Top of the ballot

We don’t yet know what kind of trouble Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) has with the House ethics committee, but it’s going to dog Democrats for now. If he is to believed, he said something rather “salty” to a staffer. Democratic aides, meanwhile, said that the staffer was made to feel “uncomfortable.”  That doesn’t sound like enough to force a man into retirement, at least yet. Massa didn’t resign, so the ethics committee will be able to investigate and, hopefully, provide some answers. Either way, the situation is a distraction for a party already dealing with the foibles of another New York Democrat, Rep. Charles Rangel. It’s also another Democratic open seat in a McCain district, and it’s probably one of the last retirements they expected – from a freshman lawmaker. Former Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.) is considering running for the seat Massa took from him in 2008, and Corning Mayor Tom Reed (R) is already in the race.

Rangel-ing up his cash

If you can say nothing else of the Rangel situation, you can say that Republicans put it to good use early on. According to an NRCC tally released late Wednesday, the committee forced Democrats around the country to part with $353,000 in contributions from Rangel. Look for that number to rise even more, because once most Democrats give back the money, pretty much everyone has to. The NRCC’s recall effort is one of the most successful on record, in part because Rangel dispensed so much campaign cash from his now-former perch on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Giannoulias’s bank troubles grow

Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias said Wednesday that he expects his family bank to fail, and then he stumbled over what he knew and when about loans it made to a convicted bookie. The Democratic Senate nominee took some heat in the local press for first saying the he wasn’t aware of Michael “Jaws” Giorango’s criminal dealings when Broadway Bank gave Giorango a loan. The Chicago Tribune said outright that Giannoulias “contradicted” some 2006 comments he made about Giorango, when Giannoulias said he was indeed aware of his criminal past. Giannoulias reportedly then said he wouldn’t comment further because, according to the Tribune, “he doesn't want to give inconsistent answers.” The local media clearly don’t think Giannoulias is being forthcoming about the whole matter, and they’re unlikely to let it go anytime soon.