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Discord on Ethics Panel Over Rangel Probe

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct appears set to move forward on a probe of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), even as the panel's top Republican is complaining that the process has been too slow.

Acting Ethics Chairman Gene Green (D-Texas) released a statement today saying that he intends to recommend to Rep. Doc Hastings (Wash.), the panel's ranking Republican, and the rest of the committee that it create an investigative subcommittee to handle a Rangel probe, a step that could occur at the panel's next scheduled meeting Sept. 24. The investigation will come at Rangel's own request, as he has asked the committee to review several different sets of allegations against him.

But in an unusual move, Hastings released his own statement today -- having first informed Green of his intent to do so, per committee rules -- lamenting that this step was not taken earlier.

"It has been my repeatedly stated intention since July that the Committee should form an Investigative Subcommittee to look into matters relating to Representative Rangel," Hastings said. "This has been delayed for far too long. Action should have been taken in July or since the House reconvened two weeks ago."

Green, of course, only recently was named chairman after the previous holder of the gavel, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), died in August. So Hastings' inference is that he asked Jones back in July (Rangel first asked the committee to investigate him July 17) to get the ball rolling on a probe and was rebuffed, for reasons that are unclear. Because Tubbs Jones served on Ways and Means, the committee Rangel chairs, she may have had to recuse herself from the investigation altogether.

Hastings went even further in his statement today, saying: "I have recommended that the Investigative Subcommittee be led by Chairman Green and myself as Ranking Member, with the other two positions being filled by senior Members of the Committee.

"It is also my belief that the Committee should retain a special counsel to staff the Investigative Subcommittee considering Representative Rangel's own public admission that special expertise is needed to understand and uncover the facts of his financial records and public filings.

"I regret having to issue this statement and do not intend to comment further."

Does Hastings' public statement of these recommendations mean that he believes Green and the rest of the panel's Democrats will deny his requests? Rangel's fate has already become the subject of political gamesmanship, with Republicans demanding that he surrender the Ways and Means gavel. Rangel has refused to do so. Will similar partisanship infect the ethics committee as it goes forward? We'll find out more next week when the panel meets.

By Ben Pershing  |  September 18, 2008; 5:26 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules , House  
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Comments

If you need a break from all this serious debate over the fate of Rep. Charlie Rangel and want a little entertainment on the same topic, take a look at "It's Always the Little Things" at

http://writingfrontier.com/

Enjoy.

Posted by: Writing Frontier | September 18, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Offshore Opponent's Secret Offshore Adventures

Nothing turns off reasonable folks more than the discovery that someone they know is a hypocrite.

To refresh your lexicographical recall, hypocrisy is defined as a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles that one does not really possess -- in other words, a fraud -- especially when one's actions secretly run counter to one's preaching.

Sadly, Americans, with good reason, have come to expect a certain degree of hypocrisy from almost all politicians, (Ron Paul excepted).

The classic hypocrite was epitomized in Sinclair Lewis' 1927 novel Elmer Gantry, the story of an immoral con man who teams up with a woman evangelist in selling religion for profit to small-town Americans.

Thus it was that the resident left-wing talking head at MSNBC, the recently demoted Keith Olbermann, gleefully sneered that Republican vice presidential candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, "...is Elmer Gantry, Amy Semple McHockeymom."

Charlie's Exit Tax

So here comes good old boy, Charlie Rangel, Democrat congressman from Harlem, dean of the New York delegation, a 37-year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives whose seniority and the Democrats 2006 victory has made him chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee that writes all of America's tax laws.

I served in the House some years ago with Charlie and found him, in spite of our philosophical differences, to be a genial gentlemen with a great sense of humor. But as one who has an interest in promoting low taxes and continuing the freedom to invest and do business offshore, I have come to know a different Charlie Rangel all too well.

For years Rangel has been a tireless advocate of a huge "exit tax" on any American citizen or long-time resident alien who decides they want formally to end their status, (as they have a legal right to do).

A 50% Capital Tax

Rangel tried and failed to get his onerous tax enacted into law in 2004 and 2005 when the Republicans controlled the Congress. Once the Democrats came to power after the 2006 elections, Rangel made certain his exit tax would become law. He slipped this horrendous tax into a popular military and veterans pension/pay bill, (without hearings or public notice) and on June 4, 2008, President Bush, not wanting to upset the veterans' lobby, signed it into law.

The Rangel exit tax presumes that anyone who ends his or her U.S. citizenship and; (1) who paid more than $124,000 in net taxes for the previous five years, or (2) has a net worth of more than $2 million, is a tax traitor who did so with the intent to avoid paying taxes. No proof of intent is required. With some variations, the tax is about 50% of the value of all the expatriate's assets wherever located.

Needless to say, over the years Rep. Rangel argued for his exit tax, excoriating "the rich" who might avoid U.S. taxes offshore as the worst possible ingrates and villains. Rich Americans have a special obligation, he intoned, to pay their fair share of taxes so that poorer Americans don't get stuck with paying the tax bill. He railed against offshore "tax havens" where rich Americans, he claimed, hid their cash and failed to pay taxes.

Charlie's Offshore Haven

In July, The New York Times disclosed that the New York developer, the Olnick Organization, had allowed Rep. Rangel to lease four rent-stabilized apartments in a luxury Harlem condo high-rise at prices far below market value.

He used one as a campaign office, which violated New York state requirements that rent-stabilized apartments be used solely as a primary residence. Rep. Rangel agreed to relinquish the campaign office, but he asserted that there was nothing improper about keeping the others, and pointed out that two of the units were combined by a previous tenant who had a wall removed.

While it is not illegal for landlords to allow a tenant to lease multiple rent-stabilized apartments, some government ethics experts said that the hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent savings Mr. Rangel received could be considered a gift and a violation of the $100 annual limit on gifts to House members.

Pero Espera: Hay Mucho Más!

It turns out that Exit Tax Charlie also has had, since way back in 1988, his own offshore tax haven down on Tortuga Bay in the sunny Dominican Republic.

Rep. Rangel has owned a luxury beach front house at the posh Punta Cana Resort and Club. But the Congress' head tax lawmaker, the man in charge of the Internal Revenue Code, has never reported to the IRS or paid any taxes on over $75,000 in rental income his beach front house has earned him. He also failed to list that income on his New York tax returns. He also got a $54,000 mortgage loan on his villa interest free, a happy fact of which he claimed to be unaware. He paid it off in 2003. It was also revealed Rangel had failed to pay taxes or disclose the sale of a home he and his wife owned in Washington, D.C. in 2003 and a $70,000 profit they made on a Florida condominium they bought in 2004 and sold in 2006.

Deferred Taxes a Specialty

In the past Rep. Rangel has been a fierce advocate of repealing the current legal deferral of income taxes on offshore hedge fund managers. He said he wanted to shut a tax loophole allowing some hedge fund managers to defer taxes on billions of dollars of their compensation from offshore funds. The provision would require fund managers to pay taxes immediately on income that is now tax deferred.

But until now we really didn't know what an expert Charlie was on how personally to defer taxes. You just don't pay them!

Ne Habla Espanol?

At a Capitol Hill press conference during which he took turns being remorseful and defiant, the congressman said he was not aware of the unreported income and unpaid taxes, in part because he had trouble getting detailed financial statements from the resort’s managers in the Dominican Republic.

"Every time I thought I was getting somewhere, they’d start speaking Spanish," Rangel told reporters. This, from an experienced lawyer who has many bilingual staff members and represents a district with over 40% Spanish speakers.

Republicans in the House have reacted with calls for Chairman Rangel to resigned his chairmanship. But the 78-year-old congressman, who has been in the House since 1971, brushed aside calls that he step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the federal tax code. He accused Republicans of politicizing his financial issues. He said he would pay several thousand dollars in federal taxes he owes after failing to report $75,000 in rental income from the villa.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), has referred the entire Rangel matter to the House Ethics Committee.

Don't hold your breath.

Knowing the ways of Capitol Hill as I do, I seriously doubt that this will mean an exit for "Exit Tax Charlie."

Posted by: Robert E. Bauman | September 19, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know where Pelosi is? I would like to know how that Ethics reform thing is coming along. TERM LIMITS NOW!!!!!!

Posted by: Adrian | September 19, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Canadian Health&Care Mall started as a multistore based in Toronto and Ottawa in early 90s. Health&Care chain store system has been growing from year to year and finally has resulted in the current online project, as a result of operating not just as a family pharmacy but also as a store of so-called "useful things" . We tried to obtain the benefit from our previous experience and to create a really competing online resource for absolutely any customer. Though the idea is standard you may be absolutely sure that the filling is unique and has no analogues all over the Internet. We would like to admit that our online store is operating independently from the offline store system.

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Posted by: Health&Care Mall | September 20, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Canadian Health&Care Mall started as a multistore based in Toronto and Ottawa in early 90s. Health&Care chain store system has been growing from year to year and finally has resulted in the current online project, as a result of operating not just as a family pharmacy but also as a store of so-called "useful things" . We tried to obtain the benefit from our previous experience and to create a really competing online resource for absolutely any customer. Though the idea is standard you may be absolutely sure that the filling is unique and has no analogues all over the Internet. We would like to admit that our online store is operating independently from the offline store system.

http://www.fytiljywe.com

Posted by: Health&Care Mall | September 20, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Canadian Health&Care Mall started as a multistore based in Toronto and Ottawa in early 90s. Health&Care chain store system has been growing from year to year and finally has resulted in the current online project, as a result of operating not just as a family pharmacy but also as a store of so-called "useful things" . We tried to obtain the benefit from our previous experience and to create a really competing online resource for absolutely any customer. Though the idea is standard you may be absolutely sure that the filling is unique and has no analogues all over the Internet. We would like to admit that our online store is operating independently from the offline store system.

http://www.fytiljywe.com

Posted by: Health&Care Mall | September 20, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Canadian Health&Care Mall started as a multistore based in Toronto and Ottawa in early 90s. Health&Care chain store system has been growing from year to year and finally has resulted in the current online project, as a result of operating not just as a family pharmacy but also as a store of so-called "useful things" . We tried to obtain the benefit from our previous experience and to create a really competing online resource for absolutely any customer. Though the idea is standard you may be absolutely sure that the filling is unique and has no analogues all over the Internet. We would like to admit that our online store is operating independently from the offline store system.

http://www.fytiljywe.com

Posted by: Health&Care Mall | September 20, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Canadian Health&Care Mall started as a multistore based in Toronto and Ottawa in early 90s. Health&Care chain store system has been growing from year to year and finally has resulted in the current online project, as a result of operating not just as a family pharmacy but also as a store of so-called "useful things" . We tried to obtain the benefit from our previous experience and to create a really competing online resource for absolutely any customer. Though the idea is standard you may be absolutely sure that the filling is unique and has no analogues all over the Internet. We would like to admit that our online store is operating independently from the offline store system.

http://www.fytiljywe.com

Posted by: Health&Care Mall | September 20, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

come on, we all know old charlie will get off free and clear, one thing, he is dem, another is he s black, miss nancy is in deep too. why would she do any thing to another crook? birds of a feathr,, she loves charlie, any white rep, would have been railroaded out of own by now,

Posted by: frostwhite | September 22, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

When I asked Rangel to speak to the black caucus years ago to ask for help on a nyc
bill, he accused me of being racist.
(have it in writing)
Then what is a black caucus????????

Posted by: gany | September 22, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

well...let's see ...Marion Berry got away with drugs...Rep Jefferson had $90,000 in the freezer during Katrina...Conyers even steals Turkeys donated to the poor in his district...Stokes when he was a Congressman stole dog food and tools from a Hardware...McKinney strikes a Capital police officer..gee...and there are more...but I can not remember...so if Oba,a becomes president he can commit any crime and never be held accountable...yep...stupid white guilt...idiots are lucky I am not there...I have no white guilt. I vote for the person. The Dems in Ohio call us who are voting for McCain racists...gee, I voted for Ken Blackwell for Gov...hey does that make all the Ohio Democrats racists??? Yep...and Teddy Strickland was sure the one who benefited from it!!!

Posted by: Sandi | September 22, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Ah, memories of the Reverent Adam Clayton Powell, US Rep. from Harlem who spent most of his, along with an feamale assistant, time living on a boat located in Bimimi. According to a reporter and friend of Adam's, once when they were in Adam's luxrious apartment in DC, the reporter said: "You sure live well Adam", who raised his eyes to the heavens and said "It all comes from serving Jesus".

Posted by: Bill O'Neill | September 23, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

So tell me as to why both Democrat Madame
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and that thieving con
artist Democrat Congressman Charlie Rangel
have not been kicked out of Congress and
are not sitting a jail cell by now?...I
also hope the voters will remember it was
Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rangel and
the Do Nothing Democrats that took the
Impeachment of both President George W Bush
and VP Draft Dodger Dead Eye Dickey Cheney
and that Messiah Barack Hussein Obama and
Democrat Senator Chris Dodd took more damn
graft money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
then anyone else in Congress,so tell me how
much crooked Charlie Rangel and Madame
Speaker Nancy Pelosi got as well,will you?
If you want real change vote McCain/Palin!

Posted by: Patty 2008 | September 23, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama as a 'reformer' and an advocate of change in Washington had any concept of LEADERSHIP. He would have DEMANDED that this guy step down until he was cleared.

Pelosi, Dodd, Dean, Frank, Reid and others are PULLING OBAMA's strings.

Because Obama is willing to sell is soul to the devil to be the First Black President of the United States. He will do anything, say anything, support anyone that will bow down to his EGO and make his dream of power and wealth a reality.

A real LEADER would take control of this issue and insure that Rangel was kicked off his plush committee, either sent home packing or censored and not given any leadership roles for the remainder of his term. But we also have to realize that race will DEFINITELY BE A FACTOR in Obama's lack of decision making ability.

Party, self, wealth, power, ego, more wealth... COUNTRY IS LAST.

OBAMA AND THE DNC.

Posted by: Bob Miller | September 24, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

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