Greene Pushes Meek on Rangel - NBC New York

Greene Pushes Meek on Rangel



    Greene Pushes Meek on Rangel
    Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., left, walks with his chief of staff George Henry as he heads for a vote on on the House floor on Thursday.

    Florida Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene challenged Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) Sunday to join him in calling on embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) to resign.

    In a conference call, the billionaire and political neophyte whose barrage of television ads this summer has threatened Meek's grip on the nomination also said his primary opponent should return the $5,500 in contributions he's received from Rangel or donate them to charity.

    The ethics charges that have ensnared Rangel have put many of his Democratic colleagues in the House on defense as they head home for the August recess to campaign ahead of the midterm elections.

    Greene's attempt to link Meek to Rangel falls in line with his strategy of painting the congressman as part of a "culture of corruption" that has tainted Congress. For weeks, he has been hammering Meek for his relationship with indicted developer Dennis Stackhouse, who obtained an earmark through Meek in 2004.

    Stackhouse, who is accused of stealing nearly $1 million from a county agency and a bank, also hired Meek's mother as a consultant and provided her with a Cadillac Escalade.

    Greene called on Meek to follow in Rangel's footsteps by requesting a congressional investigation of his relationship with Stackhouse.

    "It is very important we preserve the integrity of the House of Representatives," said Greene. "Kendrick Meek is protecting the culture of corruption and bribery."

    Greene has also been forced to answer accusations involving ethical lapses.

    Last week, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington added Greene to its list of "crooked candidates" for only disclosing in-kind contributions from himself on his campaign finance reports, rather than revealing the vendors used by his campaign. Meek is on the list for his relationship with Stackhouse.

    The Meek campaign called Greene's comments a stunt meant to divert attention away from his own controversies.

    "Jeff Greene began last week lying to Floridians in a debate about his bacchanal in Cuba. He went on a shopping spree, broke U.S. law, lied about it and he knows it. Now there are major newspapers in this state raising serious questions about a massive mortgage fraud in California and his connections to it. No matter how hard Greene tries to change the subject, the spotlight is directly on him and serious questions remain unanswered," said Meek spokesman Dave Hoffman.