New York Rep. Charles Rangel, former Ways and Means chairman, on Thursday was finally hit with multiple charges of ethics violations.
Rangel responded, “I was notified today, two years after I requested an investigation, that the Ethics Committee will refer the allegations reviewed by an investigations subcommittee to a subcommittee that will review the facts. I am pleased that, at long last, sunshine will pierce the cloud of serious allegations that have been raised against me in the media.”
So, what has this investigation focused on?
- His use of official stationery to raise money for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York.
- Whether he had the Ways and Means Committee consider legislation that would benefit donors to the Rangel Center at the same time the congressman solicited donations or pledges.
- Preservation of a tax shelter for an oil drilling company, Nabors Industries, which has a chief executive who donated money to the center while Rangel’s committee considered the loophole legislation.
- Use of four rent-controlled apartment units in New York City, when the city’s rent stabilization program is supposed to apply to one’s primary residence. This raises the question of how all the units could be primary residences. One was a campaign office, raising the separate question of whether the rent break was an improper gift.
- Whether Rangel, as required, publicly reported information on the financing and rental of his ownership interest in a unit within the Punta Cana Yacht Club in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Rangel also had to pay back taxes on the rental income.
- Whether he intentionally failed to report — when required — hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in assets. The amended disclosure reports added a credit union IRA, mutual fund accounts and stock.
Certainly, with the cards stacked against Rangel, he is left with a difficult decision. Melanie Sloan, excecutive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), said “the question is whether Representative Rangel will resign or endure a public trial that promises to be filled with detailed and undoubtedly embarrassing revelations of wrongdoing.”