It’s a sad day inside the Beltway, as a fixture of the New York Democrats’ political machine makes it official: Charlie Rangel will retire at the end of the current term. According to The Hill, Charlie has finalized a decision he hinted at last year primarily because he wants to exit the public stage at the same time as Barack Obama.
“I wanted so badly to complete the last year with President Obama,” the 85-year-old Democrat said during a radio interview with WCBS 880. “And even though they never gave him a fair opportunity to do all the things that I really had dreamed that we could do together, I would be so annoyed with myself had I retired a couple of years ago.”
During the interview, Rangel, one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus, also weighed in on the presidential race, saying that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton will win because of her familiarity with black voters. Her rival Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, “doesn’t know enough of us.”
Moe Lane at RedState is sad at the thought of Rangel’s departure, mostly because he would have preferred to see him expelled and convicted.
And if you think I’m being harsh on an eighty-five year old dude, I’m not: I expressed similar sentiments towards Charlie Rangel when he was a spry young man of seventy-nine. Rangel was one of the more spectacularly personally corrupt Democrats of my lifetime, and he got away with it, too. Mostly because he was protected by then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the absolutely most critical moment of his career, but in the end a win’s a win, and Charlie Rangel has won at the contest of Stealing People’s Money.
Jeff Dunetz, who describes Rangel as perhaps the most corrupt man in Congress, takes a walk down memory lane, recalling some of the New York Congressman’s notable schemes.
Perhaps his most famous act of illegality during his congressional tenure was in regards to a rental income Mr. Rangel purchased in 1987 at the Punta Cana Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic (see picture above). In 2009 the National Legal and Policy Center looked at Mr. Rangel’s House financial disclosure forms in August, it noted that his reported income looked suspiciously low. In 2004 and 2005, he reported no more than $5,000, and in 2006 and 2007 no income at all from the property.
Mr. Rangel eventually admitted having failed to report rental income of $75,000 over the years.
Rangel was just one of those Democrats who, over a career dating back longer than many of our readers have been alive, proved that you can get away with nearly anything if you are simply brazen enough, willing to lie and stick by your story to the bitter end. The Democratic machine in New York and his allies in Congress made sure that no matter how outrageous his indiscretions or blatant his violations of the law, his career would carry on. For his part, he simply shrugged his shoulders when bad headlines routinely cropped up and pointed the finger at somebody else. When he was caught not paying his rent for lengthy periods of time, he actually blamed the GOP for pointing it out.
Back in 2013 we thought that justice might finally come knocking at Rangel’s door over systemic failures to pay his taxes and shelter his income, when he was actually censured in Congress. But did that stop him? Not in the least. He went back home to the Big Apple where he received a hero’s reception and continued about his business of handing out favors to the well connected in his community. There was no level of embarrassment which could put a dent in the man’s armor. Even with national headlines shining a light on his corrupt practices, Rangel fought off two successive primary challenges (albeit by close margins) and just kept on keeping on.
And now it’s ending. As Moe Lane so elegantly put it, Charlie Rangel has won in the ultimate meaning of the word. He gamed the system for more than four decades, enriching himself at the expense of those he was supposedly representing, dodging the law and living the high life. And he never paid any serious price for his actions the entire time.
God Bless America.