Karl Rodney, the organizer of the Caribbean junkets that contributed to the downfall of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), was sentenced today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to two years probation and 500 hours of community service. He was also fined $2,500. District Judge Emmet Sullivan included no jail time in the sentence.
The courtroom was filled with Rodney's supporters, many of whom made the trip down from New York City. Singer Harry Belafonte offered good wishes by letter. NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm was also in attendance. Boehm said, "I believe that at least some jail time would have been appropriate, but at the same time, Rangel himself has not even been prosecuted and he was guilty of far worse."
The start of the Rangel scandals can be pegged to David Kocieniewski's New York Timesstory in July 2008. His article prompted us to begin our review of Rangel's finances, resulting in our exposé of Rangel's tax evasion and his acceptance of corporate-funded junkets.
It should be noted, however, that New York Post reporter Geoff Earle wrote a year earlier about Rangel's solicitation of corporate money for the Rangel Center.
July 23, 2007- Geoff Earle of the New York Post reports that Rangel is soliciting funds for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service from corporations that have interests before Congress, and that Rangel secured a $2 million "seed money" earmark from Congress.
The House Ethics Committee has ruled that Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel violated the House gift rule by accepting travel to events in the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.
NLPC was the source of the information on which the Committee acted. I attended the 2008 event in St. Maarten where I took photographs and made audio recordings of the event, demonstrating that it was paid for by Citigroup and other large corporations. These items were provided to the Ethics Committee in May 2009. Click here to download a 4-page pdf of our Complaint.