House Censures Charles Rangel; Ex-Ways and Means Chair DID Profit From Corruption

On the House floor tonight, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) again asserted that he did not personally gain from the acts of which he is accused, notwithstanding the fact that he failed to report, or pay taxes on, rental income received from his Dominican Republic beach house. Rangel seems to believe that if you repeatedly say something, it becomes true, no matter how absurd.

After we exposed this tax evasion, we took an even closer look at Rangel’s finances and history. In September 2009, we filed a Complaint with the Ethics Committee alleging that Rangel hid more income from a six-unit brownstone apartment building in Harlem.  We have also assembled other information that we have not made public painting a picture of a hustler who has cut corners his entire career.

Rangel turned the microphone over to Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) who referenced Ethics Committee staff director Blake Chisam who said …

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 …

Ethics Committee Delays Rangel, Waters Trials as New Poll Says Pelosi Failed to Drain the Swamp

Rangel and PelosiIt’s official. The House Ethics Committee will not conduct trials of Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-NY) until safely after the November 2 election. Ethics Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) announced yesterday that Rangel’s trial is scheduled to begin on November 15 and Waters’ on November 19.

Politics have trumped ethics in the final days of this Congress. Notwithstanding her pledge to “drain the swamp” and preside over the most ethical Congress ever, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) simply will not allow high-profile ethics trials during the campaign season. This delay is sure to backfire. A new poll shows that most voters believe Congressional ethics have gotten worse in the last two years.  According to the Hill, which conducted the poll:

The Hill/ANGA 2010 Midterm Election Poll finds that 57 percent of likely voters in 12 competitive districts believe that the ethical situation on Capitol Hill has deteriorated

Republicans on Ethics Committee Accuse Lofgren of ‘Stalling’ on Rangel, Waters Trials

Jo Bonner photoIn recent days, we have complained about the apparent delay of the House ethics trials of Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) until after the election. We also wondered aloud about why the Republicans on the Ethics Committee were letting it happen.

Today, Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL), the Committee’s ranking Republican, said Democrats were “stalling” and accused Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) of having “repeatedly refused to set either the Rangel or Waters trial before the November election.”

Bonner’s statement was unusually blunt and was signed by all five Republican members of the Committee.  It may have been prompted by the suggestion by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on Sunday talk shows that Bonner was in agreement with the delay, which tonight’s statement calls “inaccurate.”

Lofgren is Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked Chairwoman. If Pelosi is as serious about ethics as she claims, she should instruct Lofgren to schedule …

Ethics Chair Lofgren Can’t Find Time for Rangel Trial But Brings Colbert Comedy Show to Capitol Hill

Lofgren photoRep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) is Chair of the House Ethics Committee, which is supposed to be conducting a trial of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) on the 13 violations of House rules the Committee alleged on July 29.  There is also supposed to be a trial of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Instead, Lofgren played host on Friday to comedian Stephen Colbert who testified “in character” on the plight of migrant farm workers before a Judiciary Committee subcommittee that Lofgren also chairs. I thought Colbert was actually pretty funny but other reviews were mixed.

The episode did confirm the Ethics Committee’s reputation as a joke. With corruption fueling anti-Congress sentiment, you would think that the Committee would be meeting around the clock to demonstrate that Pelosi’s pledge to “drain the swamp” is real. When Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) were asked earlier this year about the embarrassing ethics case involving …

Leaked Document: Justice Probe of Mollohan Is Ongoing

MollohanAccording to a confidential House Ethics Committee report produced in July, and described in the Washington Post today:

The Justice Department has told the ethics panel to suspend a probe of Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W. Va.), whose personal finances federal investigators began reviewing in early 2006 after complaints from a conservative group that he was not fully revealing his real estate holdings. There has been no public action on that inquiry for several years. But the department’s request in early July to the committee suggests that the case continues to draw the attention of federal investigators, who often ask that the House and Senate ethics panels refrain from taking action against members whom the department is already investigating. (emphasis ours)

Of course, the “conservative group” is NLPC. 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 …

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, 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 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.

July 15, 2008– Christopher Lee of the Washington Post reports that Rangel solicited donations on Congressional letterhead to the so-called Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at City College of New York (CCNY), in violation of House rules.…

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.

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 last month for 2002 to 2006, showing his net worth to be roughly double what he had claimed in the past.

The revised …

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.”

The junket to sunny St. Maarten took place the weekend after the election in 2008. I attended …

‘More Bad News’ For Rangel as Ethics Committee Confirms Probe of Caribbean Junket

Rangel photoJohn Bresnahan reports in Politico today:

Already embroiled in an ethics probe now entering its tenth month, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, received more bad news Wednesday night as the House ethics committee announced it would look into Caribbean trips taken by the veteran lawmaker and four other Democrats.

In a statement released late Wednesday night, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), the chairwoman and ranking member of the ethics committee, announced that the panel had voted to create a four-member investigative subcommittee to determine whether the trips violated House gift rules.

Click here to download a one-page pdf of the Commitee’s statement. NLPC exposed this Citigroup-funded junket to the sunny island of St. Maarten that took place the weekend after the election in 2008. I attended in order to document violations of House Rules that prohibit corporate sponsorship of …