Sunday, November 23, 2008

Charlie Rangell Is A Criminal.... Update Dec. 4th, 2008

Charlie Rangell is a criminal in all but a verdict 
by a jury....Time to throw the bum out!

He's defrauded the taxpayer's, his fellow citizens, and his landlord by his fraudulent use of more than one rent-controlled apartment in NY City, as detailed by this New York Post article: 

In 1988, he began renting three rent-stabilized apartments in the Lenox Terrace building on 135th Street in Harlem, which he combined into one 2,500-square-foot home. Later, Rangel rented a fourth unit - a studio apartment that he used as an office.

He was forced to relinquish the office last month as the House of Representatives' Committee on Standards and Official Conduct voted to conduct a probe of his personal finances.

The investigation, which Rangel requested, was announced shortly after The Post revealed that he had failed to report income on the rental of a beachfront villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. He later admitted that he failed to report $75,000 in income from the villa over a 20-year period and owed $9,500 in taxes.

At first, Rangel blamed the accounting mishaps on sloppy bookkeeping and his wife, who he said was in charge of the family's finances. He also said he did not receive regular financial reports from the Punta Cana Resort and did not understand the paperwork because it was in Spanish.

Amid calls for him to give up his position as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Rangel promised in September to hire a forensic accountant to scour his tax returns and financial disclosures and to present the results to the Ethics Committee. After The Post reported on Nov. 2 that he had not yet hired a CPA, a spokesman for Rangel announced that he finally did so on Nov. 9. 

We now find out that Rangell has been cheating in several other ways on his taxes:

Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel took a "homestead" tax break on a Washington, DC, house for years while simultaneously occupying multiple rent-stabilized apartments in New York City, possibly violating laws and regulations in both cases.

The situation raises a number of potential problems for the congressman, including:

* New York City law requires that tenants use rent-stabilized apartments as their primary residence.

* DC's real Property Homestead Deduction Act also requires that a property receiving the benefit be a primary residence.

* Tax lawyers told The Post that a property owner cannot have two primary residences - or take advantages provided to primary residences at two different addresses simultaneously.

* DC's law also requires that the owner of a property benefiting from the tax break be a personal-income taxpayer in DC. District law exempts members of Congress from paying personal DC income tax, but they must pay property tax.

The DC rules state that "by maintaining a residence in his home state and actively voting there, [a member of Congress] is demonstrating that he continues to be a part of the body politic of his home state . . . The Member is a domiciliary of his home state. Because he is not domiciled in the District, the Member cannot claim the District's homestead deduction." 
Update:Dec. 1st, 2008
Step Aside, Rep. Rangel
The chairman of Ways and Means becomes an unnecessary distraction.
Saturday, November 29, 2008; A14

WHEN WE last wrote about Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, we urged that the House ethics committee be allowed to investigate before anyone drew final conclusions. But the latest revelation of Mr. Rangel's ethical tin ear is the most galling yet. While he remains innocent until proven otherwise, he should step aside as chairman while the ethics committee expands its inquiry.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Mr. Rangel helped preserve a valuable tax loophole for an oil and gas drilling company while the company's chief executive, Eugene M. Isenberg, was pledging $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at City College of New York. Mr. Rangel insists that the mutual favors were entirely coincidental. And quite a coincidence it seems to have been. On Feb. 12, 2007, the Times reported, the day the tax legislation was being considered in his committee, Mr. Rangel met in New York City with Mr. Isenberg to discuss the businessman's support of the Rangel School. Then Mr. Isenberg escorted Mr. Rangel across the room to his lobbyist, Kenneth J. Kies, who wanted to make sure Mr. Rangel would not close the loophole.
The revelation is the latest in a litany that has come to light since the summer. It was disclosed that Mr. Rangel was paying below-market rents on four Harlem apartments. One, which he has since given up, was illegally used as a campaign office. He owed taxes on at least $75,000 in rental income on a vacation home in the Dominican Republic. (He has since paid $10,800 to the IRS and New York State for three tax years and has hired a forensic accountant to determine how much he owes for the remaining 17 years.) Mr. Rangel underreported the value of a condominium he and his wife owned in Florida. He neglected to fully account on House travel disclosure forms for some privately sponsored trips. And he used his official stationary to ask for meetings to discuss his eponymous school of public service with titans of business and philanthropy.
At a time when President-elect Barack Obama is holding frequent news conferences to reassure the markets and the American people that he is ready to lead the nation to economic recovery, the last thing he will need is a chairman of Ways and Means caught up in a swirl of serious allegations.

Update December 4th, 2008:
From the folks at the New York Observer:
Why Charlie Rangel Is Still Smiling 
 The 78-year-old Harlem Democrat, a fixture on Capitol Hill since 1971, has been the subject of a stream of revelations about potential financial and ethical improprieties, the sort of never-ending scandal that would pose a serious threat to his electability if he represented a marginally competitive district. But New York's 15th District is tailor-made for an entrenched Democratic incumbent to stay in office as long as he wants, so Rangel need not fear the wrath of the voters.
The only real threat to a congressional lifer like Rangel is internal, from within the ranks of his fellow Democrats in the U.S. House. If they want to strip him of his powerful Ways and Means gavel, they can. And, technically, that is what they are now mulling, with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct - otherwise known as the Ethics Committee - set to report back on his supposed misdeeds just before the new Congress convenes in early January. But don't hold your breath waiting for any drama.
Even if Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a majority of the Democratic caucus were inclined to remove Rangel from his post - and, as of now, it doesn't seem that they are - numerous obstacles, including the obstinate chairman and his allies and some recent history within the Democratic caucus, would make it a trying experience for them.
Start with the ethics committee itself. It's no accident that Rangel is the one who actually requested that the panel review his case, or that he declared this week, "Am I confident? You're damn right. I'm the one who asked for it."
The House ethics committee has a richly-earned reputation for giving its colleagues the benefit of the doubt. Rangel has found the perfect body to hear out his various denials and explanations. Very likely, the panel will either clear Rangel or, at worst, declare him guilty of a slight, venial infraction or two. It will be a surprise if the report includes any real ammunition for those hoping to push him out.Given the historic opportunity that waits Democrats on January, when a president willing to sign their legislation will take office, it probably won't make sense for Pelosi to embark on a protracted and highly public chairmanship fight that would pit members of her own caucus against one another. It's also worth noting that she decided last year to maintain the three-term committee chairmanship limit imposed by Republicans in 1995. That means she'll be rid of Rangel by 2012, if he hangs on now.
The most likely outcome of this fiasco, then, is that Republicans will spend the early weeks of the new Congress shouting to the heavens about Rangel's ethics, offering resolutions to strip him of his chairmanship, and challenging Democrats to join them. As theater, it won't be bad. But Democrats will probably decide that they'd rather take the heat from the G.O.P. than go to war with themselves.


Anonymous November 24, 2008 at 10:34 AM  

How do you spell J..A...I...L !

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