Thursday, August 12, 2010

Latino Congressman sacrificed to get Dems reelected

Latino Congressman sacrificed to get Dems reelected
By Willie Colon, Special to The Perez Factor

Publisher’s Note:  Willie Colon is a Nuyorican international salsa-recording star who also sings, writes, and acts.  His involvement in New York municipal and state politics is well known.

NY Rep. Charlie Rangel
New York, NY - A special ethics subcommittee charged Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) with 13 counts of violating House rules and federal laws, including conduct reflecting discreditably on the chamber.

Congress, amidst the stigma of having an agonizingly low approval rating has decided to offer one of its elders as an appeasement to the Gods of re-election so that they may end this plague of disappointment and skepticism. "Let’s give ‘em Charlie!"

The allegations were outlined in a 40-page report, the product of a two-year probe by an investigative subcommittee of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Let the pontifications begin!

"The public office is a public trust," said ethics Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who also leads the adjudicatory panel. "Our task is to determine whether Rep. Rangel’s conduct met that standard."

Rangel will have "violated multiple provisions of House rules and federal statutes."

Let’s look at the egregious crimes Charlie Rangel is accused of:

Rangel is accused of violating House rules by soliciting foundations and corporations with business before the Ways and Means Committee for which he then served as chairman and for soliciting donations to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York.  Rangel is also alleged to have misused his staff and official House resources for these solicitations. Soliciting funds for a Center for Public Service at a city college bearing his name?  Hmmm…that’s sounds really corrupt doesn’t it?

The evidence in the record, assembled by the Investigative Subcommittee over its nearly two-year investigation, is that Congressman Rangel did not dispense any political favors, that he did not intentionally violate any law, rule or regulation, and that he did not misuse his public office for private gain.

Using an apartment illegally?
The investigative report revealed that while a certain landlord took legal action against other tenants for using their apartments for nonresidential purposes, Rangel was on a "special handling list" because of his status as a Member of Congress and was not sued. Rangel was wrongly allowed to use a rent-stabilized apartment in New York as a campaign office.

With all of the growth, development, opportunities and resources that Charlie Rangel has bought to New York and specifically Harlem, should he now be prosecuted for accepting an apartment from a grateful landlord?  OK, it could be a campaign donation violation; but hardly worthy of 2 years of Congressional Committee proceedings.

What Foreign Real Estate?
There are also allegations that Rangel failed to report rental income from his Dominican Republic villa on both his financial disclosure report and personal taxes.  Rangel is also accused of failing to report $600,000 worth of assets on his annual financial disclosure forms.

Many people have vacation homes.  It sounds like a very nice place but $600k is not the Kennedy Compound or the Playboy Mansion.  So he pays the taxes!  IRS is not going to put him in prison if he pays up.  We hear about people who owe millions who are allowed to make a deal.

Misusing a Parking Space:
Rangel misused a House parking space for long-term vehicle storage.

Oh come on now!  Aren’t we reaching a little on this one?  Oh!  It’s Rangel that Brings Discredit.

"Mr. Rangel may have broken the rules of the House and brought discredit to this body."

During the brief meeting, Members of the adjudicatory panel referred repeatedly to public skepticism toward Congress and a desire to shore up the institution’s reputation.

"We have an obligation to the American people to protect the integrity and credibility of the House," McCaul said. "It is certainly not lost on any member of this subcommittee the approval ratings of this body. … The pressure is even greater to ensure these proceedings are fair, open and conducted in a strictly nonpartisan manner. In the minds of the American people Congress has become completely self-serving and so tone-deaf that Members somehow feel the rules don’t apply to them. We must regain the people’s trust."

None of these allegations are criminal offenses.  After a lifetime of outstanding service that’s all they have?  In corporate America someone with Charlie’s skills will make more in one year than Charlie has made in his whole life.  Moving his car and paying his personal back taxes does NOTHING to change the peoples’ minds about the job congress is doing Sir!

These are not evil deeds.  It’s not like Rangel absconded with funds, was money laundering, got caught taking kickbacks or broke a glass on his girlfriend’s face.

Yes, Charlie is arrogant, sometimes, but he is effective. He is a skilled negotiator who can sit with the most powerful elected officials and businessmen and extract assets for the people of his district and state, which is why the people have kept him there!  You can see where Charlie Rangel’s district begins and ends by the development and the prosperity he has brought to the area, especially when you look at the Bronx where you enter the abyss of "do nothing Jose" Serrano’s district.

In the end, it’s up to the people of his District whether he stays their Congressman. Congress can censure him, sanction him and even expel him; but in the end he will be right back in Washington if the people of District 15 say so. I wouldn’t count Charlie Rangel out just yet.

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