Ron Paul is well-known as a Washington outsider, a libertarian politician who has built an army of supporters committed to fighting the GOP establishment and Democratic status quo. Yet, new evidence suggests Ron Paul may be supporting Charlie Rangel in his 22nd House run in the New York primary on Tuesday.
To be clear, Paul has not issued a public statement in support of Rangel in this election, nor has he weighed in on any of the other candidates in the race. Rangel faces a stiff primary challenge from from state Senator Adriano Espaillat, Clinton administration veteran Clyde Williams, Harlem activist Craig Schley, and businesswoman Joyce Johnson. As of the time of this writing, Rangel leads the other candidates by 20% with 30% of precincts reporting.
However, Ron Paul has a history of supporting Rangel through his tumultous last few years in the House. In 2009, Ron Paul seems to have come out against forcing Rangel to leave the Ways and Means (Taxes) Committee due to his problem paying his taxes. At the time, the Democrats stomped down Rep. John Carter's resolution calling for Rangel to be ousted from the Committee and only a few Republicans crossed the partisan line to let Rangel keep his seat. Among them was Ron Paul.
Flash forward to 2010, the House of Representatives voted 332 to 79 to censure Rangel for violations of the body's ethics laws. That outcome brought an end to an investigatoin into Rangel, who was found to have violated 11 of the House ethics rules. Rangel used Congressional resources to raise money for an education center bearing his name; failed to report taxable income on a rental villa in the Dominican Republic; filed inaccurate financial disclosure forms; and used a rent-controlled apartment in Harlem as a campaign office.
Despite these serious charges, several members from both parties spoke in support of changing the punishment from censure to the last serious reprimand. And Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), a member of the ethics committee, proposed a motion to lessen the sanction from censure to reprimand that ultimately failed by a vote of 146-267. It had the support of 143 Democrats and three Republicans: Reps. Pete King (NY), Ron Paul (TX) and Don Young (AK).
Unless I'm missing something, Paul's support of Rangel would seem to go against everything the libertarian candidate believes in. Support for Rangel doesn't quite fit with the "Washington outsider" image that Paul seeks to uphold.