Rangel keeps cash in the family

posted at 9:30 am on December 5, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Charlie Rangel already faces some serious questions about his taxes, and now he may face even more about the use of his campaign donations.  Politico reports that Rangel directed over $80,000 of contributions to his son to create two web sites, which hardly reflected the money spent on them:

Between 2004 and 2007, Rep. Charles Rangel steered nearly $80,000 in campaign cash to an Internet company run by his son – paying lavishly for a pair of political Web sites so poorly designed an expert estimated one should have cost no more than $100 to create.

The payments are apparently legal under federal law, but their disclosure raises new questions about the Ways and Means chairman as he faces House ethics committee probes into his failure to pay taxes on rental income and his alleged use of House stationery to solicit contributions for a public policy center that bears his name.

Rangel’s leadership PAC and congressional committee shelled out $79,560 to Edisonian Innovative Works LLC for “websites,” according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Edisonian Innovative Works, which lists several clients on its homepage – none of them politicians — was founded by Rangel’s son, Steven Charles Rangel, 40, of Greenbelt, Md.

Rangel’s team claims that the $2500 per month retainer actually cost Rangel less than his previous web consultants.  Perhaps, but Rangel far outspent his colleagues on campaign websites.  The next two biggest spenders on Internet consultation services were Republicans Ralph Regula of Ohio and Christopher Shays of Connecticut, who combined still spent less than Rangel — and needed the services far more.  While Rangel won over 90% of the vote in his exceedingly-safe district, Regula fought tough races, and Shays lost his seat in November.

And how expert was this very expensive work?  Not expert enough to spell check, anyway.  The website has been undergoing “routine maintenace” for its entire existence, includes an apology for a lack of content, and has a button labeled “Give Contribuition”.  Even that just redirects to a third-party web payment site, according to Politico, instead of handling “contribuitions” through the site itself.  One expert generously valued the work at $100 for Politico, but almost anyone with a basic HTML editor could throw that together in an hour, and perhaps less without spell-checking the work.

Did Rangel père keep any of the money?  That would make this illegal, but we’ll never know the answer to that question.  Rangel fils is out of the web-consulting business ever since his dad got him a spot as an investigative counsel on the Energy and Commerce Committee now headed by Henry Waxman.  It seems highly unlikely that the son will suddenly develop a guilty conscience and tell the whole story of where that $80,000 went — because it certainly didn’t go into the website.

Most ethical Congress ever, eh?  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.


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typical.

bloghooligan on December 5, 2008 at 9:34 AM

This guy is the author of tax legislation that will likely become law next year.

forest on December 5, 2008 at 9:40 AM

This guy is the author of tax legislation that will likely become law next year.

forest on December 5, 2008 at 9:40 AM

What you’ve not heard of legislation for thee but not for me?

I’m sure that is what the Funding Fathers (not to be confused with the Founding Fathers) had in mind.

kybowexar on December 5, 2008 at 9:42 AM

You mean I too can make $80,000 a year just sitting at home in my PJs, building mediocre websites and blogs? And you say I only have to build one a month?

Can I apply at Charlie Rangel’s office?

Ed, can I use you as a reference?

ericdondero on December 5, 2008 at 9:45 AM

I can balance my checkbook and live within my means. Why can’t the government?

Tommy_G on December 5, 2008 at 9:46 AM

This just increases my intense mistrust of the MSM. For the group as a whole to “overlook” Democratic criminals is unforgiveable. They used to try and hide their true nature, but now they feel justified in flaunting it. I wish them nothing but ugly futures.

anniekc on December 5, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Someone needs to come up with a general plan for keeping the Congress clean, a policy that will eject those who are enmeshed in such apparent criminality.

You could call it something like “The Most Ethical Congress Ever” or something like that, though I feel as if I’ve heard that before.

Bishop on December 5, 2008 at 9:48 AM

it’s guaranteed that nothing is going to be done about any of this for the next four years, and possibly eight.

stormin1961 on December 5, 2008 at 9:51 AM

Queen Nancy was unavailable for comment.

JammieWearingFool on December 5, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Here’s the link, so ya’ll don’t have to go looking like I did:

http://www.nationalleadershippac.com

RightWired on December 5, 2008 at 9:55 AM

The payments are apparently legal under federal law, but their disclosure raises new questions about the Ways and Means chairman as he faces House ethics committee probes into his failure to pay taxes on rental income and his alleged use of House stationery to solicit contributions for a public policy center that bears his name.

If you have the “means” you can find a “way”…….

Rovin on December 5, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Different plot, same theme. Time to move on to discussing what to do about it.

Our government is like the US automobile industry. It’s either fixable, or it’s not. If yes, let’s get going. If not, junk it and start over.

JiangxiDad on December 5, 2008 at 10:00 AM

It’s the House of Fools. If any of these career politicians worked for a business out here in the real world, they would be relegated to a remote cubicle with limited ability to do any damage and the gold watch would be wrapped and ready.

sherry on December 5, 2008 at 10:01 AM

This is nothing. What is much more important is how much the RNC spend on Sarah Palin’s clothes. Either that or is she Trig’s mother or what about Dear Leader’s birth certificate or can steel melt. All of these are much more important than the fact that the guy in charge of the US tax code can’t comply with the US tax code.

rbj on December 5, 2008 at 10:03 AM

“I seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.”

CP on December 5, 2008 at 10:03 AM

Here’s the link, so ya’ll don’t have to go looking like I did:

http://www.nationalleadershippac.com

RightWired on December 5, 2008 at 9:55 AM

We’re all invited to Rangel’s birthday party – August 2007!

I guess updates aren’t expected in exchange for the monthly nopotainer paid to his son.

forest on December 5, 2008 at 10:03 AM

These wormy politicians make my blood boil. Millions of responsible people work their fingers to the bones, pay their bills and save for the future only to end up giving their money to the irresponsible slugs in society along with greedy, self serving politicians. Justice is illusive in this pandering, nanny state.

rplat on December 5, 2008 at 10:04 AM

No. I respectfully disagree. This is vaporware.
On the other hand Rangel is a tax evading ethics code violator who needs to have his seat vaporized.

canditaylor68 on December 5, 2008 at 10:04 AM

it’s guaranteed that nothing is going to be done about any of this for the next four years, and possibly eight.

Nothing’s been done about this sort of shady Democratic activity for decades… no reason to believe that anything would be done under a Republican administration (of course, unless it was a Republican who was doing it, then the GOP would have public floggings and self-flagellation parties).

mankai on December 5, 2008 at 10:04 AM

If you want to help celebrate Rangel’s 77th birthday:
http://www.nationalleadershippac.com/77-invite.html

With Special Guest

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

Ruby Dee, Chevy Chase, & Aretha Franklin

Chevy Chase! Oh boy! And look at how affordable it is:

Host $5000 Sponsor $2500 Patron $1000

Chairman’s Circle $500 Special Guest $200

strictnein on December 5, 2008 at 10:06 AM

If you have the “means” you can find a “way”…….

Rovin on December 5, 2008 at 9:58 AM

If I take your means then I can do things my way regardless of your wants.

thomasaur on December 5, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Seriously?

Are the Democrats about to lose yet another City Boss politician that just so happens to be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee again after electing a Democratic President?

Rostenkowski in 1994. Rangel in 2010?

The Democrats in the Congress actually managed to muscle out the Detroit City Boss in John Dingell. Is Rangel next?

gabriel sutherland on December 5, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Democrat Congress corruption and incompetence is no story.

No one cares.

Democrats are thieving clowns, yet idiot voters continue to return them to office.

What are you going to do?

NoDonkey on December 5, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Steven C. Rangel Investigative Counsel

“legal” but not ethical – Most legally not in violation of ethics laws congress EVAH!

batterup on December 5, 2008 at 10:58 AM

You know it might be easier to report on the ones who are honest rather than the ones who aren’t. The den of liars and cheats just grows and grows. Just like the wheels of the bus go round and round. Disgusting.

scalleywag on December 5, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Edisonian? Isn’t that some dead white male oppressor? Isn’t that palming off-riding on the reputation of someone whose not related to the actual participants in the business?

eaglewingz08 on December 5, 2008 at 11:11 AM

For a whale with a permanent seat at the race-card table, and the fact that the left now controls D.C., I doubt that any action will be taken.

Sad. Really sad.

madmonkphotog on December 5, 2008 at 11:27 AM

We’re all invited to Rangel’s birthday party – August 2007!

oh great! it was bad enough that Obama shares the same birthday month as me, but Rangel too! what other democrat sleaze has a birthday in August?

stormin1961 on December 5, 2008 at 11:31 AM

“For a whale with a permanent seat at the race-card table, and the fact that the left now controls D.C., I doubt that any action will be taken.”

Agree.

When this worthless clown finally croaks, might as well stuff his rotten carcass and prop ol’ Charlie up there like a grizzly bear in a Anchorage Bar.

If that happens, Charlie will be doing more for the American people than he ever did when he was alive, as the capacity of stuffed corpses to steal tax dollars is limited.

NoDonkey on December 5, 2008 at 11:33 AM

So Stevens gets some free work done on his home and is indicted, tried and convicted in record time yet Rangel gets to drag this on and on and on. Hmmm

grdred944 on December 5, 2008 at 11:40 AM

Racist!

dmann on December 5, 2008 at 12:08 PM

I can balance my checkbook and live within my means. Why can’t the government?

Tommy_G on December 5, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Because they don’t have to.

MarkTheGreat on December 5, 2008 at 12:24 PM

It’s that time of the year again. Please join us at the Tavern on the Green to help celebrate Chairman Charlie Rangel’s Birthday at his 77th Annual Birthday Gala. View the invitation and for more information on this event.

Tavern on the Green??

Ah yes. A true man of the people.

View the invitation and for more information on this event.

$80,000 well spent.

hillbillyjim on December 5, 2008 at 12:36 PM

If, just a couple of times, folks would vote these crooks like Rangel out of office , it would send a message and over time the people on the Hill might clean up some of their act. As long as we leave the Rangels of the world in office, things will never change.

jeanie on December 5, 2008 at 12:49 PM

The problem with this, as with all corruption, is i lowers the legitimacy of the govt. Now, I want less govt., but the govt I do have I want to be efficient, legal, and scrupulous.

It’s thuggy-wuggs like Rangle that make me want to seceed from the Union.

VolMagic on December 5, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Is there a process to begin an ethics investigation and a means to depose Rangel from the House altogether? Who initiates it?

Victor Davis Hanson has a good column today about the parallel universes that some of the Dem leadership live in, where there is no accountability and no outrage by the media or the electorate. Rangel, Dodd, and Holder are three of the ones discussed.

There should be howls of outrage and daily headline stories about these miscreants. They think that they are untouchable.

onlineanalyst on December 5, 2008 at 12:57 PM

There should be howls of outrage and daily headline stories about these miscreants. They think that they are untouchable.

onlineanalyst on December 5, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Only on the Internet is there outrage. I can’t wait til the rest of generations in America start getting their news from the Internet. Then maybe more people will shocked & outraged.
Apathy is going to be the death of us.

Badger40 on December 5, 2008 at 1:16 PM

Most ethical Congress ever, eh?

Evah!

Tzetzes on December 5, 2008 at 3:09 PM

““Steven Rangel’s firm was paid roughly $2,500 on a monthly basis — less than the firm that had previously managed Congressman Rangel’s Web and online operation (Network Politics) — and the firm’s fees included money for Web advertising designed to promote traffic to the website,””

If he was promoting the website for campaign purposes that is a decent budget. $2,500 per month buys a lot of Pay Per Click.
Since we cannot see the web site it’s tough to criticize the design. For his purposes the site only needed to have a picture of Rangel, his bio and a few lines saying vote for me!
I’m far more concerned with Obama shoving 800,000 into ACORN’s coffers than Rangel paying his kid to advertise his campaign.

FireBlogger on December 5, 2008 at 3:57 PM

We need to have an ethics investigation, and the press should be hounding him until he leaves office in disgrace, hopefully taking down some other members of his party at the same time.

Oh, wait – what was that? There’s a D behind his name? Sorry, nevermind. No problem here.

Vashta.Nerada on December 5, 2008 at 4:03 PM

Yet another example of why the MSM deserves to go down the big sewer. There’s plenty that should be investigated, but there are no investigative journalists left. Corrupt politicians like Rangel get a pass if they’re Dems. He and “Freezer” Jefferson should be looking for work, not collecting paychecks from the public.

Orson Buggeigh on December 5, 2008 at 9:02 PM