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Powerful Pol Too Cozy with Power

By Harry Smith

Charlie Rangel served in the Army during the Korean War. He came back home, got himself through law school and eventually became the congressman from Harlem. Rangel is his own version of the American dream -- his raspy voice, his natty dress, his smile and familiarity with just about everybody. Charlie was a gifted politician. As Chairman of the House on Ways and Means Committee, he became one of the most powerful people in Washington. Ways and Means controls the purse strings. And Charlie knew how to make deals on both sides of the aisle. But, like others before him and surely others to follow, he became a little too accustomed to the trappings of power. An ethics subcommittee found him guilty of breaking eleven separate rules involving his personal finances and fundraising efforts. Rangel is beloved by many. But, his arguments that he had neither the time nor the money to mount a defense seem tired and empty.

Just a Minute...I'm Harry Smith, CBS News

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