Congressionally censured tax cheat tells Romney ‘Americans pay their taxes, unlike you.’
posted at 12:01 pm on September 20, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham
“Nothing can be further from the truth than Gov. Romney’s ridiculous remarks that nearly half of American people do not pay federal income taxes, they pay other federal and state taxes. The 47 percent figure cited by the Republican presidential candidate covers only the federal income tax and ignores the fact that people may pay a higher percentage of their income on a wide variety of taxes.
Everyone pays taxes. Lower income persons pay state and local, property, excise and sales taxes. In fact, when all federal, state, and local taxes are taken into account, the bottom fifth of households pays about 16 percent of their incomes in taxes, on average. The second-poorest fifth pays about 21 percent. This is higher than what the Governor has paid in income taxes. He has absolutely no moral authority to accuse nearly half of the American people of being irresponsible and freeloaders.”
Speaking of “absolutely no moral authority,” let’s go over Rangel’s record, who was censured by the House of Representatives for a multitude of tax and ethics violations made while he was in charge of writing the nation’s tax policy as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Charlie Rangel amended his financial disclosure forms under pressure in 2009 to show “that he had omitted an array of assets, business transactions and sources of income. They include a Merrill Lynch Global account valued between $250,000 and $500,000; tens of thousands of dollars in municipal bonds; and $30,000 to $100,000 in rent from a multifamily brownstone building he owned on West 132nd Street.” That wasn’t all. “The latest filings come on top of an amendment to Mr. Rangel’s 2007 disclosure form reported this week showing that he had failed to list at least $500,000 in assets.” The new disclosures doubled Rangel’s net worth.
Rep. Charlie Rangel rented several apartments in Harlem at suspiciously below-market rates from a big campaign donor, combining several to create his home while using one of them as a campaign office. That was a violation of rent-control laws, which require rent-controlled apartments to be used as residences.
Rep. Charlie Rangel parked his Mercedes for free in a Congressional parking space for about five years, never declaring the approximate $300 monthly fee on his taxes, as IRS rules require. Luckily, the House Ethics committee determined that he didn’t violate any rules because they only apply rules about parking to staff, not members.
Rep. Charlie Rangel used Congressional letterhead to solicit donations for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York from companies that might have significant interests in the policy making of his committee, a move ethicists said “crossed the line.” He’d already funneled federal earmarks for the center.
Later, one of the big donors to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service benefitted richly when Rangel changed his position on closing a tax loophole.
Rep. Charlie Rangel failed to report $75,000 in rental income or pay taxes on a Dominican villa he owned, causing the New York Times to call for him to step down from his Ways and Means Chairmanship.
In 2008, Rep. Charlie Rangel was forced to pay back taxes on rental income on his villa in the Dominican Republic— a property he was advised to buy by one of his donors and for which he later received preferential treatment when the interest rate on his mortgage was waived.
Rep. Charlie Rangel took the “Property Homestead Deduction Act” tax break on his Washington, D.C. residence for five years, despite the fact that he maintained his primary residence in New York for electoral reasons. Lawmakers who maintain a residence in D.C. but must also maintain a primary residence in their districts are not eligible for the homestead break, tax lawyers told the NY Post.
Rangel is one of the most demonstrably corrupt manipulators of the tax code in Washington, and his longtime position as the guy who wrote tax code for the rest of us makes the corruption all the more despicable.
The headline on his press release should have been, “Americans pay their fair share in taxes, unlike me.”
H/t Village Voice.