A Philosopher's Blog

You Can’t Tax Me, I’m the Rangelman!

Posted in Ethics, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on September 20, 2009
{{w|Charles B. Rangel}}, member of the United ...
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One interesting story that you will most likely not hear is the tale of Charlie Rangel. While his actions are clearly worthy of the attention of the news media, such attention seems to be sorely lacking.

Charles Rangel is a major player in the House. While he was first elected in 1971, he only recently
became the  chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.  Interestingly, he certainly seems to have a way with money and a means to avoid paying taxes on it.

It has been claimed that his 2007 financial disclosure report failed to report significant assets. These include a credit union account alleged to be worth between $250,000 and $500,000, an investment account, and three properties in New Jersey. To top that off, it is also claimed that he has not disclosed over $1 million in assets, even though he is required to do so.

One story that did make the news (albeit briefly) was that Rangel failed to report and pay taxes on a Caribbean villa. The IRS did take him to task and he was forced to pay the back taxes (about $10,000), but he was not subject to any other penalty.

While the House Ethics Committee has investigated his activities, nothing has been done and the Democrats seem disinclined to take any action. The Republicans have tried to take action against him, but they lack the votes to do anything.

Those with good memories will recall that Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was convicted of lying on his disclosure forms. While his conviction was (conveniently enough) thrown out, his actions effectively ended his career.

From a moral standpoint, what happened to Ted Stevens should also happen to Rangel (assuming that the allegations are true, of course). After all, the same rules must (on the pain of legal and moral inconsistency) apply to all. To let Rangel get away with the same deeds that Stevens was called to task for is grossly unjust. Also, consider what would happen to a normal citizen who engaged in comparable behavior. They would face serious consequences if they did what Rangel was alleged to have done.

If Rangel is guilty of what he is accused of doing and the Democrats do nothing, then they make it clear that they are not concerned about ethics or professionalism. While we have (sadly enough) come to expect little from our elected “leaders”, it is far past the time when we should hold them to the standards that they should meet. The matter of Rangel must be investigated and, if he is guilty, he must be brought to justice. Anything less is an insult to the rule of law and professional ethics.

We were promised that it would not be politics as usual. Yet, as always, it is.  So, I have little faith that justice will be served.

It is also interesting to note that Rangel has received little news coverage. While there have been some major stories to take up the news time, I did noticed that CNN did a lengthy segment on 9/18/2009 about the dad who caught the foul ball and gave it to his daughter (who then threw it). This was a internet hit, true, but I think that if CNN can spare time for this, then they can report in more detail on what sort of misdeeds might be going on in regards to Rangel and others.

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6 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on September 20, 2009 at 10:11 am


  2. biomass2 said, on September 20, 2009 at 11:41 am

    “From a moral standpoint, what happened to Ted Stevens should also happen to Rangel . . .”
    Including the “convenient” dismissal of charges? 😦
    I’m not a lawyer, nor do I portray one on tv, so someone please explain what happened here. Stevens’ conviction occurred during the Bush Administration under a Bush Justice Department headed by Michael Mukasey. Now Mukasey had two Democratic prosecutors arguing the government’s case. William Welch, an obviously politically motivated Democrat, was appointed as chief of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section. That section is responsible for corruption cases. He was appointed by none other than Alberto Gonzales. And Brenda Morris who was Welch’s deputy in that section was named to lead the case by Welch.

    I know the CYA argument has been for a while now that the AG has little or no control over what happens at one or two removes from his AG office on Pennsylvania Avenue. But this is a monumental screw up by the prosecutors who were directly or indirectly appointed to positions in the *Public Integrity Section of our department of *Justice* !
    by AG Gonzalez. Heck of a job,Alberto?


    “DOJ sources told The Post that they are worried that lower-level prosecutors are being sacrificed by new Obama DOJ appointees who use more rigorous standards on evidence-sharing procedures than were in place during the Bush administration.”

    “More rigorous”? Now why would they do that?

    “Judge Sullivan knew about the prosecutorial misconduct in the Stevens case while the case was pending. He refused to dismiss the case. Why?
    Judge Sullivan gave the prosecutors the benefit of the doubt. He wanted to believe that the Public Integrity Section of the United States Department of Justice had some integrity. There is a deep need to believe that our power structures have some justice to them.”

    “benefit of the doubt. . .” ??!

  3. magus71 said, on September 21, 2009 at 8:42 am

    We always seem to key in on the president, whomever it may be. But in my mind, Congress is extremely corrupt and it’s to the point where Americans are losing faith in that institution. Time and again, the scandals and back-door dealing that goes on are showing that not only is our government failing us–but we accept it.

    • biomass2 said, on September 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm

      On the basis of scandals and “back-door dealing” alone, public faith in Congress *should* have reached the tipping point long ago. That branch has been “failing us” in many ways for many years, and we’ve ignored the failures. Public complicity in this is not just a 21st century phenomenon. This is, after all, “government of the people. . .. ” We have been failing ourselves for years.

      And don’t even get me started on the executive branch. . . .

  4. magus71 said, on September 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Here’s one that makes Rangel look like he was just stealing Halloween candy:


    • kernunos said, on September 22, 2009 at 11:29 pm

      It is good but he is like a ‘bag man’ for a gangster. Every corrupt politician no matter what political affiliation must go down. I have little patience nowadays.

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