Maybe when City College of NY is done building Charlie Rangel’s favorite Pork project, the $1.95 million, federal earmark funded Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service one of the first courses they could teach is “Playing Fast and Loose with Ethics 101.”
This past year, Americans have gotten to see the true nature of congressman Rangal. In September he admitted a failure to report $75 thousand in taxes. Rangel is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, they write the tax law. You would think that he would be extra-careful to make sure that he would follow the tax law.
A few weeks earlier he was found using four rent- controlled apartments (one for an office) which while legal, is immoral for someone of his income.
In May, the House Ways and Means Chair found himself in a new ethics investigation, this time “pay-for-play”. The allegation is that Rangel helped preserve a lucrative tax loophole for an Oil Company, and in turn the Oil Company donated a Million Dollars to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service. Maybe it was for research on how people in Congress find way to service themselves.
The end of June saw a new scandal as the Ethics Committee launched an investigation of the NY Congressman, this one revolving around a Caribbean boondoggle.
Today, surprise of surprise, we have another Charlie Rangel revelation, This time Mr. Honest revealed that his income was actually twice that of what he had been claiming:
Rangel’s Wealth Jumps After Disclosure
By Richard Rubin, CQ Staff
House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel , already beset by a series of ethics investigations, has disclosed more than $500,000 in previously unreported assets.
Among the new items on Rangel’s amended 2007 financial disclosure report were an account at the Congressional Federal Credit Union worth at least $250,000, an investment account with at least $250,000, land in southern New Jersey and stock in PepsiCo and fast food conglomerate Yum! Brands. None of those investments appeared on the original report, which was filled out by hand and filed in May 2008.
According to the original report, Rangel’s net worth was between $516,015 and $1,316,000, while the amended report showed his net worth, as of Dec. 31, 2007, roughly double that amount — at least $1,028,024 and as much as $2,495,000.
Rangel also revised his disclosed investment income from 2007. The original report showed he had received between $6,511 and $17,900, but the new report shows between $45,423 and $134,700.
House rules allow lawmakers to exclude their personal residences and report asset values within broad ranges.
Rangel’s office, his lawyers and his forensic accountants have not yet responded to requests for comment.
Rangel, D-N.Y., filed the new paperwork Aug. 12, along with his months-late 2008 report. They were released by the House this week. The reports are required annually for members. Lawmakers frequently amend their financial statements, but rarely do they make such drastic changes.
The new 2007 report contains more than a dozen differences from the original version, including amended amounts in previously disclosed accounts and different amounts of income from those holdings.
Rangel is already the subject of two separate investigations by the House ethics committee, and the latest disclosures will only bring more scrutiny to the chairman, whose committee is deeply involved in the debate over changing the health care system.
One ethics subcommittee is examining a variety of matters related to Rangel. He has been accused of violating city rules by maintaining multiple rent-controlled residences in New York; he failed, for two decades, to tell the IRS about income from a rental property in the Dominican Republic; and the Washington Post reported last year that Rangel was using official letterhead to solicit corporate contributions for an earmark-subsidized education center at City College of New York that bears his name.
One disclosure in the reports addresses the issue the other ethics subcommittee is exploring: a three-day conference in November to Sonesta Maho Bay Resort & Casino in St. Maarten. The trip sparked an investigation after a conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, claimed Rangel and other lawmakers violated House rules by accepting money for a trip lasting more than two days that was paid for by companies that employ lobbyists.
But Rangel’s new financial disclosure form states that the trip was paid for by New York Carib News Foundation, which is affiliated with a newspaper aimed at New York’s Caribbean immigrant community. Rangel reported taking a similar trip to Antigua and Barbuda paid for by the same organization a year earlier.
Other lawmakers who went on the same trip and have been examined by the ethics committee were Reps. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick , D-Mich; Donald M. Payne , D-N.J.; Bennie Thompson , D-Miss.; and Del. Donna M.C. Christensen , D-V.I.
Earlier this year, the Sunlight Foundation found similar problems with Rangel’s previous disclosure reports. According to the group’s analysis, Rangel failed to report purchases, sales or his ownership of assets at least 28 times since 1978 on his personal financial disclosure forms. Assets worth between $239,026 and $831,000 appeared and disappeared with no disclosure of when they were acquired, how long they were held or when they were sold, as House rules require.
For Rangel, the trouble could go beyond ethics investigations. Former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, was convicted in 2008 of filing false personal financial disclosures, though the conviction was later thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct.
Republicans have called for Rangel to step down as Ways and Means chairman during the investigation, but he has refused, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., has stood behind him.
But Rangel has been damaged by the allegations, particularly the tax troubles, which have been embarrassing for the House’s lead tax writer. So far this year, his campaign committee and political action committee have spent more than $800,000 on attorneys, limiting his ability to donate to Democratic causes and candidates.