As you might recall, Rangel made news beginning in 2008 over allegations of ethics violations and failures to comply with U.S. tax laws. In November 2010, the House Ethics Committee found Rangel guilty of 11 counts of violating House ethics rules and the full House approved a sanction of censure against Rangel the following month. Rangel was also one of the first members of Congress to come out in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement and made visits to the group’s encampment in Zuccotti Park.
Obama praised Rangel, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, earlier this year during a fundraising event in New York City. “I also want to acknowledge a couple of outstanding members of Congress with us here today — Congressman Charlie Rangel and Congressman Jerry Nadler are in the house,” he said.
Rangel is now circulating fliers featuring a photo of himself with President Obama. But when White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked to comment on Obama’s support for Rangel, Carney responded: “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
Amidst the ethics controversies, Obama told CBS News in 2010 that it was time for Rangel to step down: “I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served– his constituents very well. But these– allegations are very troubling,” Obama said. “And he’ll– he’s somebody who’s at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I’m sure that– what he wants is to be able to– end his career with dignity. And my hope is that– it happens. “