Charles Rangel

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.

Menendez Discloses Another Flight on Melgen's Jet; Will Investigations Go Anywhere?

Melgen Menendez photoSenator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) disclosed on Friday that he accepted a third flight on a jet owned by Dr. Salomon Melgen, his largest donor, who is apparently under investigation for Medicare fraud. Last year, when Menendez was forced to admit to that he accepted two flights from Melgen, his office asserted that there were no more flights. Menendez' failure to reimburse Melgen was characterized as an "oversight," the same term his office used in reference to the first two flights.

Boehm Warns About Special Interest Funding of Congressional Travel

Rangel in lounge chairAmanda Becker reports in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call today that outside groups spent $3.6 million to sponsor foreign trips for members of Congress and their staffs in 2012.  The article includes my comments:

"Congressmen are frequently accused of living inside a bubble. So you can make a good case that members should be traveling and getting to see certain things overseas," Boehm said.

"But all too often they have been arranged by groups that have very pronounced legislative interests," he added. "And what's more enticing than having the possibility of talking [to lawmakers] in a relaxed, vacation resort-type setting?"

Watchdogs Defend Office of Congressional Ethics

OCE door photoOn Wednesday, I took part in a press conference with leaders of other ethics groups to show support for the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which should not be confused with the House Ethics Committee.

OCE was established in 2008 and is slightly more independent that the Ethics Committee because its board is comprised of former members of Congress and private citizens, rather than sitting members. OCE cannot sanction members but can only make referrals to the Ethics Committee.

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.

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:

Rangel Junket Figure Karl Rodney Sentenced Today

Karl Rodney photoKarl 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."

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