OTTUMWA, Iowa – New York Democrat Charles Rangel’s decision to temporarily step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee today has “saved Rep. David Loebsack from another embarrassing vote in support of an ethically challenged, old-style politician,” Republican congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks said today.
Loebsack, a Mount Vernon Democrat who was elected in 2006 by bemoaning the “culture of corruption” in Washington, D.C., voted in 2008 to block an ethics investigation of Rangel and accepted a $5,000 contribution from Rangel. That investigation centered on several charges against Rangel, including allegations that he failed to pay taxes on income from a Caribbean villa he owns and using his House stationery to solicit contributions to a City University of New York school to be named in his honor.
Rangel, who later claimed he didn’t understand federal tax laws, has served 20 terms in Congress and chairs the committee that writes federal tax laws. This latest ethics investigation involves Rangel’s acceptance of corporation-paid trips to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008. Rangel said he didn’t know corporations were paying for his travel.
“Charles Rangel says he’s temporarily stepping aside as Ways and Means chair because he doesn’t want to endanger the re-election chances of his fellow Democrats. That’s what Washington has come to – not that he’s going to permanently step aside because it’s the right thing to do but that he’s going to temporarily step aside so his pals get re-elected,” Miller-Meeks said. “The truth is that Nancy Pelosi pressured Rangel to step aside so vulnerable Democrats weren’t forced into the position of voting to support him. One of those Democrats is David Loebsack, who is already on record as supporting Rangel in 2008. David Loebsack is breathing a sigh of relief today because he knows Iowans want the mess in Washington cleaned up – and all he’s done is contribute to the problem with his get-along, go-along mentality.”
In 2006, Loebsack said he was “committed to genuine reforms that protect our rights and ensure that elected officials act appropriately. So long as Washington continues with politics as usual, few of the changes we as a nation need to move us forward are likely to occur.”
Miller-Meeks said today, “As long as we’re reflecting on past comments, let me repeat what I said about David Loebsack on Sept. 17, 2008: ‘His words in 2006 were correct. Unfortunately, his actions have never measured up and that’s why David Loebsack needs to go. I’ll bring about the real change we need to move us forward.’ Those words are truer in 2010 than they were two years ago. It’s time we replace David Loebsack.”
Miller-Meeks, whose criticism of Loebsack in 2008 forced him to donate Rangel’s $5,000 to charity, announced her candidacy for Congress in December and was the 2008 Republican nominee in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Growing up poor, she worked her way through college, became an Army nurse and soon after graduated medical school. Miller-Meeks is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a former president of the Iowa Medical Society. She owned and operated a small business – an ophthalmology practice – up until last year when she gave it up to run full-time for Congress. Miller-Meeks and her family live in Ottumwa.
# # # #