Monday, September 14, 2009

One Year Since NY Times Called On Rangel To Step Down

Today marks one year since the New York Times called on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) to step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. In the intervening year, Rangel has remained as chairman precisely because he's insulated from any criticism by his fellow Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wont do anything until the ethics committee takes action, which so happens to include three members who received campaign contributions from Rangel (who also happens to be one of the top fundraisers for Democrats in Congress).

The malfeasance that the Times considered sufficient to demand him stepping down has increased since then:
  1. Failed to reveal more than $3 million in business income;
  2. Failed to report income from sales of real property;
  3. Failed to report income from Punta Cana hacienda;
  4. Failed to pay property taxes on Glassboro, New Jersey property for several tax quarters ($159.39 is most recent tax due for 2Q and 3Q 2009);
  5. Failed to report $430,000 in stock transactions;
  6. Had to dramatically revise House filings to show hundreds of thousands of dollars in transactions - unreported assets that concealed anywhere from $38,000 to $116,000 in income for 2007 alone;
  7. Failed to report a checking account that was worth between $250,000 and $500,000.
  8. Failed to report income to the IRS; paid $10,000 in back taxes but no penalties or interest was apparently assessed (Rep. John Carter (R-TX) introduced the Rangel rule to codify the IRS treatment of Rangel, but it was defeated by House Democrats);
  9. Pay to play with AIG and CCNY over the financing of the Charles Rangel Center for Public Service;
  10. Broke House rules on reporting trips;
  11. Broke New York State Rent Stabilization laws by owning four units and using one as an office (anyone else in that situation would have been booted from the properties);
  12. Alternatively broke New York State Rent Stabilization laws or lied on mortgage application documents claiming primary residence status for either the rent stabilized apartments in Harlem, or other properties - the outcome of which is that he received better mortgage terms, or enabled himself to unjustly enrich himself over the span of decades by obtaining a rent stabilized apartment at a time when there's a regular shortage of affordable housing in Manhattan;
  13. Fails to meet New York State Rent Stabilization income guidelines with new revelations that he's making more than $175,000 - and quite likely much more than that based on hidden income over the years (rent stabilization means that he's saving nearly $4,000 a month over market rates for same property - a perk that means he's saving $48,000 a year or more than the gross income of many of his constituents);
  14. Paid lawyers hired to unravel Rangel's tax situation $121,000 from his campaign committee funds, which violate federal election laws (Rangel claims that he got a waiver from FEC; FEC says otherwise);
  15. Unjustly received a homestead property tax deduction on a D.C. property (again claiming primary residence status);
  16. Gave contract to his son's company worth nearly $80,000 for building websites that were non-functional and whose value experts believe cost no more than $100; and
  17. Failed to report imputed income from long term use of House parking lot to store vehicles, which was also a violation of House ethics guidelines.

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