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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 12/07/2011

Rangel is still a Caribbean island’s best friend

Rep. Charles Rangel — helping out the Caribbeans. (Alex Brandon - AP)
One would think that Rep. Charlie Rangel would be all too eager to forget the Caribbean--or at least that he would want to distance himself from the lovely-but-problematic (for him) region.

After all, the House Ethics Committee last year dinged the New York Democrat for taking improper corporate-funded trips to the island paradise back in 2007 and 2008. The taboo jaunts were among the ethics violations that put a cloud over the lawmaker and forced him to surrender the chairman’s gavel on the powerful House Ways and Means committee. Ultimately, Rangel was censured by the House for other ethics breeches.

But it seems the New Yorker’s affinity for those Caribbean breezes runs too deep: Rangel introduced legislation this week that would help several Caribbean nations by extending a tariff system that gives an advantage to ethanol gas produced in those countries.

If we figured he would tone down his support for the lovely islands after the ethics committee slap (our colleagues at the Reliable Source noted back in 2009 that “Caribbean” was the word Rangel most used in the official records of Congress), we thought wrong. Rangel remains “a friend of the Caribbean,” a spokeswoman tells us, for his work on “equity and fair trade agreements.”

By  |  11:46 AM ET, 12/07/2011

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