[Op-Ed] Charlie Rangel: EPIC FAIL

Rangel Tax Troubles

If anyone is clueless as to how politic works, you are getting an education via the fiasco out in Chicago. So why would it surprise anyone that this greasy politician better known as Mr. Rangel has engaged in dirty politics from day one. The sorry thing is that his cronies will bend over backwards to protect him and his skeletons from spilling into public view. 

via NY Times

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is heading into the new Congress without the quick resolution she dearly hoped for on Representative Charles Rangel’s mushrooming and deeply embarrassing ethics problems.

The normally mute and far-too-passive House ethics committee has done the right thing in announcing that it is broadening its inquiry to look into the recent report that Mr. Rangel — chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — helped preserve a lucrative off-shore tax loophole for an oil drilling executive.

While Mr. Rangel and the executive deny any link, the businessman conveniently pledged $1 million for a planned Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York. (Now that’s what we call service from the public.)

“Bar nothing,” demanded Mr. Rangel, the powerful New York Democrat, calling on the ethics panel to look into various questionable dealings. He insists the charges are either false or honest mistakes.

Beyond suspicions about the offshore tax loophole worth tens of millions, the panel must look into Mr. Rangel’s use of congressional letterhead to solicit support for his eponymous center. Then there’s his use of rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem at cut rates and his failure to pay taxes and disclose $75,000 in income from a Dominican villa on which he enjoyed an interest-free mortgage.

The ethics panel must muster the courage to actually vet one of the House lions (especially with voter cynicism again rising with fresh headlines about the Illinois Statehouse scandal). Ms. Pelosi must muster the courage to urge — or demand — that Mr. Rangel give up his chairmanship while the investigation proceeds. If he won’t, she should strip him of his gavel.

There can be no clean start here until the ethics panel answers all of the questions about Mr. Rangel, his center, his apartments, his villa and that loophole. With huge fiscal and tax issues looming for the next Congress, there can be no doubts about the leadership’s priorities.

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