General Question

josie's avatar

Is Charlie Rangel a fall guy?

Asked by josie (27970points) July 29th, 2010

Say what you please, Rangel, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are pretty much singularly responsible for the events that led up to our current debt crisis. Please do not bother denying it in this tread, because it is true. That aside, the administration has a few problems in the 2010 elections, and among them are democrat leaders, Dodd and Rangel. Dodd is quitting, avoiding the obvious shit storm. Rangel showed no inclination to quit, so he had to be taken out. He is black, very left and corrupt, and as such creates an awkward situation for an administration that cannot survive without moderate, independent voters.
He is being being harshly disciplined by the Ethics Committee. I say he is being kicked under the bus, so he will not be focus of criticism in the fall elections. What do you think?

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29 Answers

ItsAHabit's avatar

You forgot to mention Barney Frank’s leading role in promoting financial speculation.

jaytkay's avatar

Rangel, Frank & Dodd control the US economy? Three guys?

I did not know that.

wundayatta's avatar

I think you have a little difficulty recognizing truth.

There is no conspiracy. Shit happens. This has been a long time coming.

Or do you think every Congress critter has skeletons in their closets and the ethics committee decides to publicize them when it suits them? As if the ethics committee could be pushed to do anything it didn’t want to. It has three Ds and three Rs, and in Rangel’s case, they were unanimous in decision to publicly identify his alleged crimes.

They aren’t doing it to suit the Administration’s wishes and try to save its election chances. Even if they were so motivated, this is not the route they’d choose for the simple fact that there is no way in hell that it would work.

Like I say, you might want to go the optometrist. I think your prescription is getting a bit old.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Who said anything about controlling the economy??? But I’m too courteous to make any snide remarks about anyone needing their vision checked.

shilolo's avatar

Hard to take anyone seriously who lays the blame for our economic crisis on anyone’s doorstep other than George Bush. See, its pretty simple economics. When you cut taxes, you have less revenue. When you start two unfunded wars, that dramatically increases your spending. Bush turned a budget surplus under Clinton into a huge deficit. Because of a glaring error in your initial thesis, the rest just falls apart.

Cruiser's avatar

To quote Senator Jimi Hendrix of the house ways and means committee…

“I’m not the only soul who’s accused of hit and run
Tire tracks all across your back
I can see you had your fun”

ItsAHabit's avatar

We’re well over a year and a half into a new presidency and the hatred of Bush is so palpable that some people (including our president) continue blaming him for all our problems.

People who are politically experienced and astute rarely lay the blame for an economy on any president.

wundayatta's avatar

Oh piffle, @ItsAHabit. All the Presidents blame bad things on the previous administration.

It is unfortunate how few astute and honorable people there are in this country. Be it as it may, Presidents, no matter how unfairly, are responsible for everything bad that happens on their watch. It’s just the nature of the beast.

jaytkay's avatar

@ItsAHabit People who are politically experienced and astute rarely lay the blame for an economy on any president.

But astute people say, “Rangel, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are pretty much singularly responsible…”?

Those three men control the banks, the borrowers and the voters?

Explain.

jca's avatar

to me the phrase “to throw somebody under a bus” implies that whatever that person did is not that bad. to me, what Rangel did is quite bad. The very least of what he did is he had not one but five rent controlled apartments (rent controlled apartments are supposed to be the primary residence of the tenant, so obviously someone could not have five primary residences). He admitted to using one as an office and using one to give guests a place to stay. This from a guy who is head of the Ethics Committee.

I don’t think thrown under the bus applies to him. I think guilty as charged applies to him.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think Reagan and his Voodoo economics is what really fucked us. Bush 1 realized that it was an irresponsible policy, but his son took the reins and really fucked this country by following Regan’s fiscal policy. See this chart.

@jca fixed (ty)

jca's avatar

you mean Reagan..

Tomfafa's avatar

@shilolo Simple what? reagan cut the highest tax rate from 70% to 40% and doubled the fed tax revenue… bush cut taxes and gave us the biggest tax revenue in history… we can find other examples, even in other countries.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Tomfafa it would have been a lot bigger at 70%.

shilolo's avatar

@Tomfafa Please provide evidence of your claim. The Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman has easily debunked this myth, so, you’ll have to work hard to prove your point. Of course, there might be a (ig)Nobel Prize in it for you if you can.

Tomfafa's avatar

@shilolo Do your own research… I can explain it to you… but I can’t understand it for you. You guys bore me… anyway…

shilolo's avatar

@Tomfafa Spoken like someone who truly understands what (s)he is saying. I’m pretty sure I can understand complex economic policies and math, so by all means, explain away. I imagine you were going to give me some sort of conservative interpretation of the Laffer curve? Or is it something else? I’ve done research for you, and shown evidence to counter your unsupported argument. Please, educate me.

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shilolo's avatar

Or even those who can digest and interpret complex economic data.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

They have been investigating Rangel for 2 years at least. He’s a crook, but no fall guy.

LostInParadise's avatar

I have always felt that Rangel is one of the smarmiest politicians. There has always been something about him that struck a false note. I feel the same way about John Edwards. It does not surprise me in the least that they have found him guilty of ethics violations.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Lostinparadise Yes, I always felt that John Edwards was a self-centered, self-promoting, narcissistic, egotist. As I write this, it occurs to me that this description applies to another likable fellow who now lives at 1600.

Do you count Rangel out of the fight? You may remember that a mayor of DC was caught on tape taking bribes but was re-elected.

UScitizen's avatar

Rangel is one of many criminals in government. He foolishly allowed his continuing criminal enterprise to become visible to those of us who provide funding to the government. Is he a fall guy? No. He simply became too visible for the other criminals to continue to protect him.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Do you count Rangel out of the fight? You may remember that a mayor of DC was caught on tape taking bribes but was re-elected.

Tomfafa's avatar

That same DC mayor was caught on tape smoking crack with a hooker in a DC motel… and was re-elected while in prison! He should run for president.

shilolo's avatar

Yes, cocaine use typically would disqualify you from office, right? Unless, of course, the evidence is suppressed….

ItsAHabit's avatar

Do these charges suggest that Charlie Rangel is a fall guy?

1. Conduct in violation of the solicitation and gift ban

“Between 2005 and 2008 Respondent engaged in a pattern of soliciting for donations and other things of value on behalf of the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Policy at the City College of New York.”
“The entities solicited were seeking official action from the House…”
“Respondent’s conduct was not within the parameters established by the Standards Committee for solicitations on behalf of charitable organizations.”
2. Conduct in violations of Code of Ethics for Government Service (clause 5)

A member is never supposed to give special favors or accept things that may make it look like it could sway the member in his official capacity.
”...Respondent made numerous requests for support for the Rangel Center. Those requests were directed at entities and individuals whose interests could be affected by the legislative and oversight activities of Respondent in his capacity as a member of congress.”
“Contributions were made by persons with interests before the Ways and Means Committee…”
“Contributions to the Rangel Center provided a benefit to Respondent.”
3. Conduct in violation of the House gift rule

“Respondent solicited contributions for the Rangel Center and the Rangel Center did receive contributions.”
“Respondent has a personal interest in the Rangel Center… will provide him with an office, and allows him to perpetuate his legacy, including the storing and archiving of his papers.”
“Contributions to the Rangel Center constituted indirect gifts attributable to Respondent.”
4. Conduct in violation of postal service laws and franking commission regulations

A member is not allowed to use the frank for any association, committee or organization. Only for official congressional duties.
“Respondent used his frank for the benefit of a charitable organization and for solicitation of funds.”
5. Conduct in violation of any franking statute

“Respondent used his frank on materials that were not official business.”
6. Conduct in violation of House Office Building Commission’s Regulations

Not allowed to use congressional staff to solicit contributions on House of Representatives property.
“Respondent and his staff drafted solicitation letters and performed other work related to solicitations on property of the U.S. Representatives.”
7. Conduct in violation of the purpose law and the Member’s Congressional Handbook

Members’ allowances include official mail costs/staff salaries. It is against the law to misuse federal funds. The members’ handbook says the allowance can only be used for official purposes.
“Respondent used House employees and other official House resources for work related to the Rangel center.”
“Those resources included the use of staff time, use of telephones and House email accounts, other office supplies, and of the frank. Those expenses were paid using the MRA.” MRA is the Member’s Representational Allowance.
8. Conduct in violation of the Letterhead Rules

House rules do not allow anyone not under the direction and control of the House to use the words “Congress of the United States” or “House of Representatives” or “Official Business.”
”...Respondent sent letters related to the Rangel Center on letterhead bearing the words ‘Congress of the United States’ and ‘House of Representatives.’”
9. Conduct in violation of the Ethics in Government Act (EIGA) and House Rule 16

EIGA requires members to file full and complete Financial Disclosure statements on income, rent on property, gifts and other financial assets. If a statement has to be amended, the committee says it’s in good faith if done by the end of the year and an explanation as to why. Fail on one of those, and the amendment is not considered in good faith.
“Respondent engaged in a pattern of submitting Financial Disclosure statements that were incomplete and inaccurate.”
“Respondent failed to report numerous items required to be reported… from 1998 through 2008.”
“Respondent erroneously reported numerous required to be reported under the EIGA during the period 1998 through 2007.”
“Respondent’s amendments…1998 through 2007 were not filed within the close of the year…Respondent’s amendments were not timely.”
“Respondent’s amendments…1998 through 2007 were filed after the committee…had established an investigative subcommittee with respect to Respondent’s conduct, including his reporting of the Punta Cana villa on his Financial Disclosure Statements…”
“Respondent has failed to establish that the amendments to his Financial Disclosure statements for the calendar years 1998 through 2007 were submitted in good faith.”
“Respondent’s conduct violated the EIGA.”
10. Conduct in violation of Code of ethics for Government Service (clause 5)

Here’s another case where a person in government is not supposed to give special privileges to anyone or accept favors or benefits that could look like it might influence his actions as a Representative.
“Respondent received a rent stabilized residential apartment at Lenox Terrace, which he used as office space for Rangel for Congress and National Leadership PAC.”
“Terms of the lease for the rent stabilized apartment provided that the apartment was to be used ‘for living purposes only.’”
“Respondent’s acceptance of that rent-stabilized apartment for nonresidential purposes in contravention of the terms of the lease was a favor or benefit to him…”
“Respondent accepted the favor or benefit from Olnick under circumstances that might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of his governmental duties.”
11. Conduct in violation of Code of Ethics for Government Service (clause 2)

Code of ethics for government service states that people in government must uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States.
“Respondent’s failure to report rental income related to Punta Cana on his Federal income tax returns violated the Internal Revenue Code.”
As already stated above, Rangel also violated Franking Regulations, House Office Building Commission’s Regulations, Member’s Congressional Handbook, Ethics in Government Act and the Internal Revenue Code and other violations.
12. Conduct in Violation of the Code of Conduct: Letter and Spirit of House Rules

House Rules state that a Member “shall adhere to the spirit and the letter of the Rules of the House…”
Respondent’s conduct violated this rule.
13. Conduct in Violation of the Code of Conduct: Conduct Reflecting Discredibility on the House

House Rules state that a Member “shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”
Subcommittee finds Rangel violated this with the following offenses:
-Improper solicitations of potential donors to the Rangel Center
-Acceptance of favors and benefits from donors to the Rangel Center in a way that some might see as influence the job he does in Congress

-Knowingly accepting indirect gifts from donors to the Rangel Center

-Improperly using franking privileges to raise money for the Rangel Center

-Writing solicitations for the Rangel Center on House property

Misusing House resources staff, phones, e-mail and franking for work related to the Rangel Center.

-Misuse of Congressional letterhead to solicit donations to the Rangel Center
-Failing to disclose, from 1998 to 2007, full and complete financial statements

-Rangel’s pattern of submitting Financial Disclosure statements that were incomplete and inaccurate
-Failing to make sure his Financial Disclosure statements were complete and accurate

-Violating the Ethics in Government Act

-Failing to report rental income from his villa in the Dominican Republic on his Federal income tax returns from 1998 to 2006

-Violating the Internal Revenue Code
-Receiving rent stabilized apartment, using it for campaign activities when the lease stated it should be used only for living purposes
-Accepting the rent stabilized apartment in a way that could look like he was influence in his government activities by the deal
-By breaking the law, Rangel violated the Code of Ethics for Government Service
-By not adhering to the letter and spirit of House Rules
-“Respondent’s pattern of indifference or disregard for the laws, rules and regulations of the United States and the House of Representatives is a serious violation”

-“Respondent’s actions and accumulation of actions reflected poorly on the institution of the House and, thereby, brought discredit to the House”

Tomfafa's avatar

I can’t read all that… but I say… so what!? Even if he was video taped smoking crack in a hotel room with a hooker… 96% of his constituents would vote for him.

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