Democrats enforce ethics rules (Just not on themselves)

Discussion in 'Politics' started by John_Wensink, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. More Errors For Rep. Rangel; Hires New Account
    Financial Paper's Problems Prompts Hiring Of Forensic Accounting Expert
    NEW YORK (CBS) ¯ A new set of potential problems in Rep. Charles Rangel's financial papers has prompted the tax-writing lawmaker to decide to hire a forensic accounting expert to try to unravel the mess.

    Rangel, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is already the subject of ethics committee investigations on several fronts, including unreported income and unpaid taxes on his beach house in the Dominican Republic.

    Despite Republican calls for Rangel to be stripped of his Ways and Means Committee chairmanship, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CBS 2 HD it is not going to happen.

    Those issues and others have led the New York Democrat to choose to hire an expert to pore over Rangel's finances over the past 20 years, and issue a report to the House ethics committee. The congressman has not yet enlisted someone for the task.

    Rangel's lawyer, Lanny Davis, said the move shows Rangel "has nothing to hide and does not believe he has done anything intentionally wrong."

    The accountant's report will not be reviewed by Rangel or his advisers before it is given to the committee "as quickly as possible," Davis said.

    The lawmaker also promised that once the report is complete, he will publicly release his tax returns for the past 20 years.

    The tax issue is particularly embarrassing for a lawmaker whose job is to guide new tax law. Rangel is resisting calls from Republicans that he should lose his committee post, among the most coveted on Capitol Hill.

    As more questions have been raised about Rangel's records, his lawyers and accountants have uncovered new discrepancies in the personal financial disclosure documents that he files every year to Congress.

    Every lawmaker is required to file such paperwork disclosing major assets.

    Rangel said in a statement he became aware of the issues over the weekend while working with his attorneys and staff. "While over the years I delegated to my staff the completion of my annual House financial disclosure statements, I had the ultimate responsibility. I owed my colleagues and the public adherence to a higher standard of care not only as a member of Congress but even more as the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee," he said.

    Among the new discrepancies:

    --Rangel's papers over the past 10 years show no reference to the sale of a home he once owned on Colorado Avenue in Washington.

    --The details of a property bought in Sunny Isles, Fla., are bewildering at best. The stated value changes significantly from year to year, and even page to page, from $50,000 to $100,000 all the way up to $500,000.

    --Some of the entries for investment funds fluctuate strangely, suggesting that the person either didn't have accurate information or didn't fill out the paperwork correctly.

    Rangel spent the past week trying to answer questions about his ethics and his finances.

    He acknowledged that he owes the Internal Revenue Service about $5,000 in back taxes for unreported income from the rental of his vacation villa, and probably a smaller amount to state and city tax collectors.

    The congressman acknowledged he made mistakes but said they were errors of omission and should not lead to the loss of his high position in Congress.

    The home in the Dominican Republic has proven a major embarrassment to the 78-year-old Rangel, who conceded he never reported the rental income over a 20-year period, received a no-interest mortgage on the place for more than half that time and claims to have no idea what it is worth today.

    The ethics committee is also investigating Rangel's rental of three rent-stabilized apartments in his home district of Harlem, as well as his use of official congressional stationery to try to find private donors for a college center named after the lawmaker.
    (© 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this
  2. Not an important story for the mainstream media. He's only Chairman of the same Ways and Means Committe which will be drafting enormous tax increases for ordinary peons, who can expect scorched earth from the IRS if they make the slightest error. Also Rangel is a black liberal democrat, so any criticism of him is clearly racism and probably rises to the level of Swiftboating.

    Someone remind me, but aren't these the same guys who said republicans were not fit to lead the congress because of Mark Foley?
  3. Well I can't speak for those guys, and I agree that Rangel should be history after the investigation, but I feel that the Republicans aren't fit to lead because of the investigations by the ethics committee of Larry Craig, Ted Stevens, John Dolittle, Tom Feeney, Jerry Lewis, Gary Miller, Allan Molohan, Murphy, Renzi, Young, Beauprez, Duke Cunningham (bonus points for being indicted), Tom Delay (also bonus points for being indicted), Gibbons, Hastert, Ney, Weldon, and Dominici.

    And Foley, yes.