing this man has to say on a campaign?

  3. Level_Head says:

    The expression “penetrating insight” has been rendered impotent by the subject matter, but I like your reasoning. I don’t much like the result, though. Higher standards are not simply “higher than the current leftists”—or they mean little.

    What has struck me about this has been the number of progressives who have found some way to excuse, justify, or downplay this member’s decline.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  4. George says:

    And another thing. This is yet one more example to toss on a growing pile of other examples of why I find it hard to understand why average good American citizens can associate themselves with the Democratic Party. I see that entire party as a group of “the end justifies the means” people who will do whatever it takes to further their agenda. This lying is becoming typical behavior for Democrats who have increasingly relied on a free pass from the press in this country to do whatever they want and never get called on it.

    Had it not been for Breibart, this story would have probably faded away as the usual suspects worked overtime to deprive the story of any “oxygen”. How any average, every day, mainstreet person can align themselves with these people and look themselves in the mirror every day is something that fascinates me. It is a party of thugs, liars, and crooks.

  5. George says:

    What has struck me about this has been the number of progressives who have found some way to excuse, justify, or downplay this member’s decline.

    Yeah, like Kos attempting to claim that yesterday’s press conference by Weiner was fake.

  6. H.R. says:

    @Level_Head

    Well, now… that comment was pregnant with meaning.

    I think Weiner is softening up a bit, though.

  7. George says:

    It won’t be long before he is little more than a shriveled memory .

  8. Earle Williams says:

    Come on guys, you know he’s a stand up guy. Don’t be so hardon him.

  9. kuhnkat says:

    Breitbart has announced that he has an x-rated Weiner pic in his possesion!! Glad I can’t run across it accidentally!!

  10. PhilJourdan says:

    @Level_Head – if your post was filled with any more double entendre’s, it would be illegal!

    On the serious side, I came here loaded for bear, and KevinM beat me to the punch. That in a nutshell makes the Weiner/Wrangle Rule obsolete. Wrangle has already been reelected by a landslide after his pecadillos were aired in public. I suspect Weiner (it is actually supposed to be pronounced Whiner – since the second vowel in an ie/ei combination in German is the one sounded out) will be as well.

    Why? Democrats have no morals and neither do their voters.

  11. H.R. says:

    @PhilJourdan et. al.

    Anyone else remember this line from way back?

    “He may be a crook, but he’s our crook.”

    That’s why buying the drinks on election day, glad-handing, and passing out the sweetheart deals still works. It was ever thus.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Kevin M and PhilJourdan:

    I think you may have skipped over one of the more subtile points of the Wrangle Weiner rule: It keeps the general population aware of the “others” issues. Sure, the Republican is unlikely to win re-election; but when the election comes around, so someone else can be running instead. Until that time, the “incumbent” can say that he HAS tendered his resignation, and DOES understand the wrongdoing, but he’s just letting the LONG STANDING WORSE GUYS exit first…

    It removes the “automatic runoff during horrid news gimme” from the Democratic side, re-airs their dirty laundry (that desperately needs continuous airing) and turns every “Senator, why don’t you resign?” into a “I have tendered my resignation, the question is ‘why hasn’t Wrangle?’…”

    At present, the Democrats get a “walkover” on any Republican pecadillo, this just re-levels things a bit. Besides, it would be GREAT fun ;-)

    @Kuhnkat:

    Yes, one must praise the media for their modesty and restraint in assuring that it isn’t thrust upon us, against our will shoved in our face… (Oh, wait, that was an IMF guy…)

    @George:

    What I’d like to know is where are all the Democratic Women’s Movement folks? Here you have a politically powerful MAN sending semi-nude or worse pictures of himself to young women… I mean, come on, how steriotypical is THAT? Why are they not out protesting this bums hustle of young women? Where are the Sexual Harrasement suits?

    @Level_Head:

    The reason for the “Tender on condition” is to emphasize that one HAS tendered a… or perhaps I ought to say “presented his”….. no… um, … “Written and turned in” his resignation while the other has not. It allows a Moral un-leveling while it does level out the results… and, of course, the “others” can always choose to have him leave simply by resigning themselves… Basically, he says “I’ll do it if you do it”… or something like that…

  13. PhilJourdan says:

    @EM,

    You have a point (your subtitle subtext), but I doubt it is enough to make a difference. The Republican will lose (because his/her supporter wants good governance, not big governance), and the democrat will win (because his/her supporters are on the dole).

    I like you idea, I just do not think it will make any difference. But at least it would be fun!

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @PhilJordan:

    I don’t think the Republican will lose as I don’t think he would ever run again. I’d see him just finishing out his turn and keeping Wrangle and Weiner in the spotlight during that time, then some OTHER Republican running for that seat as he slinks away at the end of term…

    For exacty the reasons you cite.

    But it would be fun, AND I think it would avoid the “Democrats get a special election right when Republicans look worst” free seat every so often…

  15. Jim says:

    The only problem for us with Europe is that Barry and Co. now want to help bail out Greece with money we don’t have. It bad enough that he pi**ed away 2 trillion plus on ‘stimulus’ here, now they have to throw our money at ne’er-do-wells. Someone needs to find a good reason to impeach Barry – I’m sure some creative thinking could help here.

  16. pascvaks says:

    All things considered, there’s really only about 100 million people you can possibly blame for the ethics and conduct of the US Congress. They are the one’s I’d like to see deported. Oh well, dream on McDuff!

    No, what this country really needs is another Superdupper Great Depression. It would be deemed “proverbial justice” for a few generations that seem have no idea what I’m talking about, and instill a little backbone and character in the next generation, the kids, who are going to have to pay for all our stupid mistakes. Every so often we elect a Jim’mah and, look out World, he’s a real dum’mah.

  17. pouncer says:

    It’s all a good argument for term limits. Or other limitations on the continued empowerment of the unworthy.

    Personally, I suggest the “representatives” of the US House of Representatives be chosen by lottery from a pool of citizens who have succeeded in rendering verdicts after serving on local juries during the past two years.

    Real flakes — racists, dummies, people who dress up in Star Trek regalia — get excluded from juries early on by the judge. Those with more subtle problems get excluded by one or the other lawyer during “voir dire”. Those who can’t reach a consensus, and “hang” a jury, exclude themselvs from the pool. Those who avoid the major duties of citizenship such as jury service exclude themselves from other duties, and privileges, likewise.

    Oh,we’d still get goofballs. We’re talking about human beings, after all.

    But those who represent me would be a lot more representative — and after two years service, would have every expectation of returning to real normal life living under the rules they helped shape

    The SENATE can be the experts, to the extent we need experts. But the Representatives should be really representative — and at present, that is not happening.

  18. jim says:

    It’s notable that Texas leads the nation in job creation. This might be because Texas has no career politicians in the legislature. The legislature meets once every two years for 140 days and they don’t get paid much for the privilege. This means they have to have a real job or run a real business to make a living. This keeps them tied to the real world.

    http://www.txddc.state.tx.us/public_policy/txlegis.asp

  19. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Texas does not have public planning of private works. pg

  20. PhilJourdan says:

    @jim – Virginia is similar. They do meet every year, but for only 60 and 45 days respectively (60 after a state election, 45 the years there are none). In addition, they do get paid – $12k a year!

    I was working with some clown from NG and told him he would have to wait until after the GA (General Assembly) to make his changes, He asked when they would adjourn, and I told him the end of February – he then asked when they were returning – I told him next year. He did not believe me!

  21. GregO says:

    Pouncer – you also get tossed off a jury if you are an engineer, or have friends or relatives in law-enforcement. Hmmm. We live in a weird world.

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