The House Ethics Committee threw the book at Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) today, alleging violations of House rules on 13 counts. Click here to download a pdf of the 40-page Statement of Alleged Violations.
One of the more serious violations was Rangel’s failure to disclose or pay taxes on rental income from a vacation home at the Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic. Following a review of Rangel’s financial disclosures in August of 2008, NLPC dispatched an investigator to the Dominican Republic who established that Rangel’s beachfront “villa” was continuously rented out.
After NLPC provided the story to the New York Post and other publications, Rangel stated that he was unaware that the beach house was generating income. That assertion was undercut by a 1993 letter secured by the Commiteee from Rangel to the management of the Punta Cana. It reads:
As I mentioned to you, the House Ethics Committee requires the disclosure by members of Congress of any asset and unearned income and while I enjoy a good relationship with the Committee’s Chairman it certainly would be politically embarrassing if I were unable to provide an accurate accounting of my holdings.
NLPC is also involved in two other violations cited by the Ethics Committee.
The first is Rangel’s failure to disclose rental income from a 6-unit Harlem brownstone. On September 16, 2009, NLPC filed a Complaint with the Ethics Committee alleging that 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.
The second is Rangel’s solicitation of huge donations for the so-called Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service from individuals and corporations with legislative interests before the Ways and Means Committee.
As reported by David Kocieniewski of the New York Times in November 2008, Rangel helped preserve a lucrative tax break for Nabors Industries at the same time Nabors’ CEO Eugene Isenberg pledged $1 million to the Rangel School at the City College of New York. I directly confronted Nabors Industries CEO Eugene Isenberg at the Nabors’ annual meeting in Houston in June 2009. Isenberg denied a “quid pro quo” and claimed the New York Times was “full of malarkey.” According to the SAV, the pledge was actually $500,000 from Isenberg personally, and $500,000 from Nabors Industries.
And of course, there is Rangel’s failure to disclose hundreds of thousands in assets and income. He only did so in August 2009 because of a promise he made in the wake of the news coverage of the Dominican Republic beach house.
In February, the Ethics Committee admonished Rangel for accepting corporate-sponsored Caribbean junkets based on photographs, audio recordings and other information provided by NLPC. Rangel soon after resigned his post as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
In February 2009, Rangel accused journalists as being “an arm of this organization,” meaning NLPC. In a letter to supporters, Rangel said reporters do NLPC’s “dirty work.” I doubt Rangel will now accuse the bipartisan Ethics Committee of the same.
Timeline of Charles Rangel Ethics Scandal
Flaherty: Rangel Had to Know of Junket’s Corporate Sponsorship (Fox News Channel video)
Flaherty: Rangel Dirty Even After Coming Clean (CNN/Anderson Cooper video)
Flaherty: Rangel is ‘Serial Offender’ (CNN/Anderson Cooper video)