Culture of Corruption

Tax Cheat Rangel Says Higher Taxes Are 'Paying Your Fair Share'

Rangel Tweet photoThis photo was Tweeted by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) yesterday. Also in the photo is House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Along with the photo, Rangel Tweeted this:

My ears perking up to hear RepCantor saying taxes will go up under Pres Obama. It's called "paying your fair share"!

In 2008 Rangel admitted not paying taxes on rental income from a Dominican Republic beach house after it was exposed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC). It was one of the counts in his 2010 Censure by the House.

Edul Ahmad Cops Plea?; Crony of Rep. Gregory Meeks

Edul Ahmad photoMeeks photoFederal Prosecutors and lawyers for Guyanese businessman Edul Ahmad (photo, right), who has been indicted in a $50 million dollar mortgage fraud scheme, have apparently reached a plea arrangement that will be made public next month.

Ahmad made a $40,000 payment to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) in 2007 that the Congressman failed to disclose on his Financial Disclosure Reports for 2007, 2008, and 2009. Meeks subsequently claimed the $40,000 payment was a loan, but there were no note or payments until several years after the payment was made. Last year the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate the matter.  The OCE reported that Rep. Meeks "refused to cooperate with the OCE's investigation."

Rep. Meeks Blames NLPC for Ethics Woes

MeeksIn an interview Tuesday on New York City's WNYW-TV, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) denied that he is under investigation by federal authorities, contradicting several previous reports by the New York Times, New York Post and New York Daily News.

The New York Post reported on Saturday that a nonprofit called the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation received subpoenas connected to a broader investigation of Meeks, who has steered millions in federal funds to the group.

As he has done in the past, Meeks attributed his woes to the New York Post and NLPC. Of the most recent reports, he told WNYW-TV reporters David Price and Rosanna Scotto:

NY Times: $900K Flows From 'Mysterious' Donor

New York Times logoThe New York Times has a front-page story today on a political giver named James Robert Williams, who has no visible means of support, but is very generous to both parties and to politicians of different stripes.  From the article:

...one government watchdog group called the pattern of donations extremely troubling. Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, said, "In more than 15 years of investigating political corruption, I've never seen a more suspicious set of facts."

Rangel Fined $23K For Using Rent-Controlled Apartment as Campaign Office

Rangel photoIn response to a Complaint filed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has entered into a conciliation agreement with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and his so-called National Leadership PAC (NLP). The FEC found that "there was reason to believe" that Rangel and NLP violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by using a rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office. Rangel and NLP agreed to pay a fine of $23,000. Click here to download a 23-page pdf of the Conciliation Agreement. Click here to download a 16-page pdf of NLPC's Complaint.

Flaherty: 'No Apologies' for Exposing Black Lawmakers

Gregory Meeks photoIn a cover story for the National Journal dated tomorrow, Shane Goldmacher reports on accusations by members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) that ethics investigations are disproportionately aimed at African-American lawmakers.

The lengthy article includes an account of our exposé of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), and my response to the suggestion that black members of Congress are being targeted. From the article:

Rep. Meeks Threatens to 'Go After' NLPC

Meeks photoIn a recent interview with the "City and State" website, which covers New York politics, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) said that he wants "to go after" our not-for-profit status. The threat was part of a more general attack on the New York Post, which has published a series of articles based on information we have provided. We have also provided information to the New York Times and New York Daily News. All the headlines have led to a House Ethics Committee investigation, and reportedly, a grand jury investigation of Meeks' finances.

NLPC Asks Feds to Investigate Meeks' House Sale

Meeks photoNLPC has asked federal prosecutors to investigate the sale of a home by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), alleging that it was sold at an inflated price and that the purported buyers could not have qualified for a mortgage. The 2006 transaction was handled by an attorney named Alexander Kaplan, who was subsequently convicted of 18 counts of mortgage fraud and is currently serving a 46-month prison sentence.

Countrywide Probe is Chance for Ethics Committee to do 'Something Significant'

Edolphus Towns photoIt appears that four current members of the United States House of Representatives received loans via the VIP program of Countrywide Financial Corporation. Once again the motives of the former giant mortgage institution have been brought into question. Where they trying to peddle influence with these loans?

Blago Gets 14 Years; Ethics Committee Must Now Act on Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. photoYesterday, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison for, among other things, attempting to "sell" the US Senate seat that was once held by President Barack Obama. Blagojevich's punishment comes on the heels of the U.S. House Ethics Committee's decision to continue its investigation into Congressman Jesse Jackson's role in the same scheme.

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