Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal

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Pelosi’s Stark Contrast

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The buzzards are circling over embattled House Ways & Means Chairman Charles Rangel.  

Speaker Pelosi’s defense of the veteran New York Congressman, who’s on the hot seat for undeclared income and corporate-paid trips to the Caribbean, has been tepid at best.  

Now, House Republicans are pushing a resolution, and a vote later this week, to strip Rangel of his committee chair.  

What if Republicans got their way?  

All signs point to Stark to chair Ways & Means?

 

Pelosi would have to decide if the Ways & Means gig would go to the man next in line for the job fellow California Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark, the chamber’s resident atheist and resident loose cannon.  

That is, unless she skips over Stark.  

Which is what happened a few years ago when Rep. Henry Waxman jumped over Rep. John Dingell in a hostile takeover of the mega-powerful House Energy and Commerce committee.  

Of course, that was one very powerful Californian (Pelosi) looking out for another (Waxman) — a stark contrast to what could be Stark’s fate.  

Here’s what the Los Angeles Times had to say about Stark last October, in looking at Ways & Means’ life after Rangel:  

“He once called the American Medical Assn. a bunch of “greedy troglodytes.” He assailed one Republican colleague as “a whore for the insurance industry,” called another a “fascist” and a third a “fruitcake.” Recently, when a pesky journalist asked the same question too many times, Stark threatened to throw him out the window.  

“Oh yes, oh yes, I personalize it and I shouldn’t,” Stark says, slouched in a chair, confronting what he calls “my outbursts” like a chagrined schoolboy who might do it again anyway. “A member has a right to have a position different from mine without my challenging their mental capacity, their integrity, their manhood, their womanhood.”  

As for other “outbursts” . . .  

While debating the Iraq invasion, he accused Republicans of sending soldiers “to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”
 
And he said that Eloise Anderson, a former California welfare administrator (and a past welfare mother), would “kill children if she had her way.”

So Stark doesn’t play nice with others.  

But there’s a bigger problem: he’s no ethics puritan either.  

Recently, as Politico reports, Stark “was cleared for allegedly taking advantage of a tax credit for Maryland residents. He was accused of abusing the homestead tax credit on his Maryland home — a credit that limits tax assessment increases on a primary residence. Stark’s primary residence is in California, but he filled out the application for his home in Maryland.”
 
Politico continues: “The interview with the Office of Congressional Ethics, which refers cases to the House ethics committee, didn’t go terribly well, according to the report. Stark initially said he didn’t know what the tax credit was, but later said he did not want to discuss what he knew. Then he later said he knew the application specified one must be registered to vote in Maryland to apply. He acknowledged that neither he nor his wife are Maryland voters.
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Written by Bill Whalen

March 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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