Rep. Charlie Rangel’s last hurrah?

posted at 4:01 pm on June 25, 2012 by Dustin Siggins

This morning, Politico took a look at the race of longtime Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY). Rangel, who has suffered from poor health and according to the article spent three months away from the House at one point this year, is running against three opponents whose combined efforts could very well prevent him from having a final term in the House at the age of 82.

The article itself isn’t bad, and draws attention to a symbolically important primary that comes to a head tomorrow. However, in largely highlighting the race from Rangel’s perspective and thus mostly from a position favorable to Rangel, it partially whitewashes several strong reasons why Rangel should not be voted back into the House.

First, according to the article:

Hitting the trail last week, Rangel — who survived a tough reelection fight in 2010 despite the ethics case and a suggestion from President Barack Obama at the time to “end his career with dignity” — displayed an almost missionary zeal to prove his detractors wrong. Betrayal and disrespect — Rangel believes he deserves better after such a long record of service — appear to be fueling his bid at least as much as securing another two years in the House.

This is a recurring problem with Members of Congress; they believe they deserve to be re-elected and deserve respect from the people who have voted into office. While it is not my place to say whether or not Rangel has represented the wishes of his constituents in office (thought 40-plus years in the House indicates he has done so, or at least has hidden when he has not represented those wishes), serving in the House is a privilege created to better the nation. It is not a retirement community in which voters owe Members their support, especially given the sad state of affairs facing the nation.

This attitude on the part of Rangel was highlighted by Jason Mattera several years ago, when during an ambush interview of Rangel over the ethics investigation Materra was asked “why don’t you mind your [expletive] business?” Yup – the then-Chairman of the tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee thought his illegal navigation of the tax code was not the taxpayers’ business.

In recognition that I may be misunderstanding Rangel regarding what he believes he “deserves,” I contacted his campaign communications director by twice by phone, and on her request e-mailed the following question to her:

Specifically, I’d like to get a response as to why the Congressman “believes he deserves better after such a long record of service.” Many Members believe they should get re-elected simply because of length of service, while others believe the quality of that service is what the voters should re-elect. Can you elaborate on the Congressman’s position on re-election related to his tenure for me, please?

Unfortunately, I received no response to this question by the time this post was published, two hours after my original deadline and 30 minutes after a secondary deadline. She explained to me that with the primary tomorrow, she was extraordinarily busy and would try to get me a response. I will update this post if she does respond.

Second, the article highlights a senior citizen who is supporting Rangel:

Evelyn Jenkins, a Harlem retiree who attended a forum on health care Rangel held Friday, said she will vote for the congressman out of respect for his long tenure.

With respect to Ms. Jenkins, I believe a long tenure should generally be considered a negative when running for office (I support term limits), unless the Member is extraordinary compared to his or her opponents. Given how Washington is run, I don’t think Rangel (an influential Member for decades) and his tenure have done much good, though Ms. Jenkins may disagree.

Third, Rangel’s ethics censure in 2010 is mentioned only in the political sense, insofar as it gives his opponents ammunition with which to run against him. I wrote about the lengthy list of charges, and the timeline under which the investigation took place, for this site in February 2010 (all citations are listed at the link):

  • 1990: Rangel “didn’t know” that the developer of his villa had converted his $52,000 mortgage to an interest-free loan.
  • 1971-2000: The National Legal and Policy Center has confirmed Rangel owned a home in Washington and claimed a “homestead” exemption that allowed him to save on his District of Columbia property taxes.
  • 2001: Rangel has failed to report assets totaling more than $1 million on legally required financial disclosure forms going back to at least 2001.
  • 2004-2005: Income from rental was suspiciously low- Rangel did not pay rental income taxes on a beach-front property. The untaxed income was 75K.
    • He promised to amend his tax returns, but that did not happen
  • 2004-2006: Rent-controlled apartment owned by donor to Rangel campaign and PAC, and sent lobbyist to Rangel.
  • 2007: Rangel had a credit union account worth at least $250,000 and maybe as much as $500,000 — and didn’t report it.
  • 2007: He had investment accounts worth about $250K, which he also didn’t report.
    • Same for three pieces of property in New Jersey.
  • 2004-2006:He used one of his apartments as an office in violation of rent-control rules.
    • 2004-2006: Rent-controlled apartment owned by donor to Rangel campaign and PAC, and sent lobbyist to Rangel.
  • 2008: Investigation of Rangel’s fund raising for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York. Rangel gave a donor to the center a tax loophole.
  • Improper vehicle storage- Rangel parked a car for several years that did not have a parking permit and was unlicensed.

Rangel, who was found guilty of 11 of 13 counts leveled against him and also settled with the Federal Elections Commission related to campaign violations, received a formal censure on the House floor from then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). While many would have preferred the House Ethics Committee recommend expulsion, if not the sort of criminal charges the average person would have faced in the same situation, a December 2010 National Journal article shows censure is a relatively severe punishment in the House, and not one that had been implemented in nearly 30 years.

Fourth, regardless of political or ethical disagreements with the Congressman, the fact is that he has poor health and missed three months of votes in the House this year. While I hope his health is better today, the article said he has “…pain that I cannot describe.” If he cannot conduct his duties as a voting Member of the House, it is not fair to his constituents for him to continue holding a seat and to run for re-election. While the voters can certainly choose to care about this tomorrow and in November, I think it would show a great deal of class and humility for Rangel to resign for health reasons.

In 2010 the son of the man Rangel beat in 1970 received a great deal of media attention in his race against Rangel, but to no avail as the incumbent’s supporters dominated the voting booth. This year Rangel is in perhaps a tougher race, with the redistricting that took place after the 2010 Census. While the race truly is more symbolic than substantive when it comes to the major issues facing the country (there are, after all, 435 House races this year, as well 33 Senate races and a Presidential election), I hope the voters in his district go for younger, less problematic and, yes, more conservative blood for 2013.

[Originally posted at Race42012.com.]

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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Wow, he looks really old in that picture.

Ward Cleaver on June 25, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Bye Bye Rangles

LeftCoastRight on June 25, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Goodbye House of Representatives.
Hello MSNBC Primetime!
Where crooked dem-pols go to die.

Bensonofben on June 25, 2012 at 4:03 PM

How old is this guy ?

Mandatory retirement for Legislators. Now.

No more angry Byrds.

FlaMurph on June 25, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

tom daschle concerned on June 25, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Thank Allah!

Bmore on June 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

What he “deserves” is a prison sentence.

Buttercup on June 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Rowdy Rangel lose? Are you serious? If he does I’ll buy Allahpundit a new cat.

Limerick on June 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Oh, wait, this was posted by Dustin.

Thank Dustin!

Bmore on June 25, 2012 at 4:06 PM

As a going away present, we should give him the coveted pink sequin cowboy hat that is so popular with his ilk.

Blake on June 25, 2012 at 4:06 PM

If you can’t achieve your goals in 40 years, I don’t see how 2 more will help. That’s assuming there are goals other than simply being a Congresscritter.

Flange on June 25, 2012 at 4:08 PM

I’ll believe his defeat when I see it… not a moment before…

RockyJ. on June 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Whats really interesting about him is his excellent service in Korea. Sort of a tragic figure–representing the best and worst in public service.

joepub on June 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM

If he’s out of the House, Rangel might finally pay his rent!

Steve Z on June 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM

He should be in prison, not in the Congress.

wildcat72 on June 25, 2012 at 4:12 PM

If he’s out of the House, Rangel might finally pay his rent!

Steve Z on June 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM

The rent is to damn high…

SWalker on June 25, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Sadly, Chuckles will end up taking the dirt nap before he receives his just reward for destroying the country. Let’s remember where they bury this putrid old fart so we can drag his moldering corpse through the streets when the time comes.

Dack Thrombosis on June 25, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Come on, it is New York, he’s probably a shoe-in………..;(

angrymike on June 25, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Well, if he leaves, it wasn’t his choice. He’s staying in character.

22044 on June 25, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Given how Washington is run, I don’t think Rangel (an influential Member for decades) and his tenure have done much good, though Ms. Jenkins may disagree.

Of course she does.

As long as she believes that Rangel will help her get her mortgage and gas paid for with all of that “0bama money”, then she’ll keep voting for crooks like Rangel, the country be damned.

UltimateBob on June 25, 2012 at 4:20 PM

What disgusts me most about Charles Rangel is the fact that whenever he’s confronted with his litany of crimes and misdemeanors, he hides behind his service as a Korean War veteran.

That, to me, is a slap in the face to the thousands of Korean War veterans who came home and lived as decent, honest and honorable Americans. The insult to those who gave their lives and did not come home is immeasurably more despicable.

He’s there for one reason only. He’s black and wielded power in that district for decades. He has done nothing for his constituents and less for his country – the one he fought for as a soldier in Korea.

What a loathsome person.

Rixon on June 25, 2012 at 4:21 PM

All outcomes would be racist. There, completely covered.

Jim-Rose on June 25, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Awesome picture: “I`ll still get my gold-plated pension and healthcare, won`t I?”

ThePrez on June 25, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Who’s more contemptible? The bloated leech, or the idiot sheeple that keep voting him in?

squint on June 25, 2012 at 4:30 PM

I think, perhaps, we’ve found our poster child for Congressional term limits.

MessesWithTexas on June 25, 2012 at 4:34 PM

squint on June 25, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Hides my answer from the rest of the stupid class.

Limerick on June 25, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Officer Cardillo was unavailable for comment.

campfreddy on June 25, 2012 at 4:37 PM

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Philly on June 25, 2012 at 4:38 PM

First, DWS, and now, Charlie Rangel? I can’t remember that last time I heard so much good news in one day…

Dopenstrange on June 25, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Betrayal and disrespect — Rangel believes he deserves better after such a long record of service — appear to be fueling his bid at least as much as securing another two years in the House.

This is a recurring problem with Members of Congress; they believe they deserve to be re-elected and deserve respect from the people who have voted them into office.

Arlen Specter syndrome.

slickwillie2001 on June 25, 2012 at 4:41 PM

so he gets replaces with another young charlie rangel who we need to fight against for the next 40 years

Conservative4ev on June 25, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Here’s some sage advice on how to get re-elected in lib world:

1. Get intoxicated, get behind the wheel of a car with a young woman by your side, drive car into lake, rescue yourself – but leave wounded woman to die, go home and sober up, next day go to the police. Works like a charm.

- Ted Kennedy

2. Go to a hotel room and start smoking crack with a hooker, get videotaped doing it, deny it and say that “the b*tch set me up”. Works like a charm.

- Marion Barry

Follow one of these scenarios and your re-election is guaranteed. If all else fails, give a stab at the Cherokee angle.

NapaConservative on June 25, 2012 at 4:45 PM

so he gets replaces with another young charlie rangel who we need to fight against for the next 40 years

Conservative4ev on June 25, 2012 at 4:44 PM

It’s the Circle of Life Crap.

squint on June 25, 2012 at 4:52 PM

As long as she believes that Rangel will help her get her mortgage and gas paid for with all of that “0bama money”, then she’ll keep voting for crooks like Rangel, the country be damned.

UltimateBob on June 25, 2012 at 4:20 PM

While I doubt she thinks he’ll get her mortgage paid.. it does illustrate the problem of getting certain long term Congressman out of office. They establish a personality cult in their district.. so that the average apathetic voter just doesn’t care if he’s crooked as Hell.

They just chuckle that ‘It’s just old Charlie, so what do you expect, they’re all crooked”..and they are fine with him being a corrupt thief, as long as he cultivates their ignorance that he’s their guy. I have an uncle like that, he’ll rail to the Heavens about those G-damned thiving republicans… then vote for a known crook over and over.. because he’s a democrat.. “the working man’s party”

It’s cognitive dissonance and almost a mental disorder.. ethics are for the opposition, because our crooks are still better than your honest men,…

It makes you crazy that supposedly intelligent people can be so blind to what they are voting for.. but I suppose a charactor is more appealing than an honest politician.

mark81150 on June 25, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Follow one of these scenarios and your re-election is guaranteed. If all else fails, give a stab at the Cherokee angle.

NapaConservative on June 25, 2012 at 4:45 PM

My father used to say, if they didn’t enjoy being lied too, they wouldn’t be democrats.

mark81150 on June 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM

It makes you crazy that supposedly intelligent people can be so blind to what they are voting for..

mark81150 on June 25, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Well, the only proof we have of their intelligence is that they keep telling us over and over about it (all empirical proof to the contrary).

squint on June 25, 2012 at 5:06 PM

So let it be written, so let it be done!

SMACKRUNNER on June 25, 2012 at 5:08 PM

I guess his green bananas turned rotten.

CherryBombsBigBrownBeaver on June 25, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Good Riddance to bad rubbish!

If any common person were to have done some of the things he’s done, we’d be in jail and financially underwater with fines and penalties. Why we keep electing “alleged” criminals to run our government is beyond me.

EdmundBurke247 on June 25, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Charlie may be a crook, but from the point of view of the people of Harlem, HE’S OUR CROOK!

GarandFan on June 25, 2012 at 5:21 PM

If Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters had kids,

they’d look like 0blah-blah………..

RealMc on June 25, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Sooner or later, Charlie will have to look at hmself in a mirror, come to grips with what he is. All comes around eventually, it will for him. When it does, it won’t be pretty. Poor Charlie gonna die sad.

StevC on June 25, 2012 at 5:42 PM

…he’s not too old for jail!
He’ll get good medical.

KOOLAID2 on June 25, 2012 at 5:45 PM

This isn’t the same district that nut that David Duke has endorsed is running is it?

Cindy Munford on June 25, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Sooner or later, Charlie will have to look at hmself in a mirror, come to grips with what he is. All comes around eventually, it will for him. When it does, it won’t be pretty. Poor Charlie gonna die sad.

StevC on June 25, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Not a chance he’ll come to grips with anything. He’s a self promoting race hustler like Sharpton, just more successful.

NapaConservative on June 25, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Charlie replaced Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. who was elected to that House seat in 1944. For 68 years, Harlem has been represented by corruptocrats. Does anyone seriously think anything is going to change except the name of the corruptocrat holding the seat?

catsandbooks on June 25, 2012 at 5:47 PM

My father used to say, if they didn’t enjoy being lied too, they wouldn’t be democrats.

mark81150 on June 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM

your father is a smart man

burserker on June 25, 2012 at 5:51 PM

My father used to say, if they didn’t enjoy being lied too, they wouldn’t be democrats.

mark81150 on June 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Your father was obviously a wise man, mark. I’m going to have remember that quote. It will be very useful.

woodNfish on June 25, 2012 at 5:54 PM

May I suggest heading up to Rangel’s district, say 11:15PM – and then determine what a “fine statesman” he is or isn’t.

I would ensure the life insurance premium is paid up first.

Odie1941 on June 25, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Where there’s a will……..there’s a relative!

Bevan on June 25, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Rangel’s ethics censure in 2010 is mentioned only in the political sense

I wish there was some pithy way to communicate this common phenomena – where serious issues that should transcend politics are only addressed by the media insofar as they affect some political calculation, this being done in a deliberate attempt to debase the original charge.

Confusing the indefensible with the political?

Too wordy.

Amphipolis on June 25, 2012 at 6:15 PM

now if we could just get rid of Clayburn……

Renee on June 25, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Yeah, and Clay Davis wasn’t based on Charlie Rangel – Kay??

S’all in the game.

NSFW-ish.

CorporatePiggy on June 25, 2012 at 6:46 PM

You support term limits? That discredits everything else you have to say. I like how these so called “limited government” supports support taking the right of the people to elect who they want away. Yeah, lets give lobbyists more power. Imagine if these were Rangel’s last two years for sure. I can only imagine the corruption and ethics issues then…

Term limits? No thanks.

NoStoppingUs on June 25, 2012 at 7:19 PM

NoStoppingUs, I support the Senate and House enacting their own term limits for Members inside each respective chamber.

Dustin Siggins on June 25, 2012 at 7:32 PM

He really looks like he is ready for the “home”.. Lets get some new blood in Harlem, folks. He as been here way toooooo long, and he is corrupt. Need I say more?

Amazingoly on June 25, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Still waiting for someone with balz in Congress to do something about the countless number of Dims who are corrupt to the bone. There have been ethics charges against most of these scumbag Dims but yet nothing happens.

No guts in the GOP

Sporty1946 on June 25, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Crook.

Bmore on June 25, 2012 at 10:24 PM

There have been ethics charges against most of these scumbag Dims but yet nothing happens.

No guts in the GOP

Sporty1946 on June 25, 2012 at 9:16 PM

So true. The GOP is even more gutless than the Dems are criminal. Boy, that’s saying something.

swinia sutki on June 26, 2012 at 5:35 AM