Whatever happened to "draining the swamp" in Washington? Nancy Pelosi is sticking with Charlie Rangel:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters today that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, did not violate House rules by accepting two trips to the Caribbean that were paid for by corporations.

But last night, the House Ethics Committee released an official report admonishing Rangel for taking the junkets and finding that he did, in fact, violate House rules.

"What I understand -- and I haven't seen the report ... [is] that he did not violate the rules of the House and I think that's an important statement," Pelosi said.

The ethics committee "said this press release shall stand as the admonishment of him," she went on. "They did not take action against him. They just said he did not willfully break the rules."

The ethics panel concluded that only Rangel's staff, not the congressman himself, knew about the corporate funding of the events. But it found he was "responsible for the knowledge and actions of his staff in the performance of their official duties."

Jennifer Rubin points out that "Pelosi is flat wrong. From the House Ethics Committee press release: 'The Report further finds that Representative Charles B. Rangel violated the House gift rule by accepting payment or reimbursement for travel to the 2007 and 2008 conferences.'"

Other House Democrats aren't quite so supportive of the ethically challenged Rangel.

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