Rangel, Pelosi To Meet Over Finances
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Charles Rangel is set to return to Capitol Hill for private meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of his powerful tax-writing committee as he tries to deal with ethics questions surrounding his finances.
Republicans have called for Mr. Rangel to be removed from his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee over unreported income and unpaid taxes on his beach house in the Dominican Republic.
Ms. Pelosi has to date resisted those demands. She and Mr. Rangel are scheduled to meet this evening. Separately, members of Mr. Rangel’s committee are also scheduled to meet, according to congressional staffers who spoke on condition of anonymity because the scheduled meetings are private.
The beach house issue is one of several involving Mr. Rangel that are being investigated by the House ethics committee.
The New York Democrat decided over the weekend to hire an expert to pore over Mr. Rangel’s finances over the past 20 years, and issue a report to the committee. The congressman has not yet enlisted a particular person for that task.
Mr. Rangel’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said the move shows Mr. Rangel “has nothing to hide and does not believe he has done anything intentionally wrong.”
The accountant’s report will not be reviewed by Mr. Rangel or his advisers before it is given to the committee “as quickly as possible,” Mr. Davis said. The lawmaker also promised that once the report is complete, he will publicly release his tax returns for the past 20 years.
The tax issue is particularly embarrassing for a lawmaker whose job is to guide new tax law. His committee post is among the most coveted on Capitol Hill.
As more questions have been raised about Mr. Rangel’s records, his lawyers and accountants have uncovered new discrepancies in the personal financial disclosure documents that he files every year to Congress. Every lawmaker is required to file such paperwork disclosing major assets.
“While over the years I delegated to my staff the completion of my annual House financial disclosure statements, I had the ultimate responsibility. I owed my colleagues and the public adherence to a higher standard of care not only as a member of Congress but even more as the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee,” Mr. Rangel said in a statement.
Among the new discrepancies:
- Mr. Rangel’s papers during the past 10 years show no reference to the sale of a home he once owned on Colorado Avenue in Washington.
- The details of a property bought in Sunny Isles, Fla., are bewildering at best. The stated value changes significantly from year to year, and even page to page, from $50,000 to $100,000 all the way up to $500,000.
- Some of the entries for investment funds fluctuate strangely, suggesting that the person either didn’t have accurate information or didn’t fill out the paperwork correctly.
Mr. Rangel spent the past week trying to answer questions about his ethics and his finances.
He acknowledged that he owes the Internal Revenue Service about $5,000 in back taxes for unreported income from the rental of his vacation villa, and probably a smaller amount to state and city tax collectors.