Carter Renews Call for Rangel to Give Up Gavel

Posted December 17, 2009 at 3:13pm

Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) on Thursday renewed his call for Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) to give up his gavel unless the veteran lawmaker publicly releases his federal tax returns and agrees to “pay IRS penalties and interest on past violations— by the end of the year.

Carter, the secretary of the House Republican Conference, said if Rangel refuses to comply, he would file a third privileged resolution asking that he step aside until the ethics committee completes a review of his activities. Rangel has acknowledged a variety of errors in his annual disclosures and has admitted that he failed to pay taxes on a rental property in the Dominican Republic, but he has repeatedly denied any intent to mislead or break the rules.

A spokesman for Rangel did not immediately return a request for comment.

Rangel asked the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to open an investigation into several claims against him. The inquiry has now dragged on for more than a year and expanded to cover other allegations against the New York Democrat.

But Carter said the issues go beyond Congressional ethics.

“This is about whether the wealthy and politically powerful are treated the same under the law as their fellow Americans,— Carter said in a statement. “Every tax attorney in the country will tell you that if a normal taxpayer committed the violations of Chairman Rangel or U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, they would be assessed serious penalties and interest, if not charged with criminal tax evasion.—

Carter has not been without his own financial disclosure issues this year. Roll Call reported in November that Carter failed to report about $350,000 in profits from the sale of Exxon stock in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Carter acknowledged the errors and amended his disclosure forms.

The Texas Republican noted in an interview Tuesday that his error “was only on my House disclosure form,— arguing that unlike Rangel his capital gains were reported correctly on federal income tax forms.