Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tonight's Mega Millions Lottery Winner is ... Charlie Rangel!

Well, not exactly, but whoever wins tonight's quarter-billion dollar jackpot won't be the only one today who stumbled upon some newly-found (cough) wealth.
Embattled Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel, who has been plagued by a series of ethics investigations over the past year, has disclosed more than $500,000 in previously unreported assets, according to a report today.

Among the new items on Rangel's amended 2007 financial disclosure forms were an account at the Congressional Federal Credit Union worth at least $250,000, another account with at least $250,000, land in New Jersey and stock in Pepsi and fast food giant Yum!, Congressional Quarterly reported on its Web site.

None of those investments appeared on the original report, which Rangel (D-Harlem) originally filed in May 2008.

In the original report, Rangel's net worth was listed between $516,015 and $1.3 million. The amended report shows his net worth in 2007 at roughly double that amount to a whopping $2.4 million.

Rangel also revised his disclosed investment income from 2007.

The original report showed he had received between $6,511 and $17,900, but the new report shows between $45,423 and $134,700, according to Congressional Quarterly.
Sure looks like Yum! also kept him amply served in fast food.

More from CQ.
Rangel is already the subject of two separate investigations by the House ethics committee, and the latest disclosures will only bring more scrutiny to the chairman, whose committee is deeply involved in the debate over changing the health care system.

One ethics subcommittee is examining a variety of matters related to Rangel. He has been accused of violating city rules by maintaining multiple rent-controlled residences in New York; he failed, for two decades, to tell the IRS about income from a rental property in the Dominican Republic; and the Washington Post reported last year that Rangel was using official letterhead to solicit corporate contributions for an earmark-subsidized education center at City College of New York that bears his name.

One disclosure in the reports addresses the issue the other ethics subcommittee is exploring: a three-day conference in November to Sonesta Maho Bay Resort & Casino in St. Maarten. The trip sparked an investigation after a conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, claimed Rangel and other lawmakers violated House rules by accepting money for a trip lasting more than two days that was paid for by companies that employ lobbyists.

But Rangel’s new financial disclosure form states that the trip was paid for by New York Carib News Foundation, which is affiliated with a newspaper aimed at New York’s Caribbean immigrant community. Rangel reported taking a similar trip to Antigua and Barbuda paid for by the same organization a year earlier.

Other lawmakers who went on the same trip and have been examined by the ethics committee were Reps. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick , D-Mich; Donald M. Payne , D-N.J.; Bennie Thompson , D-Miss.; and Del. Donna M.C. Christensen , D-V.I.
Ah yes, the most ethical Congres ever.

It's time to call in the U.S. attorney.
Rangel can’t claim that he merely overlooked reporting a half million in various assets. These omissions appear willful and deliberate. Of course, we have no idea whether he has finally reported all his assets or is still hiding more. In any case, this is a matter not only for the Ethics Committee but also the U.S. Attorney. Lawmakers have gone to jail for less serious flaws in their financial disclosures.

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