Friday, September 4, 2009

Charles Rangel, Tax Cheat?

New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel is currently under a House Ethics investigation for under reporting his assets along with some tax violations. He is the Chairman of the tax writing Ways and Means Committee, but did not pay taxes on rental income and ended up writing checks to cover taxes due on his 2004, 2005, and 2006 returns. He did not pay penalties and interest on those payments, but said he would if the IRS imposes them.

In 2004 Rangel reported earning between $4000.00 and $10,000.00 in outside earnings on top of his $158,100.00 congressional salary. But in amended filings his outside income was between $118,000.00 and $1.04 million. He also underreported his income in years 2002, 2003, and 2004. In 2007 he disclosed that his net worth was between $516,015.00 and $1.316 million, yet he has now amended his 2007 financial form claiming his net worth is somewhere between $1.028 million and $2.495 million. Could this be considered tax evasion?

Why would he do such a thing? How could this happen? Again, he is the “Chairman” of the tax-writing committee. Could it be that there are income restrictions to live in a rent-stabilized apartment? He’s has 4. Could it be that he’s too busy writing tax law to get more money out of the citizenry? Could it be that he is forgetful? Could it be because he is an elitist and doesn’t think he has to pay taxes? Could it be this is his form of reparations?

Mr. Rangel has four rent-stabilized apartments, one of which he uses as a campaign office. However, state and city regulations require rent-stabilized apartments to be used as a primary residence. My questions to the state and city housing regulators are: “How can one of the apartments be used as a campaign office when it states in the regulations it must be used as a primary residence?” “How can all four apartments be considered a primary residence?”

Mr. Rangel stated that he made a series of mistakes that are unconscionable, but there was no intention to avoid or evade the law. Al Capone might have said the same thing.

Now, Mr. Rangel inputted into the health-care bill broad new provisions cracking down on taxpayers in proceedings with the IRS. In it the bill would do the following:

Punish those who fail to alert the IRS to potentially questionable tax exemptions.(more snitches)
Bar the IRS from waiving penalties against taxpayers who clearly erred in good faith.
Impose double fines in certain circumstances.

The bill raises penalties and eliminates many of the reasonable defenses that taxpayers have always been able to use when honest mistakes are uncovered. Can you say “hypocrite?” Would this be considered hypocritical?

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the Obama administration would be going after people who avoid and evade taxes. They are expanding the size of the IRS, and they are imposing more stringent penalties for intimidation and control of the citizenry.

On November 8, 2006 in a late night speech in Washington, after the Democrats captured a majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm election, Nancy Pelosi stated, “The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.”

Speaker Pelosi, you said you were going to have the most ethical Congress in history; therefore you should remove Rep. Rangel as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Not necessarily because of the ethical violations he is charged with, but because he is incompetent and apparently is unfamiliar with the tax code when it comes to paying his taxes, so why should he be in charge of the tax-writing committee?

Rep. Rangel has given donations to three Democrats who sit on the House Ethics Committee who are investigating him. They are Congressmen Ben Chandler of Kentucky, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, and Peter Welch of Vermont. Speaker Pelosi, could this be unethical?

Therefore, the IRS should investigate, and audit Rep. Rangel’s taxes. If the investigation reveals he has evaded his taxes then he should be prosecuted.

Greg Zotta

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