Supreme Court Will Not Hear Rangel Censure

The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) who was seeking to overturn his Censure by the House of Representatives. Lower courts had ruled that they have no jurisdiction over internal workings of the House.

Rangel was Censured by the by the entire House of Representatives on December 2, 2010 by a vote of 333-79, the first such action in 27 years.

The action was the result, in part, of investigations by NLPC. Among the counts alleged by the Ethics Committee were Rangel’s failure to pay taxes on rental income from a Dominican Republic beach house, and his failure to report hundreds of thousands in income and assets on his financial disclosure forms.

In August 2008, the NLPC staff reviewed Rangel’s disclosures and noticed that he has a home in the Dominican Republic, but reported little or no rent. We sent an investigator to the Dominican Republic who found that the beachfront “villa" was continuously rented out. We gave the story to the New York Post, which ran a front-page story on August 31, 2008 by Isabel Vincent and Susan Edelman.

In the wake of the controversy over the unreported rent, Rangel pledged to review his finances and amend his disclosures. It was not until August 2009 that he filed amended disclosures, which a Washington Post editorial called “ a treasure trove of outrage.”

On March 3, 2010, Rangel resigned his Chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee after he was “admonished” by the House Ethics Committee for accepting corporate-funded Caribbean trips.

The junkets were exposed by NLPC after I traveled to sunny St. Maarten in November 2008 where I documented violations of House Rules that prohibit corporate sponsorship of travel and hospitality. We provided the story and photographs to the New York Post, which ran a feature story on November 30, 2008 by Isabel Vincent and Ginger Otis. On May 22, 2009, the Ethics Committee asked NLPC to provide photographs, audio recordings and other materials from the trip.

On February 1, 2009, Rangel accused journalists of being “an arm of this organization,” meaning NLPC. In a letter to supporters, Rangel claimed that reporters do NLPC’s “dirty work.” On August 10, 2010, Rangel made a speech on the House floor and attacked NLPC. He complained:

"And they followed me on vacation. They followed me when I was doing business. They're at the airport. They're outside where I live. It's kind of rough

The real injustice is that Rangel was never criminally prosecuted by the Justice Department under Eric Holder for tax evasion and failing to fully disclose his income and assets, even though he admitted to both. Moreover, Rangel has never explained how he obtained hundred of thousands of dollars in assets, once he was forced to disclose them. The Justice Department was apparently not interested in finding out.