NOVEMBER 17, 2010
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today regarding the House Ethics Committee’s sanctions hearing slated for Thursday for Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who was convicted on Tuesday, November 16 on 11 counts of violating ethics rules:
The House Ethics Committee finally did the right thing and convicted Charlie Rangel for his corrupt behavior. But there can be no justice for Charlie Rangel without a serious punishment for his unapologetic violations of law and ethics rules. Rangel deserves more than a mere slap on the wrist; he should be expelled from Congress. If the Ethics Committee fails to recommend expulsion for Rangel, the full House should act on its own to expel him. Rangel’s presence in the House does nothing but bring further disrepute to the institution.
The American people sent a loud and clear message on Election Day: they are sick and tired of the corruption that is so pervasive in Washington. No more influence peddling. No more abuse of office. No more back-room deals that allow corrupt politicians to remain in power. Let’s hope this message reached the House Ethics Committee and the full House — Democrats and Republicans alike.
Rangel twice appeared on Judicial Watch’s annual list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” (in 2008 and 2009). The following is an excerpt from Judicial Watch’s 2009 “Top Ten” corruption list:
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rangel, the man in charge of writing tax policy for the entire country, has yet to adequately explain how he could possibly “forget” to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. He also faces allegations that he improperly used his influence to maintain ownership of highly coveted rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, and misused his congressional office to fundraise for his private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for funding. On top of all that, Rangel recently amended his financial disclosure reports, which doubled his reported wealth. (He somehow “forgot” about $1 million in assets.) And what did he do when the House Ethics Committee started looking into all of this? He apparently resorted to making “campaign contributions” to dig his way out of trouble.
According to WCBS TV, a New York CBS affiliate: “The reigning member of Congress’ top tax committee is apparently ‘wrangling’ other politicos to get him out of his own financial and tax troubles…Since ethics probes began last year the 79-year-old congressman has given campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him.”
“Charlie Rangel should not be allowed to remain in Congress, let alone serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and he knows it. That’s why he felt the need to disburse campaign contributions to Ethics Committee members and other congressional colleagues,” said Fitton.