Rangel Blames Ethics Stories on Unnamed Firm

Posted January 30, 2009 at 5:17pm

House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) blamed an unnamed firm for his ethics troubles, charging that the company was paid to investigate him and then feed the findings to reporters. “Just yesterday I found out that the source of all of those stories is some firm located in West Virginia that did all of this trashing and investigations, and then went around to reporters and then [they] reported these stories as if the reporter had done the investigation itself,” Rangel said during an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” which will air on Sunday. “I think next Tuesday you will see a break in this and then certainly as soon as the ethics committee reorganizes they should be able to dismiss this,” Rangel said. “I’m glad that this will be over and behind me soon.” Rangel said he hoped a reporter of one of the ethics stories against him would talk publicly Tuesday about the source of the story. “It will show that somebody paid an organization to recklessly target me for whatever purpose and then sell the results of these private investigations to get reporters to cover it,” he said. “In any event, if it doesn’t happen Tuesday I’ll have something to say before the week is out.” It was not clear whether Rangel was referring to the National Legal and Policy Center, a Virginia nonprofit that has filed complaints against Rangel and Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.). NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm acknowledges that his group has helped reporters investigate both Members. Rangel declined to comment further, although he blamed his ethics troubles on “reckless” reporting. The ethics committee, at Rangel’s request, is investigating his failure to pay taxes on income from a Dominican Republic villa, his fundraising efforts on behalf of the Rangel Center at the City College of New York, his use of multiple rent-controlled apartments as his primary residence and his use of a House parking spot for long-term storage of a vehicle. Rangel also refused to comment on the status of a forensic audit that he ordered into his finances, which he had earlier pledged to make public once the ethics committee completes its work. “Whatever I have right now before the ethics committee, I think in all fairness since there has not been an accusation against my character in all of the 38 years that I’ve been in Congress and since what we are talking about it is a wild, reckless allegation by a reporter, and since it is in the hands of the ethics committee, I don’t see that I have any special obligation to do anything except to do the work that I’ve been doing,” Rangel said.