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Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, which takes responsibility for writing the nation’s tax code.
Seems that Charlie has neglected to claim some $75,000 in rental income from a condo he owns in the Dominican Republic.
Mr. Davis said the congressman did not realize he had to declare the money as income, and was unaware of the semiannual payments from the resort because his wife, Alma, handled the family finances and conferred with their accountant, John Viardi, on tax matters.
The money was never sent to the Rangels directly, according to Mr. Davis and resort records, but was used to defray the mortgage the company gave them when they bought the villa and $23,000 in subsequent construction costs in 2003.
The confusion was magnified, Mr. Davis said, by the fact that the statements from the resort were sent only intermittently. [emphasis added]
Now, call me suspicious, but it doesn’t sound like Charlie and Alma had a nickel in this place, either to purchase it or to fix it up in 2003. In fact, it sounds to me like the developer was taking care of his friends Charlie and Alma mighty well.
Whatever his legal exposure, the tax problems present a political embarrassment for Mr. Rangel, a Harlem Democrat who has sat on the Ways and Means Committee since 1975. As chairman, Mr. Rangel has pushed for higher taxes on the wealthy, unveiling a $1.3 trillion proposal last year that businesses denounced as a threat to the economy.
His finances have been under scrutiny since July, after news reports that a major real estate developer had allowed him to lease four rent-stabilized apartments, including one he had used as a campaign office. Mr. Rangel announced he would give up the campaign office, but keep the other three, and asked the House ethics committee to investigate whether the landlord’s decision to charge him below-market rent should be restricted under the Congressional gift ban.