Forget the Swamp: Drain the Cesspool in New York!

On Tuesday, President Obama encouraged school children to “wash their hands.”   Now he should tell Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to follow his example and do the same.

The president took advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to wash his hands of his most embarrassing political appointment, Green Czar Van Jones.  Jones supposedly made the decision to resign on his own, but he was forced to walk the plank.   Technically, he didn’t have to jump.  He could have stayed on his perch and be run through with a sword – the sword or swim with the sharks.  Jones chose to swim.

Now it’s Pelosi’s turn to feed one of her own to the sharks, New York Congressman Charlie Rangel.  If she doesn’t, her promise to “drain the swamp” will be turned into a campaign ad that can and should be used to drain Congress of every Democrat in leadership. 

Swamp water is clean compared to the cesspool surrounding Rangel, the man who holds one of the most important leadership posts in Pelosi’s fiefdom.

Despite all the sewerage that has surfaced around Rangel,  he has been allowed to remain at his post as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees the tax code.

The latest floater to surface is that Rangel failed to report more than $500,000 in assets on his 2007 Congressional disclosure form.

The amended form reveals that Rangel’s net worth is about twice the amount previously listed, somewhere between $1,028,024 and $2,495,000.   Not bad for a congressman who came into office with no money, raised a family and has had to maintain residences in D.C. and New York — two of the most expenses places on earth – on a paltry congressional salary.

Some say the $174,000 he receives per year wouldn’t pay the clothing bill for Rangel, who is one of the flashiest dressers in Congress this side of Pelosi.

We now know that Rangel doesn’t simply have two residences.  In addition to his D.C. pad, which he claimed as his primary residence, he maintained as many as four rent stabilized apartments in Harlem, which may have violated laws in D.C. and New York.  However, the big thing about those Harlem apartments is that each one was worth thousands of dollars more than Rangel paid per month, which has the smell of an illegal gift from a Manhattan developer.

We also know that Rangel owns a luxurious villa in the Dominican Republic which he rents and forgot to declare on his tax returns.  Then, there is the condominium in Florida, which was under reported, and a Harlem townhouse that just surfaced.

The home on Coronado Avenue in D.C. was recently sold, but, alas, Rangel forgot to report the details on this one as well.  My oh my!  With so many homes it is so very hard to keep up with them all!

This may be the tip of the iceberg of Rangel’s ethical lapses.  In addition to his real estate problems, the House Ethics Committee is investigating a possible quid pro quo between Eugene M. Isenberg, an oil and gas tycoon who made a timely $1 million donation to the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at City College of New York at the time Rangel’s committee was considering whether to close a tax loophole that benefitted Isenberg’s company.   Surprise, surprise, that loophole was preserved!

These and other Rangel problems too numerous to mention  have been bottled up in two subcommittees for the better part of a year.   However, this latest revelation is a bombshell that simply cannot be ignored.

When most of us discover unknown assets, it might be $100 hidden in the corner of a sock drawer or $50 in an old purse.  It’s not hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Congressional Federal Credit Union or Merrill Lynch, where there are monthly reporting statements on the dividends from stocks and mutual funds.

There is no need to wait for a ruling from the House Ethics Committee, which is notorious for operating at glacier-like speed to cover the sins of popular members of Congress.  This man should be forced to step down as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee immediately!

May I remind Speaker Pelosi that in 1994, it was not simply dissatisfaction with President Clinton that cost Democrats their leadership role, it was the fallout from the House banking scandal.

The Rangel scandal is every bit as egregious as the House bank.  This man is either too dumb or too dishonest to run the committee that oversees and writes the tax code for the rest of us.  Wash your hands of this man!

3 thoughts on “Forget the Swamp: Drain the Cesspool in New York!

  1. Good grief. Give Rangel a break. He was going to follow good Democrat tradition, but he did not have a freezer big enough for $500,000. (That is $500,000 more than was already in there.)


  2. Jane,

    Another good column by you as always, however, it probably won’t do any good to implore Nancy Pelosi to do the right thing in removing Charles Rangel from his leadership position because Pelosi is incapable of such an action. Pelosi has to be one of the all-time partisan politicians in Washington if not the most.

    Charles Rangel got very wealthy during his years of “public service” in Washington just like LBJ once did, and undoubtedly, LBJ could have learned some things from Rangel about all of the sordid kickbacks that Rangel in all likelihood has received. Rangel is almost 80 years old, and he has definitely not mellowed with age with him being as corrupt now as he ever was. Oh well, Rangel will be crying like a baby on Judgment Day.



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