As I posted last evening, the House Ethics Committee found Ways & Means Committee Charlie Rangel (D-NY) knowingly accepted Caribbean trips from a corporation in violation of House rules. However, this is not his only suspicious act in recent years. Below are some not-so-fun facts about Rangel. The first set is a series of accusations and reports from The New York Times, The Washington Examiner, The Wall Street Journal and the Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington’s (CREW) 2009 report on Rangel. Next follows the National Legal and Policy Center’s timeline of the Rangel debacle. Following that is Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) defense of Rangel last year; a link to a Politico article where Demorats are calling for Rangel to step down from his chairmanship; a video from Hot Air of Rangel cursing at reporter Jason Mattera for asking (okay, ambushing) him about his tax evasion; and Rep. Carter’s (R-TX) “Rangel Rule” modification to the tax code that Democrats shot down last year. All links and sources after the NLPC’s timeline, for ease of reading.
From the National Legal & Policy Center- A Timeline:
July 11, 2008- New York Times’ David Kocieniewski reports that Rangel occupies three rent-stabilized apartments in a luxury building, and uses a fourth as a campaign office.
July 14, 2008- NLPC files Complaint with the Federal Election commission alleging use of a rent-stabilized apartment for a campaign office comprises an illegal corporate contribution from the landlord. Rangel announces he will close the office.
July 15, 2008- Christopher Lee of the Washington Post reports that Rangel solicited donations on Congressional letterhead to the so-called Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at City College of New York (CCNY), in violation of House rules.
August 2008- NLPC staff reviews Rangel’s financial disclosure forms and notices that he has a home in the Dominican Republic, but reports little or no rent. NLPC sends an investigator to Dominican Republic who finds that the beachfront “villa” is continuously rented out.
August 31, 2008- New York Post runs front-page story by Isabel Vincent and Susan Edelman with an unflattering photo of Rangel in beach chair, following Vincent’s trip to Dominican Republic.
September 5, 2008- Rangel admits to not disclosing, or paying taxes on, rental income of $75,000. He claims that he did not know that he had a no-interest mortgage. Rangel blames his wife and a language barrier. NLPC files Complaints with the IRS and U.S. Attorney alleging Rangel’s $75,000 figure is low.
September 24, 2008- At Rangel’s request, House Ethics Committee votes to investigate rent-stabilized apartments; using Congressional stationery to solicit donations for Rangel School; and failing to disclose or report Dominican Republic rental income. Pelosi predicts the probe will conclude by January 3, 2009.
November 6-9, 2008- Rangel leads Citigroup-funded Congressional junket to Caribbean island of St. Maarten. NLPC President Peter Flaherty attends and documents violations of House Rules, leading to New York Post feature story.
November 24, 2008- New York Times’ David Kocieniewski reports that Rangel helped preserve a lucrative tax break for Nabors Industries at the same time Nabors’ CEO Eugene Isenberg pledged $1 million to the Rangel School at CCNY.
November 26, 2008- NLPC files a Complaint with the House Ethics Committee alleging that Rangel violated House Rules by cheating on his taxes by improperly claiming a homestead exemption on a D. C. property.
December 9, 2008- House Ethics Committee expands investigation to include Rangels’ efforts to preserve a tax break for Nabors Industries at the same time Nabors’ CEO Eugene Isenberg pledged $1 million to the Rangel School.
January 28, 2009- Rep. John Carter (R-TX) introduces “Rangel Rule” bill to eliminate all IRS penalties and interest for paying taxes past due.
February 1, 2009- on CSPAN Newsmakers program Rangel predicts that “soon as the Ethics Committee organizes they ought to be able to dismiss this.” Rangel also accuses journalists as being “an arm of this organization (NLPC).” In a letter to supporters, Rangel says reporters do NLPC’s “dirty work.”
February 4, 2009- Sunlight Foundation issues report showing 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.
May 22, 2009- House Ethics Committee asks NLPC President Peter Flaherty to provide photographs, recordings and other materials from the St. Maartens junket.
May 29, 2009- About the Ethics Committee probe, Rangel tells Dow Jones Newswires, “I am optimistic that this very soon will be wrapped up.”
June 2, 2009- NLPC President Peter Flaherty directly confronts Nabors Industries CEO Eugene Isenberg at the Nabors’ annual meeting in Houston. Isenberg denies a “quid pro quo” and claims the New York Times is “full of malarkey.”
June 24, 2009- House Ethics Committee confirms probe of Caribbean junkets in 2008 and 2007. Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) objects to investigation. CBC member Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) is appointed to head probe. Butterfield took part in the trip in previous year.
August 12, 2009- Rangel files amended financial disclosure forms for 2002 to 2006. As a result, his reported net worth roughly doubled. The originals were signed under penalty of the False Statements Act.
September 16, 2009- NLPC files Complaint with the House Ethics Committee alleging that Rangel disclosed little or no rental income for eight years (1993-2001) on a six-unit Harlem brownstone, even though public records show tenants were living there.
October 8, 2009- The House Ethics Committee announces that it is expanding Rangel investigation into “all Financial Disclosure Statements and all amendments filed in the calendar year 2009.”
From The Hill: Maxine Waters (D-CA) last October: “Many members” of Congress suffer from the same disclosure issues as Rep. Charles Rangel (D.N.Y.)
From Politico: A number of Democrats, including Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH), are calling for Rangel to step down or aside after last night’s ethics finding.
From Hot Air: When queried by Hot Air’s Jason Mattera last year about his tax evasion, Rangel told Mattera to “mind your won [GD] business.” (The second link goes to a YouTube video, in case the Hot Air one doesn’t work for some people.)
January 2009- Rangel Rule proposed by Rep. Carter (R-TX):
1/28/2009–Introduced.Rangel Rule Act of 2009 – Amends the Internal Revenue Code to exempt any U.S. citizen who writes “Rangel Rule” on the top of the first page of his or her income.