Leave Charlie Rangel Alone!


The New York Post digs into the finances of House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and finds the third big-time irregularity in as many months.

A Post investigation into Punta Cana found that the sun-drenched beach front "casita" 412 was regularly rented out for up to $1,100 a day, yet Rangel had said he received no income in 2006, 2007 and other years. In other years, he had declared rental income of up to $15,000. He now admits that over 20 years he made at least $75,000 in rental income that he didn't report.

The chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee at first denied that he earned any money to a Post reporter, then said the whole thing was "a private matter." But now Rangel's lawyer says disclosure forms will be refiled for a number of years. Filing a false disclosure form can result in civil penalties and a possible five-year prison sentence.

His three-bedroom, three-bath villa, which can accommodate three couples, is rented for between $500 in the low season to $1,100 a night in the busiest tourist season and is one of the resort's most popular, managers and staff say.

The congressman, battered by the stories, will file new tax returns. Democrats will laugh off Republican demands for Rangel's resignation. New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson will rush to Rangel's defense.

He has been fighting the battle for years, and now he's the chairman of the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives, and all of a sudden, people are taking shots at him… It just appears as if there's a piling on, almost, against Congressman Rangel. And at a certain point, whether it is valid or not, it just appears to be excessive. And I think he deserves to be defended.

Whether valid or not! I'm going to apply that standard to tax collectors the next time I get audited.