Jillian Bandes
Rep. Charlie Rangel was stubborn and indignant after he racked up thirteen ethics violations that related directly to the area of expertise (finance) he was elected to protect.

In a long-winded speech on Tuesday, Rangel said he made common mistakes that you or I could've made. He mixed up his stationary. He never needed that extra donor-provided office anyway. His accountant screwed him over.

To ice the cake, he threw himself an 80th birthday party last night that concentrated on -- you guessed it -- raising money for himself.
"This sure ain't no funeral, is it?" Rangel boasted, as a parade of high-profile politicians turned up for the gala.
Hundreds of people attended the event at the posh New York Plaza hotel, including New York City Mayor Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Gov. David Paterson. Entertainers Dionne Warwick and Chuck Jackson filled in for Aretha Franklin. Rev. Al Sharpton trotted a religious defense of Rangel.

Absent from the discussion was the fact that as the head of the Ways and Means Committee, Rangel was the one guy who was supposed to be doing all of his finances right. Stationary and accountants are nothing more than whiny excuses that show just how defenseless his violations were.

Following that act by rubbing it in the public's face via a lavish party was even worse. You couldn't invent a better way to show the length to which a politician will go to avoid being held accountable to ethical standards. Lets hope New York constituents sock it to him this November.

Jillian Bandes

Jillian Bandes is the National Political Reporter for Townhall.com