House Ethics Committee

Flaherty: Rangel Dirty Even After Coming Clean

October 8, 2009- CNN's Anderson Cooper reports on the House Ethics Committee expansion of its investigation of House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY). Joining Cooper are CNN Senior Congressional Correspondents Dana Bash and Joe Johns, as well as NLPC President Peter Flaherty. Click here for 4-page pdf transcript.

Rangel Scandal Timeline

With the spotlight this week on House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY), we have prepared this timeline of his current problems. Rangel has been involved in so much controversy that it is difficult to keep it all straight. I hope this helps.

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.

Rangel’s Brownstone Corruption Goes Back to Sixties

Rangel's brownstoneIn a lengthy story today titled “The case against Charlie Rangel,” New York Post reporters Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein examine “forty years of tax evasion, misdeeds and contempt.” Most interesting is their account of how Rangel tapped into a housing program for poor people to renovate his Harlem brownstone into six units, one of which continued to be his residence.

It’s the same building cited by NLPC in a September 16 Complaint to the Ethics Committee. On his financial disclosure forms, Rangel reported little or no rental income for eight years (1993-2001) from the six units, even though public records show tenants were living there. Click here to download a 35-page pdf of the Complaint

Corruption Probe Hangs Over Mollohan

Mollohan photoRep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is the subject of a story in The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register newspapers today about the investigation touched off by NLPC.

The immediate reason for revisiting the issue is the naming of Mollohan as one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress for the fourth year in a row by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Following a nine-month investigation, NLPC filed a 500-page Complaint on February 28, 2006 with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia detailing more than 250 misrepresentations and omissions on Mollohan’s disclosure reports, prompting an extensive probe by the FBI.

NLPC Alleges Charles Rangel Hid More Income in Complaint to House Ethics Committee

Rangel photoIn a Complaint filed yesterday, NLPC asks the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to expand its ongoing investigation of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) to include apparent violations of House Rules related to his ownership of a Harlem investment property.

Again, it appears Rangel has failed to disclose income from a rental property.

On his financial disclosure forms, Rangel reported little or no rental income for eight years (1993-2001) on the six-unit Harlem brownstone, even though public records show tenants were living there. Click here to download a 35-page pdf of the Complaint.

Washington Post Calls on Rangel to Resign Ways and Means Chairmanship, But What About Criminality?

Washington Post logoIn an editorial today titled "Sorry Charlie," the Washington Post called on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) to step down as House Ways and Means Chairman. The editorial comes in the wake of Rangel amending his financial disclosure forms for the years 2002 to 2006, showing that his net worth was roughly double what he previously claimed. The Post called Rangel’s revised filings “a treasure trove of outrage.”

Rangel’s amendments were prompted by increased scrutiny of his finances after NLPC exposed his failure to disclose (or pay taxes on) rental income from his beachfront “villa” at the Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic.

Cell-Phone Sheila Jackson Lee is Also Caribbean Junketeer

Just how out of touch is Congress? The above video clip is now famous. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) talks on her cell phone while cancer survivor Tracy Miller tries to ask her a question at a health care Town Hall meeting.

Rep. Jackson Lee was one of five members of Congress who took part in a Citigroup-funded junket to the sunny Caribbean island of St. Maartens shortly after all five voted for TARP. The trip was led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY), the tax cheat who has proposed tax increases to fund health care.

Rangel's Hissy Fit Response to WSJ Editorial

Rangel photoIn a letter to the editor, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel responds today to the Wall Street Journal’s Monday editorial. He writes:

Your July 27 editorial “Morality and Charlie Rangel’s Taxes” insulted me in an attempt to undermine my work on health-care reform legislation. But your slurs can’t change the fact that the Ways and Means Committee, which I chair, has already succeeded in negotiating and passing its portion of the health-care bill without a hint of the rancor you’ve resorted to in your mean-spirited editorial attack. (emphasis ours)

Rangel’s indignation in the wake of his own admissions of failing to pay his taxes is the clearest evidence yet that he is divorced from political reality, and will become an increasing liability for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.

Caribbean Junket Probe Headed by Black Caucus Member Shows Pelosi’s ‘Mockery’ of Ethics Process

Pelosi and Black CaucusSusan Crabtree reports in The Hill today:

The chairman of a House ethics probe into a Caribbean conference attended by members of the Congressional Black Caucus is himself a CBC member who attended the same event in 2005.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the former judge chosen to chair the ethics probe, has vowed to lead a fair investigation into trips taken by CBC members to St. Maarten in 2008 and Antigua and Barbuda in 2007.

NLPC exposed the 2008 junket. The Hill noted my reaction:

“The CBC really sticks together — you can see their solidarity in the face of these ethics charges,” Flaherty said. “To put one of their own members in charge of the investigation just shows that nothing has changed — the ethics process is still a complete mockery.”

New York Times Eyes Pelosi’s Swamp

Pelosi and Murtha photoFrom a New York Times editorial today titled “The House Eyes the Swamp:”

Self-investigation has never been a signature virtue of Congress. So taxpayers should closely monitor the House ethics committee’s inquiry into the lucrative relationships between defense appropriators and military contractors.

The committee finally confirmed the inquiry — not yet a full-blown investigation — into suspicions that members and staffers earmarked hundreds of millions in defense contracts for favored companies in return for tens of millions in political donations. In a separate matter, the ethics committee opened an inquiry into whether Caribbean trips taken by Representative Charles Rangel and four other lawmakers violated House gift rules. It is encouraging to see such curiosity from the traditionally somnolent panel.

We too are glad that the Ethics Committee is looking into these matters, especially since we are the source of the allegations about the Rangel-led Caribbean junket. But it will take more than “curiosity” to deal with the current wave of corruption in Congress.

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