Charles Rangel has contributed in the past to our nation, our state, the people of the 15th Congressional District and to the Democratic Party. For that reason, in light of the very serious findings by the ethics committee, he must step aside and announce that he will not run for re-election -- or he will cost our party seats in November.
For the first time in eight years, the House ethics committee has taken a very serious step forward in ethics investigations, calling for the appointment of a special subcommittee to rule on the findings -- a step last taken when former Rep. James Traficant was convicted of taking bribes.
While Rep. Rangel still should be accorded the right to defend himself before a trial of a special subcommittee, the threat to the future of the Democratic Party is today. Rep. Rangel will be, as I argued when I announced my candidacy for the 15th Congressional District, the face of Washington corruption in Republican advertising and campaigns across the nation. Rep. Rangel will, without a doubt, cost the Democratic Party seats in the November election, if he is the nominee of the party.
By announcing that he will not stand for re-election, Rep. Rangel will allow the people of the 15th Congressional District to choose a new Congressman who will be able to spend 100 percent of his or her time defending the interests of the people, not his own political career.
Our party must be clear--we must not allow even the hint of impropriety to be part of our ranks. The people, the voters, are sick and tired of dysfunction. They are fed up with corruption--real and moral. They want leaders who they can trust.
It is time for Rep. Rangel to put party before personal power and prestige.