One of the charges that I found so egregious is the four rent controlled apartments. Harlem is an area that has a pretty substantial population that lives near or below the poverty line, yet he takes four affordable apartments away from them to use in violation of law. This goes directly to his character and how he really views the people he was sent to Washington to represent. There are families in Harlem who are not getting those rent control apartments because he is using them. He makes a good income, I am sure that there are people who are in more need of the rent controlled apartment than he is. This is a man who owns a brownstone in Manhattan and rental property in the Caribbean. Somehow it seems to me that he could afford to live without rent controls. Especially since one of those apartments was used as campaign headquarters; a violation of his lease.
Then we can move on to his tax issues. It is pretty hard to believe that the man who was the chairman of the committee that writes tax law doesn't understand the law. You collect rent from property you own, you have to report it as income on your year end taxes. That really isn't all that complicated; actually it is pretty simple.
These findings came a day after Rangel walked out of the hearing saying he no longer had legal representation. Rangel and his law team had some sort of falling out last month and he has yet to replace them. The ethics committee refused to extend this hearing any longer yesterday. The investigations into these charges have been continuing for more than a year. More than enough time for him to set up a legal defense fund. The law firm has released statement saying that they tried to work with Rangel within the congressional guidelines and were unable to. I guess the question I have is why not take out a mortgage on your brownstone in Manhattan or your rental property on the beach? That is what us commoners would have to do.
Rangel released the following statement after the findings:
"How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the Ethics Subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room?"
No one forced Charlie out of the room. He choose to get up and walk out. Something that I have this feeling that I wouldn't be able to do if I were called in front of congress. The committe chair explained that Rangel has been given information on how to raise money for a legal defense on numerious occassions. He continued with his statement with:
"I can only hope that the full Committee will treat me more fairly, and take into account my entire 40 years of service to the Congress before making any decisions on sanctions."
So, I guess they are supposed to look at him being a life-long legislator as a good thing? The thing that I find the most odd is why he wanted the hearing to be put off. He has a much better chance of not being expelled from the House from this sitting congress than the next one. Expulsion takes a two thirds majority, a level that they will not be able to reach with the current make up.
Even CREW isn't buying Rangel's excuses:
"All of Mr. Rangel's theatrics aside, the facts were clear: Mr. Rangel violated numerous House rules and federal laws. Whether these violations were deliberate or inadvertent, the American people deserve to be represented by members of Congress who adhere to the highest ethical standards. Mr. Rangel should resign."