So you're a New York politician. One of your colleagues is facing allegations that he hoarded rent-controlled apartments, cheated on his taxes, and committed various other financial improprieties. Oh yeah, he also headed up the House committee that writes tax policy until forced to step down in disgrace. But golly. It is his 80th birthday. What do you do? Isn't it obvious? You throw him a big birthday bash, and celebrate the man's commitment to public service!
I think my favorite allegation against Rangel is the one where he's not in trouble because he offered hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to companies in exchange for a donation to the City College of New York to support a new wing named in his own honor. He's in trouble because he solicited those donations on official House stationery.
Because that besmirches the integrity of the institution.