Rangel Jurist Won’t Be Giving Back Campaign Donations Received from Rangel

Posted on August 5, 2010

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Although Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), claims that the upcoming ethics trials of Representatives Rangel and Waters will prove how Democrats have “strengthened the ethics process,”  his claim is hard to believe.  This is especially true when one of the Democrats sitting on the jury hearing the evidence won’t be returning donations he received from Rangel.

From The Hill:

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) has no plans to give up the $3,000 in donations he took from embattled Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) even though he sits on the jury considering evidence that the former Ways and Means Committee chairman broke ethics rules.

Butterfield is one of a bipartisan group of eight members on the ethics committee who will weigh the allegations against Rangel.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), another member of the adjudicatory subcommittee, gave back at least $10,000 in campaign donations he received from Rangel last year when charges began to mount against the congressman.

The other two Democrats serving on the jury committee have not received any donations from Rangel.

But, that’s okay, because I’m sure  Representative Butterfield will be fair and not let the donations skew his judgement (can you hear my sarcasm?).  Why not believe this?  He’s already had a lot of experience investigating ethics charges:

Butterfield has had plenty of experience this year looking into ethics charges involving CBC members. He chaired a House ethics probe into a corporate-sponsored Caribbean trip attended by Rangel and five other CBC members. Butterfield attended the same trip in 2005, before Democrats prohibited corporate sponsorship of travel lasting more than two days.

Despite the connections to the trip, Butterfield vowed to lead a fair investigation. In the end, the probe formally admonished Rangel for participating but found no wrongdoing on the part of the other CBC members who attended.

Well, golly gee, it sure seems the whole ethics process has been strengthened, doesn’t it?   We have members sitting in judgement over other members from whom they’ve directly benefitted.  Any bets on how this will turn out?