WASHINGTON — A lawyer for Rep. Charles Rangel of Harlem said yesterday that the longtime New York congressman was never asked to give up his post as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
The 78-year-old Democrat has come under fire from Republicans and editorial writers in recent days over the disclosure that he did not report income or pay thousands of dollars in taxes on a seaside villa he has owned for the last two decades in the Dominican Republic. The Republican leader in the House, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, has called for Mr. Rangel to give up his chairmanship while a congressional ethics panel conducts three separate investigations into his personal finances and political activity, including the unpaid taxes on the Dominican villa.
Mr. Rangel met Monday night with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and has also met this week with committee members and the New York delegation. His attorney, Lanny Davis, said in an interview yesterday that no one had pressured Mr. Rangel to step down, saying that was "not even on the table."
The congressman and his aides have taken pains to be transparent as they discover more and more errors on his tax and financial disclosure forms.
Mr. Rangel will hire a leading forensic accountant to investigate his finances for the last 20 years and issue a report to the House ethics committee, Mr. Davis said, emphasizing that neither Mr. Rangel nor his representatives will see the report before it is delivered.