October 13, 2009

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) Should Resign


Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who has represented Harlem residents in congress since 1971, waited for many years to become chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He finally achieved that remarkable career goal ... only to find himself embroiled in a heated ethical debate about his personal financial dealings.

Currently, the House ethics committee is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into Rangel's finances. The investigation, which began last year, was expanded to include amendments that Rangel made to his House financial disclosure statements in August. The amendments indicated that he had failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and assets from 2002 through 2006.

Assets and sources of income that he omitted include a Merrill Lynch Global account valued at between $250,000 and $500,000, tens of thousands of dollars in municipal bonds and $30,000 to $100,000 in rent from a multi-family brownstone he owned.

He subsequently disclosed that he owed more than $10,000 in back taxes because he had failed to report more than $70,000 in rental income from a villa in the Dominican Republic.

Rangel claims that the entire financial mess can be attributed to "sloppy bookkeeping".

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) weighed in this week. They wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in support of Rangle -- who is a founding member of the CBC. Part of the letter reads:

“Regrettably, the minority has repeatedly attempted to make an end-run around the bipartisan procedures for investigating possible ethics issues. These Republican attempts to presume guilt before an investigation has been completed violate the core American principle of the presumption of innocence. These attempts also will discourage members in the future from self-reporting any potential ethics issues, and will distract from the important work of the House to fix the economy, put Americans back to work, and improve access to health care.”
If that wasn’t clear enough, the group, chaired by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) added:

“Charlie Rangel’s work on these issues is critically important, and we are proud of the thoughtful leadership he provides to the House. He has our full support for his work as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means while a bipartisan ethics review is pending.”
My grandfather once told me that I should never try to get away with the same things that white folks get away with. Rep. Rangel is probably no worse than past chairs of the House and Ways Committee. At least one of them is serving time in a federal penitentiary. However, we expect more from our Black leaders.

Charles Rangel's "sloppy bookkeeping" makes him unsuitable for leadership of a committee responsible for national tax and financial policy. Rangel should stop depending on cronyism and friends in high places to stay in office.

Rangel should do the right thing. He should resign the chairmanship of the House and Ways Committee.

4 comments:

Monie said...

@Villager

I don't think anyone is going to go against Rangel until they're absolutely sure he's guilty of wrongdoing. Not even the President. Rangel just has too much power as Chair to go at him and be wrong.

And I'm positive he won't resign unless he's indicted for something.

clnmike said...

I like to see the final verdict especially considering that he has been in office since the 70's and these are recent allegations.

SjP said...

Yep! I think he needs to bow out gracefully while he still has one...

Villager said...

Monie - I'm not sure the source of the quote, but your comment reminds me of the concept that anyone who tries to assasinate the king ... sho' nuff better kill him ... otherwise they face his wrath afterwards. Anyhow, I think it is hard for Democrats to rail against a 'culture of corruption' when Rangel still sits on his throne.

Mike - He's admitted to being 'sloppy'. Do we want a sloppy person running our tax and finance legislation in congress?

Sojourner - Ditto.