"I think it's best that he settle," Rep. George Miller, an influential California Democrat who helped engineer Pelosi's rise to power, told The Post.Considering that Rangel was facing ethics charges likely stemming from breaking House rules on long term parking, failing to disclose paid junkets, undisclosed income from real property in Latin America, violating rent stabilization laws in New York, abusing homestead property tax credits/exemptions in multiple jurisdictions, and violating federal tax law, there's any number of legal and potential criminal angles the House panel could take.
"Because I just said so, that's why. That's my feeling," he added.
Amid mounting pressure on Rangel, Miller's blunt statement is the most direct message from any member of Pelosi's inner circle, and comes just a day after Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) -- another member of her leadership team -- met with Rangel to talk about the charges he's facing.
Van Hollen heads the campaign arm charged with getting enough House Democrats re-elected to keep their majority -- a task that grows harder as the Rangel affair draws voters' focus to scandal instead of the party's own agenda.
For any plea bargain to be accepted by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee, which is bringing charges against the 80-year-old Rangel, he would have to swallow a bitter pill -- admitting to multiple, substantial ethics violations, sources said.
The saddest part is that Rangel's constituents would likely reelect him even if this ethics cloud remains, all while saddling the rest of the Democrats with a mess. After all, his Harlem constituents reelected him in 2008 even with the unfolding scandal breaking in its full glory.