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Rangeling up trouble for Kendrick Meek and Joe Garcia

Republicans are hoping to force Democrats to vote Wednesday on a resolution that would strip Rep. Charles Rangel of his committee chairmanship for violating House rules. They've also sent a flurry of press releases calling on Democrats to give up the money they've received from the Harlem congressman.

Even Joe Garcia -- who hasn't said whether he'll give up his Obama administration post to run for an open House seat in Miami - has been the target of a GOP press release which noted his ties to Rangel, who held a 2008 fundraiser for Garcia's bid against Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

Now Democrat Maurice Ferre has gotten into the action, calling on his primary rival, Rep. Kendrick Meek "to join his Democratic colleagues" and return Rangel money. Ferre says Meek got $5,000 from Rangel's National Leadership PAC.

"Kendrick Meek should be more aware of the company he keeps and return the money he received from Chairman Rangel," said Ferre. "Charlie Rangel has continually abused his powerful chairmanship while Kendrick Meek has stayed quiet, silently reaping the rewards of corruption in Congress to the tune of $5,000."

Meek said Tuesday that the case against Rangel has yet to be resolved: "It is unfortunate and disappointing whenever any member receives an admonishment from the Ethics Committee, and this case is no different.  This bipartisan committee has a job to do, and that work is not over yet."

As the NYT reported, "The ethics panel, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, is still examining more serious dealings involving Mr. Rangel, including campaign finance issues, failure to pay federal taxes on rental income from a Dominican villa and the use of rent-stabilized apartments."

The Hill says two "politically vulnerable" Democrats have already called for Rangel to step down as chair of the Ways and Means Committee. And several others have (here and here) returned his campaign contributions.

House Republicans last fall forced a floor vote calling for Rangel to lose his chairmanship. Meek -- along with all but 2 Democrats -- voted against it. But Meek did not sign a Congressional Black Caucus letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that pledged "full support" for Rangel.