Charles Rangel

Rangel Says Reporters Not ‘Smart Enough’ to Ask Him Questions

In response to reporters’ questions on Friday about his failure to disclose hundreds of thousands in assets, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel had this to say:

I recognize that all of you have an obligation to ask questions knowing that there's none of you smart enough to frame it in such a way that I'm going to respond.

Click here for a report from New York City's WCBS-TV that includes video.

Rangel Had Three ‘Primary Residences’— At The Same Time

Rangel photoCharles Hurt of the New York Post reports today:

Rep. Charles Rangel claimed on mortgage papers that a Harlem brownstone was his principal residence -- even though he was living elsewhere at the time, The Post has learned.

When the Democrat -- who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee -- took out the mortgage in 1990, he said the property on West 132nd Street was his "principal residence," records show.

By our count, Rangel simultaneously claimed three “primary residences.” The first is where he really lives, in three rent-stabilized Harlem apartments, for which he does not qualify, based on his income. He actually had four apartments, but gave one up in the wake of reports that he was using it as a campaign office, prompting NLPC to file a Complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that he violated election law.

Editorialists Roast Rangel

House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) may have gotten a fleeting break when Edward Kennedy’s death knocked reports of his newly-disclosed wealth off the front page.

But by this morning, editorial writers had caught their breath and were busy at work skewering the Chairman of the committee that writes the nation’s tax laws. And just think how much fresh meat has been left for the weekend crew.

From the New York Daily News:

There are two sets of rules for Rep. Charlie Rangel - the ones he writes for everyone else and the ones that are, or were, beneath his compliance, powerful personage that he is.

Rangel Hid $500K in Assets

Richard Rubin of CQ Politics is reporting:

House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel, already beset by a series of ethics investigations, has disclosed more than $500,000 in previously unreported assets.

Among the new items on Rangel’s amended 2007 financial disclosure report were an account at the Congressional Federal Credit Union worth at least $250,000, an investment account with at least $250,000, land in southern New Jersey and stock in PepsiCo and fast food conglomerate Yum! Brands. None of those investments appeared on the original report, which was filled out by hand and filed in May 2008.

NLPC’s exposure of Rangel’s unreported and undisclosed income from his Dominican Republic “villa,” touched off more intensive scrutiny of Rangel’s finances, leading Rangel to revise his filings, albeit months late.

Obama's 'Unseemly' Vacation

Obama photoBarack Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation is unseemly. At a time when unemployment is near 10% and virtually all Americans have suffered losses in their home values and retirement funds, Obama’s holiday at a $20 million estate is inappropriate.

The White House is refusing to say how much the rental is for the “Blue Heron Farm,” but press reports indicate similar properties go for $35,000 to $50,000 a week.

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.

WSJ Highlights NLPC’s Efforts to Expose Rangel’s Tax Evasion

The lead editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal is titled “Morality and Charlie Rangel’s Taxes.” It begins:

Ever notice that those who endorse high taxes and those who actually pay them aren’t the same people? Consider the curious case of Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, who is leading the charge for a new 5.4-percentage point income tax surcharge and recently called it “the moral thing to do.” About his own tax liability he seems less, well, fervent.

Exhibit A concerns a rental property Mr. Rangel purchased in 1987 at the Punta Cana Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic. The rental income from that property ought to be substantial since it is a luxury beach-front villa and is more often than not rented out. But when the National Legal and Policy Center looked at Mr. Rangel’s House financial disclosure forms in August, it noted that his reported income looked suspiciously low. In 2004 and 2005, he reported no more than $5,000, and in 2006 and 2007 no income at all from the property.

Special Interests Help Rangel Pay Lawyers $928K in Last Year

Rangel photoJohn Bresnahan reported in Politico on July 15:

Embattled House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, facing a multi-pronged investigation by the House ethics committee, shelled out nearly $280,000 to four different law firms over the last quarter, according to his newest campaign disclosure report.

Overall, Rangel has paid $928,000 to his attorneys during the last year as his personal finances have come under scrutiny on a variety of fronts.

Much of the money was spent fending off allegations by NLPC.

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.”

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