Wednesday, July 16, 2008

'Narcissus Award' Winner Rangel Facing More Heat

Let's face it. If New York Democrat Charles Rangel were a Republican, he'd have been driven from office just for that cushy arrangement where he managed to finagle four rent-controlled apartments in one building.

Well, what do you know. This shining exemplar of the self-proclaimed Most Ethical Congress Ever is now in even more hot water for raising money for a monument to himself using Congessional letterhead, a definite no-no. If you're a Republican that is.

Rangel, you see, has special privileges, primary among them being a Democrat.
Rep. Charles Rangel acknowledged yesterday he may have violated House ethics rules when he used congressional stationery to solicit donations for a Harlem "center for public service" that will be named after him.

Rangel has used his office letterhead to try to raise funds for the controversial center in Harlem from Donald Trump, Hank Greenberg, the former head of the AIG insurance giant, and others, it was revealed yesterday - even though congressional rules bar the stationery from being used for solicitations.

"The entire thing appears dicey, and there's no question that, as soon as I can, I'm going to take a look at it," Rangel said following a report in yesterday's Washington Post exposing the practice.
As soon as he can. Translation: Get the f--- out of my face and we'll fix this.
The Post reported last year that Rangel sent letters asking for donations for the Charles B. Rangel Center to several potential corporate donors with business before his committee.

Last year, Rangel's office provided The Post with a list of some of the donations he had already helped secure for the project, which included $10 million from AIG; $500,000 from the Verizon Foundation; and $1 million from Eugene Isenberg, CEO of energy firm Nabors Industries.

The Rangel Center, which would be part of City College, has been a target for Republicans and taxpayer groups since he secured nearly $2 million in "earmarks" last year to build it.

The project also earned Rangel the mocking "Narcissus Award" from the Citizens Against Public Waste, which publishes a list of federal projects it deems to be pork.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called for the House Ethics Committee to look into Rangel's actions.
That, no doubt, will have Boehner labeled racist before long.

Laughably, Rangel, who's been in Congress since 1972, claims it was vague House rules which left him confused.

Rangel, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, told the New York Post yesterday that the House rules have left him unsure of what is permissible.

"The laws have been so vague in what we can solicit for not-for-profits that I am certain that they're making them up as we go along," Rangel said.

More here on Rangel's Monument to Me.
Now Rangel is turning to the private sector - sending out 100 letters (on congressional letterhead, just to drive home the point) to assorted corporations and foundations, asking them to fund a home for "the inspirational aspects of my legacy."

And it's worked - the effort's already raised $12 million.

Not surprisingly, CCNY is doing its bit - proclaiming that the Rangel Center will "rank with the [Bill] Clinton and [Jimmy] Carter libraries" in importance.

Give us a break.
It's probably too late for this election cycle and his ego is so massive, but I suspect Rangel's tenure in Congress will thankfully come to an end before long.

He has only himself to blame.

By the way, that most ethical Congress ever is now at 14% approval. Good job, Nancy!

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