CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY: Ethics Case Knocks Against Rangel’s Tax Acumen. “The success of much of President Obama’s agenda might hinge on the heavy lifting of powerful Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. But the veteran New York lawmaker’s political muscle might be strained in the coming months as his personal finances and fund-raising remain under investigation by the House ethics committee.”

Plus, transparency issues:

Oh, the sheer irony of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Nancy Pelosi complaining that the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) lacks transparency. These three Democratic congressional leaders were among the most vocal in seconding President Bush¹s warning last fall that economic catastrophe was right around the corner if the administration¹s $700 billion TARP proposal wasn¹t adopted as soon as possible. And Frank, Dodd and Pelosi were among those cheering loudest when Congress approved TARP over conservative objections that the bill handed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson $700 billion to spend as he pleased, with barely a whiff of transparency or accountability in the bargain. . . .

It is particularly galling to hear Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, complain that “President Bush failed to be transparent with Americans about how their hard-earned dollars were being spent.” This is the same Dodd who promised last July ­– last July – to make public all documents relating to a series of sweetheart loans he received from the Countrywide Financial, one of the biggest miscreants in the subprime mortgage debacle. Yet, 216 days later, Dodd still has released no papers.

And counting!