Mark Hemingway of the Washington Examiner reports that 45 members of Congress are clinging to campaign funds received from Rep. Charles Rangel’s National Leadership PAC during the 2008 election cycle. The total of outstanding funds is $303,000.
“It just shows how out of touch they are and certainly explains Congress’ 11 percent approval rating,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. “It’s a case where greed trumps common sense and everybody knows that returning the money is the ethical thing to do.”
Hemingway reports that a score of members of Congress have parted with hundreds of thousands in donations from Rangel, including several who did so after being contacted by the Examiner. That total is sure to rise as more attention is focused on Rangel’s extensive giving to his House colleagues.
Most if not all of the money has been given to … Read More ➡
One of the more serious violations was Rangel’s failure to disclose or pay taxes on rental income from a vacation home at the Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic. Following a review of Rangel’s financial disclosures in August of 2008, NLPC dispatched an investigator to the Dominican Republic who established that Rangel’s beachfront “villa” was continuously rented out.
After NLPC provided the story to the New York Post and other publications, Rangel stated that he was unaware that the beach house was generating income. That assertion was undercut by a 1993 letter secured by the Commiteee from Rangel to the management of the Punta Cana. It reads:
The eight members of the House Ethics Committee sit in judgment on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), but it is hard to see how at least two of them can be impartial when they have received campaign funds from Rangel’s National Leadership PAC.
According to Federal Election Commission records, Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY), in photo, received two contributions of $5,000 each during the 2004 election cycle, on 12/15/03 and 1/20/04. Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) received contributions of $1,000 and $2,000 during the 2004 cycle, on 6/29/04 and 7/13/04 respectively.
A third member of the Ethics Committee, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), recognized the inherent conflict of investigating Rangel and accepting campaign money from him. He received two contributions of $5,000 each during the 2006 cycle, on 3/30/06 and 10/24/06. He also accepted $5,000 during the 2008 cycle, on 9/25/07. He returned all $15,000 on May 1, 2009.
I was interviewed by David Asman on the Fox Business Network on Wednesday, July 21. The topic is the racial mandates contained in the Dodd-Frank financial services regulatory overhaul. Here’s a transcript:
David Asman: The financial regulation Bill is now law and while we know that the twenty three hundred page document is full of new bureaucracies and regulations you may not know there is actually language in this law that requires racial profiling. Peter Flaherty is President of National Legal and Policy Center an ethics watchdog based in Washington. He has done some digging into this Bill. Peter, you know, I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it – I mean this is an Administration that prides themselves on being anti-racial. They are against racial profiling that doesn’t exist, for example in the Arizona immigration law. Get this: lenders will – these new data collection system that … Read More ➡
After being charged with violations of House Rules by the House Ethics Committee today, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) got downright testy with MSNBC reporter Luke Russert when asked if he was going to keep his job. Rangel asked him who he was with and then disparaged the network by saying “it just shows what happened to a channel that did have some respect.”
Because we exposed it, we were happy to see Russert also ask Rangel why he failed to report taxable income from rent on his Dominican Republic house.
The House Ethics Committee announced today that its subcommittee investigating allegations against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has “transmitted a Statement of Alleged Violation” to the Committee Chair and Ranking Republican, and formed an “adjudicatory subcommittee” to consider them. In other words, they have alleged that Rangel violated House rules, and now another subcommittee will try Rangel and determine guilt and the penalty, if any.
NLPC is the source of the most damaging allegations against Rangel, particularly his failure to disclose or pay taxes on rental income from his beach house in the Dominican Republic. Rangel has admitted that he did not report or disclose $75,000 but we have alleged in Complaints to the IRS and U.S. Attorney for D.C. that the total is likely much higher. NLPC is also the source of the information on which the Committee admonished Rangel earlier this year for accepting corporate-funded Caribbean junkets. Following his … Read More ➡
General Motors will acquire auto-finance company AmeriCredit for $3.5 billion. I discuss the deal with Rebecca Lindland of IHS Automotive, and CNBC hosts Melissa Francis, Larry Kudlow and Amanda Drury. Here’s a transcript:
Melissa Francis: All right, it is time for our viewer outrage segment. General Motors, back on the acquisition trail, agreeing to buy auto finance group, AmeriCredit for three and a half billion dollars, this with taxpayer money. GM’s CFO Chris Liddell defending the deal on Squawk on the Street earlier this morning.
Chris Liddell: We thank that it helps in a responsible way to increase lending to increase leasing and therefore increase sales. You know, by definition that makes the company more attractive. So it helps from a valuation point of view.
Melissa Francis: So, not surprisingly, we received lots of emails on this question. Should GM be allowed to buy AmeriCredit with your … Read More ➡
Edul Ahmad, the Guyanese-born businessman who made an unsecured $40,000 loan to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), is today scrutinized by the New York Times and New York Post. Reporters started digging on Meeks after NLPC raised questions about the Queens congressman’s finances, beginning in January.
The generous terms of the loan have raised questions about Mr. Ahmad and his political relationships. New details about Mr. Ahmad’s past emerged after The New York Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the New York Department of State, which investigates improprieties by licensed real estate brokers. Mr. Ahmad has been the defendant in five cases investigated by the department involving allegations of fraud and predatory lending.
Meeks failed to report the 2007 loan on his annual financial disclosure report, that all member of Congress are required to file, until June of this year after the FBI reportedly started asking questions about the loan. Meeks has repeatedly referred to Ahmad as his “friend,” but when asked by the New York Post last month what his relationship was with Meeks, Ahmad said, “I have none.”
Yesterday’s Post story paints a picture of Ahmad as a “shady” operator, with real estate dealings in Queens, and a variety of other businesses. According to the Post:
Brian Tumulty of Gannett reports that former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) put his wife on his campaign payroll after he resigned from Congress and after he ceased to be a candidate for re-election. According to Massa’s quarterly report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Beverly Massa received $34,214 for April through June for serving as campaign treasurer, even though she was not paid for previously serving in the position.
Tumulty also reports that Massa paid for airfare, hotels, and meals at restaurants like Morton’s out of the campaign fund. Massa’s continued looting of leftover campaign funds is baffling given the scrutiny he is already under. As Tumulty reports:
The National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group, filed a complaint in April because Massa’s campaign committee paid $31,896 to GMAC for a leased vehicle two days before Massa announced he would not seek re-election.