Saturday, September 5, 2009

Oh, Charlie...

I will be going out of town for a couple of days this coming weekend. Most likely, there will be a couple of days there when I won't get a chance to get something written. In that event, I hope you all have a safe and relaxing Labor Day Weekend.

When I heard this story, I simply could not get over the incredible hypocrisy. This is not the first time Rangel has been in trouble over taxes, but he has stepped WAY over the bounds, a case made in this article, Sorry, Charlie: Rep. Rangel must step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Now, why would they say that about Rep. Rangel, a long time representative from New York? Because of this:
FOR POLITICIANS with major bad news to release or to make public, there's no time like the dead of August to do it. The thinking goes that the public won't remember a thing come September. We hope Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) will have no such luck. His belated revelation of previously unreported income, property and bank accounts demands that he step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Mr. Rangel's amended financial disclosure form, which exposes omissions from his 2002 through 2006 records, is a treasure trove of outrage. He neglected to report a checking account with the Congressional Federal Credit Union and one with Merrill Lynch, each valued between $250,000 and $500,000; the tens of thousands of dollars he's earning from dividends from a number of mutual funds and stocks; and the money made from the sale of a Harlem townhouse. As a result, Mr. Rangel's reported net worth doubled, from between $516,015 and $1,316,000 to between $1,028,024 and $2,495,000.

Yeah. That's right. When the truth came out, Rangel's worth pretty much doubled, and he kinda, sorta forgot to pay taxes on it. Hey! Just like Timmy Geithner!! What's their problem with that, anyway?? Sheesh, picky, picky. Oh, right, because of his position within the House:
We called on Mr. Rangel to resign his coveted post last November while the House ethics committee probed his contact with a potential donor to a pet project who also had business before the committee. Mind you, that committee already was looking into his using official stationery to raise funds for that pet project, paying below-market rents on four Harlem apartments, failing to report income from a Florida condominium sale and failing to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic. There's another subcommittee investigation into lobbyist-paid trips by Mr. Rangel and four other members of Congress.

Much is expected of elected officials. Much more is expected and demanded of those entrusted with chairmanships and the power that comes with them, especially when it involves the nation's purse strings. From all that we've seen thus far, Mr. Rangel has violated that trust continually and seemingly without care.

Yes, much is expected, a fact seemingly lost on many of our elected officials as the recent town halls would indicate (or lack thereof - many of our elected officials refused to hold them). But for the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee to fail so egregiously is unacceptable.

And it is made even more so by the revelation of a little tax provision Rangel slipped into the Health Care Reform Bill. How I wish I was kidding. I am not:
~ snip ~ The changes approved by the House Ways and Means Committee that Rangel chairs would strip away legal defenses and pile higher penalties on corporate and individual taxpayers facing IRS proceedings for what they claim are unintentional mistakes, experts said.

Rangel's bill would:

* Punish those who fail to alert the IRS to potentially questionable tax exemptions.

* Bar the IRS from waiving penalties against taxpayers who clearly erred in good faith.

* Double fines in certain circumstances.
(Emphasis mine.)

"The bill raises penalties and eliminates many of the reasonable defenses that taxpayers have always been able to use when honest mistakes are uncovered," one lawyer told The Post.

In fact, the bill increases fines "in some cases even for honest mistakes," the expert added.

I don't know about you, but I am literally shaking my head at the arrogant, patronizing, HYPOCRISY of Rangel's bill. Seriously - has he not looked in the mirror??

Well you know some folks had something to say about Rangel's machinations:
Republicans yesterday ripped Rangel's attempt to go after taxpayers, given his own failure to pay taxes on rental income from his villa in the Dominican Republic and his extensive reporting problems with his financial-disclosure statements to Congress.

"It is highly ironic that Chairman Rangel continues to work to crack down on American taxpayers who make honest mistakes on their tax forms when he himself has failed to pay his own staggering tax bills," said Michael Steel, spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

"Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi should force him to step aside as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee until this baffling array of allegations are resolved."

In addition to $75,000 in rental income he failed to report to the IRS a few years ago, Rangel recently filed new papers revealing he neglected to disclose to Congress more than $1.3 million in income and $3 million in business deals between 2002 and 2006.

The Post reported last week that he also failed to pay taxes on property in New Jersey that he neglected for years to disclose he owned.

His office maintains he is now up to date on all his taxes.

The Rangel plan also would prevent the IRS from waiving punishment in cases where tax officials thought the penalty was excessive.

Under another provision, the IRS would require that taxpayers self-report areas where they may have gone over the line seeking tax advantages. If they fail to self-report and problems are found, tax penalties skyrocket.

The IRS becomes "judge, jury and executioner," said a lobbyist.

In one provision, the measure doubles the fine against the taxpayer from 20 percent of the underpayment to 40 percent.

As with many of the complex tax provisions buried in the 1,018-page bill, the severity of the self-reporting language is a matter of debate.

Advocates argue that the provision is intended only to go after flagrant tax cheats, but that's not clearly spelled out. (churt@nypost.com)

Unless he is willing to start with himself, Rangel needs to pull that out right now. I might add, what the hell is it doing in the Health Care bill ANYWAY????

And Charlie, I agree with WaPo, it is time to step down. It is way PAST time, in fact, especially since you seem to think you are above the laws already in the books. Never mind adding a new "Do As I Say Not As I Do," law on top of it. If ever there was a time for the (Matthew 7:5) saying, "Take the plank out of your own eye before taking the speck out of your neighbor's" this is it...

2 comments:

bluelyon said...

Holey Cow. Ya know, I don't hold elected officials to a higher standard. I just want them held to the same damn standard the rest of us are.

Unbelievable.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Wouldn't THAT be nice?? You'd think I'd be used to these people pulling crap like that now, but I'm not (that's a good thing, right?).

This kind of glaring hypocrisy, though, not paying taxes and then turning around and wanting to punish people who did the same thing (or less) is really disgusting...

Hope you had a good weekend!