Rep. Charlie Rangel, who was reprimanded by the House Ethics committee this week for coporate paid junkets, has said he will not voluntarily relinquish his Chairmanship of the House Ways & Means Committee.
That puts Speaker Pelosi in a tough position. She had publicly rebuked Rep. Tom DeLay for his ethical transgressions (and rightly so at the time, although her motives were far more political than ethical). Now, when a senior member of the Democratic leadership (and black to boot) makes the same transgressions, logic dictates that Pelosi should remove Rangel.
But my guess is that she won't--she can't without getting the "racist" tag. But if she doesn't she gets saddled with the "hypocrite" moniker. Not that I don't think Pelosi has already been hypocritical--but the more moderate members of her caucus probably aren't going to take this kind of public sting. Junior members are already in trouble, the last thing they will need is scandal on top of leadership incompetence.
My guess is that there will be a rash of returned PAC checks to Rangel's leadership PAC from young, moderate, and endangered Democrats. Let the distancing begin.