Janesville62.7°

What’s a little oversight between friends?

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Rick Horowitz
October 8, 2009

“…if you’ll all take your seats, I’ve got a statement here from Chairman Rangel. First I want to…”


“Can’t hear you!”


“Closer to the mike, will ya?”


“Sorry. What I said was…is this better?”


“Perfect.”


“Fine. I’ve got a statement from Chairman Rangel here regarding the recent allegations. Now, the chairman wants to make clear that he genuinely regrets any confusion his actions may have created—or his failure to act—may have created in the mind of the public, or with his colleagues here in the House. As all of you know, he’s been a member of this body for nearly four decades, and he has the deepest respect for the institution and its rules. When he…”


“What about the money?”


“If I can…I’ll be getting to that. Chairman Rangel has dedicated his career to serving his constituents in the best and most effective way he knows how, and those constituents continue to support him. To support him strongly. Now…”


“Why didn’t he report the money?”


“If I can finish. Now, as you know, there are several different questions that have been raised about income that supposedly wasn’t reported on his financial-disclosure forms, including some from various rental properties the chairman may have owned in New York and elsewhere. And as to at least one of those properties, the chairman sold the place some years ago, so…”


“You think that gets him off the hook?”


“I’m just saying his financial dealings over the years have generally been in some…”


“Flux.”


“Exactly. In some flux, and so it would be appropriate to take that into account in any examination of what the chairman did or didn’t report, and when he did or didn’t report it, and what taxes he didn’t or didn’t pay on what he did or didn’t report. Now, as to another question—those four rent-controlled apartments the chairman actually used in Manhattan…”


“And paid next to nothing for.”


“And negotiated a good but fair rate for. Anyway, as to whether those apartments should be considered gifts to the chairman in excess of congressional gift limits, the chairman obviously disagrees, and he has a very simple explanation for that. Now, with respect to the municipal bonds and…”


“Wait a minute…what’s his explanation?”


“It’s a very simple explanation, as I said. Now, with respect to the municipal bonds and that Merrill Lynch account, it can be really hard, as you know, to put a dollar value on those kinds of assets, and…”

“Half a million bucks?”


“Well, that would certainly be one way to value it. But when it comes to reporting those assets…”


“Which he didn’t do.”


“There are, as you know, a broad range of dollar values the members are asked to assign to those assets.”


“Which he also didn’t do.”


“And again, there’s quite a simple explanation for that. Now, regarding the chairman raising some funds for…”


“Wait a minute!”


“…for the Rangel Center at City College, and the particular donors who decided to contribute even though they knew they would get absolutely no favorable treatment on tax matters or anything else from the chairman whatsoever…”


“There’s a simple explanation?”


“Exactly.”


“Which you won’t tell us.”


“I didn’t say that.”


“But you won’t tell us.”


“Now, on the Dominican villa…”


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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