Sharpton Documents Lost in Mysterious Fires

Today at National Review Online, Jillian Kay Melchior revisits two mysterious fires at Al Sharpton’s offices, in 1997 and 2003. In both, important documents were allegedly destroyed. Melchior deserves credit for going back so far, reexamining fire department reports, and actually finding people close to the incidents.

Her very detailed story describes two Complaints filed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) with the Federal Election Commission that reference the fires, and Sharpton’s general disdain for filings and disclosures required of nonprofit organizations and political campaigns. From the article:

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) filed two complaints with the FEC, helping trigger an investigation into Sharpton’s presidential campaign. The FEC later found that both National Action Network and other entities had illegally paid for travel expenses incurred by Sharpton’s campaign, in part because “Sharpton 2004 kept poor records of its activities and expenditures.”

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Rangel Stiffed NY State on Office Rent

RangelWhat is it about Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and real estate? From yesterday’s New York Post:

State taxpayers were stiffed out of at least $87,000 when Rep. Charles Rangel stopped paying for the district office he rents in Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, records ­obtained by The Post show.

His staffers’ excuse? They lost the lease, according to state Office of General Services correspondence.

“I finally heard back from Congressman Rangel’s office and it seems we haven’t gotten the signed lease back because they lost it!” OGS real-estate specialist Sydney Allen wrote in a July 30, 2013, e-mail to a colleague that was ­obtained by The Post.

Rangel paid $7,253 in monthly rent on the 125th Street office he has rented since 2000, expense reports from 2012 show. But the payments stopped for all of 2013.

And the reaction of the New York state government, which is …

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.

The Complaint was based on articles in 2008 by David New York Times reporter David Kocieniewski that detailed how Rangel lived in three adjoining rent-stabilized apartments and used a fourth as a campaign office. This coverage prompted a more far-reaching examination of Rangel’s finances that led NLPC to discover that Rangel failed …

Rep. Gregory Meeks Assailed by NY Post as Meeks Attacks NLPC

Meeks photoThe New York Post today published an editorial titled “Greg Meeks – Again” regarding the allegations in our Complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on October 28.

Meeks apparently had not yet received a copy of the Complaint at the time he wrote a column published last week in the Queens (New York) Tribune. In the column, Meeks characterized us as “right wing” and (again) blamed us for his ethics problems. I can’t wait to see his reaction to our new Complaint.

In the Tribune, Meeks omitted mention of his friend Edul Ahmad, from whom he secured an unsecured and unreported $40,000 personal loan, now the subject of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. In July, Ahmad was taken off a Guyana-bound airliner in handcuffs by the FBI and charged in a $50-million mortgage fraud scheme.

Here the Post’s editorial today on our new allegations …

Watchdog Files FEC Complaint Against Rep. Meeks for Stanford Fundraiser

Meeks photoOn October 28, NLPC filed a formal Complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), his campaign, and his “leadership” political action committee called Build America PAC.

The Complaint alleges that Stanford Financial Group made illegal, in-kind contributions to Meeks’ campaign for a 2008 fundraiser in the Virgin Islands. The event was hosted by R. Allen Stanford, who is currently in prison awaiting trial for charges related to his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The Complaint also alleges that Meeks appears to have disguised a personal gambling junket to Las Vegas as a leadership PAC fundraiser. In December 2010, Build America PAC paid expenses for an event at the ARIA Resort and Casino, but disclosed no contributions from the event.

The Complaint also asks the FEC to investigate a voided $5,000 check from Build America PAC to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The check was voided on …

Congressional Candidate Frankel Accused of Running ‘Off-the-Books’ Campaign

Lois FrankelNLPC has filed a formal Complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Lois Frankel and her campaign committee. Democrat Frankel is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Allen West in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. Frankel is the former mayor of West Palm Beach, and announced her candidacy on March 21. She is opposed in the Democratic primary by businessman Patrick Murphy.

The Complaint alleges that Frankel reported more than $250,000 in income but failed to report virtually all of the expenses connected to fundraising or other campaign activity. The costs that apparently went unreported include direct mail, telephones, web hosting, a post office box, and the pay for a consultant named Brian Smoot. Click here to download a 6-page pdf of the Complaint.

It is common for Congressional candidates to demonstrate early support by reporting as much income as possible, and to report as much cash on hand as …

Rangel Attacks NLPC; Opens Legal Defense Fund

Rangel photoRep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has formally opened a legal defense fund in an apparent acknowledgement of our accusation that he illegally used almost $400,000 in PAC funds for his legal defense. According to a statement Rangel made to Politics Daily:

The repeated filings of allegations, no matter how unsubstantiated, by the National Legal Policy Committee (sic), a politically-motivated right wing group dedicated to eviscerating civil rights and labor union protections, have led me to this action.

On November 29, we filed a Complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Rangel violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by using almost $400,000 in funds from his National Leadership PAC to pay legal bills related to the House Ethics Committee actions against him.

Members of Congress may use funds from their personal re-election committees for legal expenses related to their official actions. The National Leadership PAC is not Rangel’s re-election committee …

Rangel Confronted With New Ethics Allegations

Appearing on New York City’s Channel 5 this morning, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was asked about allegations that he improperly used funds from his so-called National Leadership PAC for his legal defense in his House ethics case. Rangel responded by calling the allegations “ridiculous” and attacking NLPC.

The allegations were first made by NLPC in a Complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on November 29.  The New York Post reported yesterday that the FEC has opened an investigation as a result. Drudge linked to the Post story today. Katrina Trinko of National Review Online and Rachel Slajda of TPMMuckraker also report on the Complaint today, as does Jordan Fabian of The Hill.

Click here to download an 11-page pdf of the Complaint. Click here to download a one-page pdf of the Matter Under Review letter from the FEC.

On Channel 5 this morning, Rangel never addressed …

NLPC Alleges Rangel Illegally Used Leadership PAC Funds for Legal Defense

Rangel photoNLPC yesterday filed a Complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by using almost $400,000 in funds from his National Leadership PAC to pay legal bills related to the House Ethics Committee actions against him. The Committee yesterday referred a censure resolution to the entire House after earlier this month finding Rangel guilty of violating House rules on 11 counts. Click here to download an 11-page pdf of the Complaint.

As the Complaint points out:

Members of Congress may use funds from their personal re-election committees for legal expenses related to their official actions. The National Leadership PAC is not Rangel’s re-election committee but what is classified as a “leadership PAC,” the purpose of which is make contributions to other candidates.

The Complaint cites an FEC rule that states:

To the extent that leadership PACs are used

Timeline of Rangel Ethics Scandal

NY Post/RangelThe start of the Rangel scandals can be pegged to David Kocieniewski’s New York Times story 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.

July 11, 2008New 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 …