At her press conference last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that she had learned of waterboarding in 2003, contradicting her earlier claims. Pelosi’s lie is getting the attention it deserves, but getting less attention is her remarkable explanations for her actions. At several points, she stated that her goal was to elect a Democratic Congress and a new president. She seemed to plead with the reporters to understand that torture was most important as an issue with which to defeat Republicans.
Well then, if the torture issue is a political weapon, and its actual practice is of secondary concern, we must ask the question about Pelosi’s sincerity when it comes to Congressional ethics. After all, she promised to “drain the swamp.” Democrats have a majority in large part because of the ethics issue.
House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) is all for Barack Obama’s proposal to tax the income of subsidiaries of American companies earned abroad. Bloomberg quoted Rangel as saying:
Our tax code should reward companies that thrive by continuing to invest in America and American workers. I applaud President Obama’s commitment to simplifying our tax code and look forward to working with the administration to close these loopholes.
Does this mean Charlie will refund the $200,000 (of a million dollar pledge) he’s received from Bermuda-based Nabors Industries, formerly of Houston? It would only be fair.
Despite promises by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of rigorous enforcement of House ethics rules, the top staff position on the Ethics Committee stayed vacant for eight months. Now the Committee has hired Blake Chisam (photo at right), who was already a staffer for Ethics Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and a member of the search committee that selected him.
Isabel Vincent of the New York Postreported yesterday:
According to his latest disclosure statements, Chisam owes up to $300,000 in student loans and filed for bankruptcy in 2000 in Pennsylvania and 2001 in Georgia.
The Post continued:
Ken Boehm, of the watchdog National Legal and Policy Center was quick to rip the eyebrow-raising pick.
“No wonder the House Ethics Committee is considered something of a joke," Boehm said. “Despite having to investigate…a powerful congressman like Charlie Rangel, [it] goes many months without a staff director and then picks a partisan staffer of its chairwoman.”
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Fri, 03/20/2009 - 15:35
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) would seem an unlikely point man for the legislation passed by the House yesterday imposing a 90% tax on any bonuses given to employees with family incomes of more than $250,000 at firms that received more than $5 billion in bailout funds.
As exposed by NLPC, Rangel failed to pay federal income tax on rent received from his beachfront home in the Dominican Republic, and cheated on his D.C. property tax by improperly claiming a homestead exemption. Also, Rangel led a Citigroup-funded Caribbean junket last November that violated House rules.
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Sat, 03/07/2009 - 10:46
Independent filmaker Evan Coyne Maloney has produced this short exploring local reaction to NLPC-exposed tax evasion by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). The clip is getting heavy interest on YouTube, with 12,500 views as of today.
In an interview on C-SPAN on Sunday and in a letter mailed to supporters released Tuesday, Mr. Rangel said the conservative-oriented National Legal Policy Center had sent an investigator to examine the finances of a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic, then passed along critical information to a reporter from The Post. The newspaper subsequently printed an article questioning whether Mr. Rangel had reported all the rental income he received from the villa on his financial disclosure forms and tax returns.
“Newspapers forwent actual, independent reporting, and instead relied on this organization to do the dirty work for them,” Mr. Rangel wrote.
Unfortuntely for Rangel, the story also details a new report from the liberal-oriented Sunlight Foundation that accuses Rangel of thirty years of financial disclosure violations:
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 12:21
In an article titled "Conservative Watchdog Group Targeted Rangel," NLPC's investigation of Congressman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) is detailed in today's edition of The Hill. The newspaper, which is widely read by members of Congress and their staffs, reports:
When the news broke that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) may have been abusing New York City rent-control laws, Peter Flaherty and Ken Boehm smelled blood.
The two investigators are principals and founders of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group whose research has spurred news stories taking Rangel to task for alleged ethical violations.
The center has time, money and seasoned Washington hands, who research publicly available information.
But it is not just Democrats who are the center's targets. Some big-spending Republicans, such as former Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska) and Rep. Don Young (Alaska), also have found themselves in the center's crosshairs.
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Sun, 02/01/2009 - 10:12
NLPC research is cited in an editorial appearing today's edition of the Binghampton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin:
Bad habits are hard to break, but some people in America's corporate and political worlds don't even seem to be trying in the midst of the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. [...]
New York's Charles Rangel and five other Democratic members of the House enjoyed a trip to the Caribbean sponsored in part by Citigroup (see above) in November - after Congress had approved the $700 bailout for financial firms (including Citigroup).
The members no doubt will object to the terms "junket," but that shoe fits. The National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group, has asked Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to investigate the Nov. 6-9 excursion to the island of St. Maarten.