26 Nov 2008 Black Activist Calls for Rangel’s Ouster from Congressional Leadership
Washington, D.C. – As yet another potential tax-related ethical lapse involving Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) surfaces, a member of the Project 21 black leadership network is calling for the veteran lawmaker to be removed as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee – at least until these serious allegations are fully investigated.
Bishop Council Nedd II, a member of Project 21’s national advisory council, said: “It’s galling that the head of the committee in charge of levying taxes has either a profound ignorance of tax law or a disinterest in adhering to the laws he wants others to follow.”
According to a report in The New York Post based on information uncovered by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), between at least 1995 and 2000, Rangel received a “homestead” tax break on a house he owned in Washington, D.C. that saved him $1,728 during that six-year period. Under D.C. law, the exemption applies only to primary residences. The rules governing Rangel’s rent-stabilized apartments in his New York City congressional district, however, also require it to be a primary residence.
Rangel sold the D.C. house, which he purchased in 1971, in October of 2000. D.C. officials did not provide tax records prior to 1995. Rangel obtained the rent-controlled New York City apartments in 1988.
“There seems to be no end to this story,” added Project 21’s Nedd. “If he was taking the D.C. homestead deduction, that meant the house was his primary residence. D.C. law exempts lawmakers from income taxes because it is understood that their first allegiance is supposed to be to their home states. The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau and the New York City Rent Guidelines Board must investigate what may be numerous violations of the law.”
This new allegation is just one of several tax-related problems facing the powerful tax committee chairman uncovered in large part by the NLPC. Rangel allegedly has:
* used congressional stationary to raise money for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City University of New York;
* obtained a no-interest loan for a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic on which he initially did not pay taxes for rental income;
* undervalued a condominium near Miami owned by his wife and,
* used a rent-controlled apartment in New York City as a campaign office.
Rangel is also accused of taking unreported trips at the expense of corporations with business before his committee and illegally storing a broken-down car in a congressional parking space.
While many of these alleged improprieties are under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, Nedd is suggesting Rangel be removed from his committee chairmanship until his record is cleared. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has thus far done nothing, and has called Rangel “very distinguished.”
Nedd said: “Rangel ought to be removed at least for now. For a congressional leadership that pledged to bring ethics back to Washington, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s apparent willingness to slow-walk her friend’s case is now blowing up in her face. It’s only allowed time for further apparent abuses to surface.”
Nedd’s commentary about Rangel’s ethical lapses, “Rangel Ethics Mess Feels Like History Repeating Itself,” can be found at
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at www.project21.org/P21Index.html.