Rangel finances sound a bit hinky

Charlie Rangel

I’m sitting here listening to a resolution being read on the floor of the US House of Representatives that would remove Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) from his post as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the committee in charge of US tax codes and regulations.

John Carter, a Republican (surprise!), is reading the resolution, and although the media reports it will be tabled with no action taken, it has been read into the record, very publicly.

Among Rangel’s alleged wrongdoings:

• Receiving over $75,000 in income from a rental villa he owns in the Dominican Republic, but reportedly disclosing this income neither on his tax returns nor on Congressional disclosure forms. He has called the disclosure failures an oversight, and has paid over $10,000 in back taxes and penalties.

• Working to preserve a lucrative tax break for an oil-drilling company last year, at the same time the company’s CEO was pledging $1 million to a City College of New York educational center to be named in Rangel’s honor. Rangel has said his work to protect the tax break was not connected to the pledge of support for the ed center.

• Renting four rent-stabilized apartments in the same Harlem building, at well below market rates. He reportedly uses one of them as a campaign office. City and state regulations forbid the use of rent-controlled apartments for purposes other than as a primary residence.

• Taking trips to the Caribbean that were funded and organized by an organization called the Carib News Foundation. These may have broken House rules on corporate-funded travel.

• Failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and assets between 2002 and 2006, including tens of thousands of dollars in rental income from a Harlem brownstone he sold in 2004.

True or false, the allegations cast suspicion on Charlie Rangel’s attitude toward US tax laws and his personal “ways and means” of dealing with them.

... and that's my two cents