Meet Charlie Rangel: The Tax Cheat Who’s Writing Our Tax Code

Almost a week ago, I predicted that the Democrats are so corrupt that they won’t remove Charles Rangel from his leadership position for cheating on his taxes. Again, it’s worth noting that this is a man who’s in charge of the Ways and Means Committee, a man who’s advocating a huge tax increase — and yet, he has been cheating on his own taxes for years.

Heck, even the New York Times, which has been competing with the Daily Kos of late to be the unofficial house organ of the Democratic Party, called for Rangel to step down,

Mounting embarrassment for taxpayers and Congress makes it imperative that Representative Charles Rangel step aside as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee while his ethical problems are investigated.

This recommendation does not come easily, considering the New York Democrat’s four decades of service in Congress. But Mr. Rangel himself has felt obliged to request three separate House ethics inquiries of his behavior. While denying serious improprieties, Mr. Rangel concedes that he has not lived up to the “higher standard” expected of members of Congress.

His latest admission is that as chief of Congress’s tax-writing committee, he was “irresponsible” in failing to disclose $75,000 in rental income and pay federal and state taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic.

His temporary yielding of the gavel is an urgent necessity for a Democratic Congress elected two years ago on promises of an ethical housecleaning. The villa dealings only add momentum to the investigations of two earlier controversies — Mr. Rangel’s favored treatment in occupying four rent-stabilized apartments in Manhattan, and his improper use of official letterheads to solicit support from charities and corporations for an academic center to memorialize his career in public service.

Note that even the New York times points out that the Democrats were put into office two years ago in large part because they did promise “ethical housecleaning.”

So, is Nancy Pelosi going to live up to the promises her party made to the American people? So far, it sure doesn’t look like it,

Rangel emerged from a private meeting with fellow lawmakers Monday night having survived another day as chairman of the tax writing committee despite lingering questions about his personal finances and unpaid taxes on a beach house.

“I am unable to say anything,” the Democrat said, before rattling off his name, rank and serial number from his days as a soldier in the Korean War. “Do to me what you want, I’m not talking.”

Asked if he was still the chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, Rangel smiled and said nothing.

“You’re d*mn right he’s the chairman,” replied fellow lawmaker Sander Levin, D-Mich.

Rangel’s meeting with fellow Democrats on the committee lasted nearly an hour. During that time, many lawmakers in the room voiced support for Rangel continuing in his high position while the House ethics committee probes his finances, according to people who were there and spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

Although he is one of the most powerful men in Washington, here in his own district — to avoid yet another round of embarrassing questions from reporters — Rangel had to be brought in through a back door on Monday, surrounded by children, no less. He did acknowledge that he was going to be asked about Speaker Pelosi, but said he did not want to take away from what was supposed to be the children’s day.

“The feeling was it had to do with Speaker Pelosi, but I don’t want to detract from this at all,” Rangel said.

The “Speaker Pelosi” reference is because the lead editorial in Monday’s New York Times called for Pelosi to ask Rangel to temporarily step aside as chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, or else be removed permanently.

It’s because Rangel, the head of the committee that not only writes the tax code but also oversees the budget, now admits his own tax records are in such disarray, he’s had to bring in a forensic accountant to find out just what he owes on items like unreported income on the building he and his wife once owned. Then there is the possible ethical lapses in perhaps getting a favor to combine three condos into one, below-market apartment. Or explaining just how another Dominican condo was financed.

In fact, Rangel left in a rush Monday to meet with Pelosi in Washington. His future is in the balance, but even people in his district critical of what they call his sloppy record-keeping do not want him removed as the tax committee chair.

Yes, folks, the guy who “writes the tax code (and) also oversees the budget” is cheating on his taxes and the woman who claimed she would help create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history is doing nothing about it.

The Democratic leadership is crooked and shameless. They deserve to be punished by the voters for their behavior.

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