Hoyer Defends Rangel

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer pledged his support for embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel on Wednesday, defending Rangel’s decision not to give up his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee despite allegations of financial improprieties.

“I don’t think there is any reason for him [to step aside as chairman],” Hoyer said in a press briefing with reporters. “He has done exactly what a member should do.”

Rangel himself has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate the various charges against him and has hired a forensic accountant to review his personal finances. Both House Republicans and the New York Times editorial page have called for Rangel to at least temporarily relinquish control of the committee during the investigation.

Hoyer at least cryptically acknowledged the dark cloud hanging over Rangel, saying: “anytime questions are raised there are questions.”

Hoyer said he hopes the Ethics Committee investigates the matter “expeditiously and thoroughly.”