Speaker Says Rangel Situation Is ‘Not Good’

Posted February 28, 2010 at 9:33am

Updated: 12:06 p.m.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told ABC’s “This Week” that the violation of House rules by Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) was “not good” but said she wants to see the ethics committee complete its other investigations of Rangel.

“It is a public admonishment,” Pelosi said of the ethics committee report that found Rangel to have violated House rules in regard to a corporate-paid trip to the Caribbean. “It said he did not knowingly violate House rules. So that gives him some comfort.”

But Pelosi said later, “The fact is, is that what Mr. Rangel has been admonished for is not good. It was a violation of the rules of the House. It was not a — something that jeopardized our country in any way.”

Pelosi declined to say whether she would continue to support Rangel keeping his position if further admonishments come from the ethics committee, but said she hopes the various investigations into Rangel are finished soon.

Pelosi also agreed to reporter Elizabeth Vargas’ statement about Rangel’s situation that “it doesn’t pass the smell test.”

“No, it doesn’t,” Pelosi said. “No, it doesn’t.”

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) used the Rangel flap to tee off on Pelosi and her claim to be running the most ethical Congress in history.

“She’s breaking that promise every day,” Cantor said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Cantor and other Republican leaders have repeatedly called on Rangel to step down as chairman.

Cantor said that “the American people would say right away, ‘Chairman Rangel should step away,'” he said, adding, “this is only the tip of the iceberg.”