Perhaps the most corrupt person in Congress Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) confirmed on Wednesday that he is not running for reelection and will retire at the end of the year. Rangel claimed he wants to leave office at the same time as the first black president. However, based on his Congressional tenure the most likely reason for Charlie Rangel to retire is thanks to Obama the economy is so bad there’s no graft money left for him to make.
Charlie Rangel has a more “impressive” list of ethics violations than anyone else in Congress.
Perhaps his most famous act of illegality during his congressional tenure was in regards to a rental income Mr. Rangel purchased in 1987 at the Punta Cana Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic (see picture above). In 2009 the National Legal and Policy Center looked at Mr. Rangel’s House financial disclosure forms in August, it noted that his reported income looked suspiciously low. In 2004 and 2005, he reported no more than $5,000, and in 2006 and 2007 no income at all from the property.
Mr. Rangel eventually admitted having failed to report rental income of $75,000 over the years. First he blamed his wife for the oversight because he said she was supposed to be managing the property. He blamed the language barrier. “Every time I thought I was getting somewhere, they’d start speaking Spanish,” Mr. Rangel explained.
Ironically when all this came out Rangel was Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee which is responsible for writing the tax laws.
That was just one ethics violation in Rep. Rangel’s long record:
- He was discovered taking a tax break only for people whose primary residence was in Washington DC, but if his primary residence was in DC he couldn’t be congressman representing NYC. At that time he was also occupying four rent controlled apartments in New York. According to the NYC laws one doesn’t qualify for rent control unless the apartment is your primary residence. So Charlie was double-dipping. So he also got in trouble for using one of the apartments as his office.
- There was the $1.95 million, federal earmark which funded the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service. This one was legal but it still reeked .
- He misused his congressional office to fund raise for the above private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for a donation to his vanity Charles B. Rangel center.
- Then there was the investigation of the NY Congressman, revolving around a Caribbean boondoggle.
- Once the ethics investigation of Rangel began, he gave campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him. I am sure the investigation had little to do with the donations…he was just being “friendly”
Then there is the matter of his financial disclosure forms. Lets just say it had some mistakes also:
Rangel was censured on the House floor in December 2010 after the ethics panel found him guilty of 11 charges related to his conduct outside the Capitol. The vote against him was a lopsided 333-79 (that may have been the last bi-partisan vote in the House).
In April 2014 the NY Daily News reported the FEC was accusing, Rep. Charlie Rangel of breaking campaign rules:
Rep. Charles Rangel’s reelection campaign accepted $6,700 in contributions over legal limits, the Federal Election Commission charged.
One of the donors who gave too much: Donald Harty, a big-time fast food franchisee who owned a KFC/Taco Bell that was infamously shut down in 2007 after TV cameras captured a swarm of rats running around inside.
He gave $3,600 for Rangel’s Democratic primary campaign — $1,000 over the limit for individual donors.
Also giving more than the limit was the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
Rangel drew scrutiny while chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee for advancing legislation that would benefit such trusts while pocketing donations from the group.
The other donations came from the Oneida Indian Nation and Gerald Cassidy, according to the FEC notice, which was sent last week.
Rangel campaign officials said they’ve refunded some of the contributions and shifted others to a general election account to comply with the law. They characterized the FEC notice as routine.
Two months later, Rangel got caught hiding another boondoggle, as reported by the National Journal:
The 84-year-old New York Democrat joined a 10-lawmaker delegation from the Congressional Black Caucus for a weeklong China trip last August. Seven of the other lawmakers on the trip listed it on their annual financial-disclosure forms, made public earlier this month. The two other attendees, Reps. Gregory Meeks and Sheila Jackson Lee, have not yet filed their reports, after asking for extensions. Only Rangel has failed to report the trip.
The NY Daily News asked Rangel’s office about the report:
Rangel spokeswoman Hannah Kim said Rangel asked his accountants to immediately amend his financial disclosure form to report the trip after National Journal first reported his failure to report the trip Thursday.
Some members use congress to help their constituents, others to advance their political ideology, but not Charlie Rangel. Of his congressional career people will always be able to say, Charlie Rangel always made the “gravy train” run on time.