There can be perhaps no more stark example than Charles Rangel (DEMOCRAT – NY) of what is wrong with large government excess perpetrated by bureaucrats who are allowed to spend far too much time in “public service.” After 2½ years of investigations the House Ethics Committee found Charles Rangel (DEMOCRAT – NY) guilty of 11 of 16 charges against him. The charges included:
- Personally sought donations from registered lobbyists whose corporations had business before Congress. In some cases, Mr. Rangel asked for contributions of as much as $30 million from businesses with issues before the Ways and Means Committee, of which he was the chairman until March,
- Failed to pay taxes on and report rental income from his Dominican villa,
- Improperly accepted from a Manhattan developer rent-stabilized apartments (four of them), one of which he used as a campaign office,
- Not properly disclosing more than $600,000 in income and assets,
- Filed incomplete financial disclosure forms,
See if you can ascertain the truthfulness (alleged) of Rangel’s attorney’s statement in response to the charges;
“The undisputed evidence in the record — assembled by the investigative subcommittee over its nearly two-year investigation — is that Congressman Rangel did not dispense any political favors, that he did not intentionally violate any law, rule or regulation, and that he did not misuse his public office for private gain.”
I have the benefit of hindsight as Rangel has since been found guilty of the charges, but how does one read the charges and look at the evidence and have the chutzpah to say that he did not have a private gain? Eventually Rangel was forced to resign as chairman of the House Ways and Means committee. It seems that the Democrats finally could not longer bear the heat of having the top congressman in charge of writing tax law actually being a tax cheat. It seems the post of Treasury Secretary was already taken by another tax cheat.
You have to ask yourself whether we really are, as John Adam’s noted, “a nation of laws, not of men” when you look at Rangel’s “punishment.” It was reported today that Rangel “be censured for financial and fundraising misconduct as lawmakers neared closure on an embarrassing 2 1/2-year-long scandal.” So he cheats on his taxes, cheats to get four rent-controlled apartments (that three families who could not have a place to live), he solicited donations from people with business before the committee he chairs, and hid it all and his punishment is censure. CENSURE. A man who cheats on his taxes, cheats to get four rent-controlled apartments, solicited illegal donations, and hid is all is probably not too concerned about having a few fingers waved at him. As he was just re-elected to his 21st term I am guess that his constituents don’t really care about integrity.
I was wondering about his tax problems as we all know how Machiavellian the IRS can be with tax cheats. It seems that Rangel did have to pay his taxes, but the IRS waived any fines, interest and did not pursue criminal prosecution. In response to Rangel’s favored treatment by the Internal Revenue Service, Texas Representative John Carter (R-TX) proposed legislation called the “Rangel Rule Act of 2009.” Under this rule, which is DOA, all United States’ citizens would be afforded the same kid-gloved treatment that Rangel received. I don’t want kid-gloved treatment. I would like to see political tax cheats go to jail. I’d like to see Rangel thrown out of office. I’d like to see him lose his pension. I’d like to see him treated as the thief that he is. I don’t want him to be able to become a lobbyist. I’d like to see him in jail.
It saddened me, though it didn’t surprise me, when Rangel got off. I am not sure why the Republicans didn’t push for a harsher sentence. I suspect that they are all brother politicians before American citizens. Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and you get a feel about what a great nation of laws we were. Look at what we have become and you know that we have become a nation of men and unfortunately many are like this man.