Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rangel Car-eening From Scandal To Scandal

photo via the NY PostYou have to give Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) points for consistently. He's consistently taking actions that reek of tax evasion and careening from one scandal to the next.

His latest scandal? He parked a car in the House of Representatives parking lot for years, and never declared the imputed income from the use of the lot. Congressional rules required that to happen. In fact, Congressional rules make that explicit. Congress also required that the lot not be used for long term storage, and Rangel's car was covered with a tarp and sat unused for four years because it had no plates.
House rules forbid use of the garage for long-term storage more than 45 days - and congressional aides told The Post that Rangel's car has been sitting there for years.

The veteran Harlem Democrat, who is chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, is under fire for numerous lapses.

He has asked that the House ethics panel examine his possession of four rent-regulated apartments; his tax liability stemming from his ownership of a vacation home in the Dominican Republic; and his use of House stationery to solicit donations for a "center for public service" he is launching.

A House Web site on parking regulations informs anyone with a space that, under IRS regulations, the benefit of the free parking is considered "imputed income" and must be declared to the government.

The spaces are valued by the House at $290 per month, the site says - about the monthly cost of leasing a space in a private DC-area garage.

If the car has been in that space since its license plates were surrendered four years ago, the imputed income would be nearly $5,000.
Speaker Pelosi refuses to force Rangel to step down, and this is unconscionable. Rangel clearly shows a willing disregard of tax law and yet he's allowed to continue chairing the very committee that writes the tax law for the nation.

House Democrats stood by and protected Rangel in a roll call vote to get the House to move on investigating Rangel's tax evasion and other ethical missteps. The motion was tabled.

The roll call vote is here. Five Republicans voted with the Democrats to block the matter, 11 voted Present, and there were 20 no shows.

Members of Congress (and former members) like to protect their own apparently, as former Congressman Sam Gibbons (D-FL)and thinks that Rangel's been involved in nothing more than an honest mistake. I think Gibbons ought to get his eyesight examined. One misstep is a mistake. Two is a coincidence. At least half a dozen over a period of a decade or more (and Rangel himself has hired a forensic accountant to figure out his tax mess)? That's a pattern of tax evasion.

Rangel also appears to have not listed $70,000 in profit from the 2006 sale of a Florida condo.

Jammie has responses from both sides of the aisle over the vote. The do-nothing Democrats plan to continue their streak by pushing the issue into the next session. Michelle Malkin is also covering Rangel's mess (and thanks for the link!) Stuck on Stupid also weighs in.

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