OTTUMWA, Iowa – Rep. David Loebsack’s vote to block an ethics investigation of a powerful Democratic leader accused of tax avoidance and other ethical lapses was pushed back to the forefront Thursday when the House Ethics Committee voted to send the case to a trial of the full House.
“It’s said that justice delayed is justice denied. David Loebsack did his best to deny justice in September 2008 when he voted to block the investigation into Rep. Charles Rangel’s alleged wrongdoing,” Republican candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks said today. “It took a long time – too long – but the House Ethics Committee’s decision on Thursday is also an indictment that David Loebsack was too eager to fall right in with politics-as-usual crowd.”
When Loebsack was elected in 2006 he told voters he was going to reform Washington. He hadn’t even completed his first term when he accepted a $5,000 contribution from Rangel and voted to block the ethics probe into Rangel’s activities. It was only when Miller-Meeks challenged Loebsack about the contribution that he sent the money to a charity.
The House Ethics Committee did not immediately specify the charges against Rangel. However, the New York Democrat who is fourth in House seniority, was accused in 2008 of using a rent-subsidized apartment as a fundraising office, failing to pay taxes on at least $75,000 of rental 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. As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which he resigned in February, Rangel had been in charge of writing the nation’s tax policy.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t have had to wait two years for the House Ethics Committee to act. They wouldn’t have had to wait that long if David Loebsack hadn’t been standing in the way because he was so out of touch with his constituents’ values,” Miller-Meeks said. “This is why it’s time for a change in Washington. This is why we need to replace David Loebsack with someone who has the courage to stand up for right.”
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