Political chatter from DC and NYC, the amNewYork way

Raging against Rangel

(Credit: Politirazzi)

By Jeff

File this under: “Government is filled with hypocritical thieves.”

Charlie Rangel is rich. He’s been a Congressman, representing New York’s 15th district for over 25 years. Even though he’s rich, he’s always been a champion for the poor and downtrodden. Grrrr, how he hates when big evil businessmen take advantage of the system and loopholes to enrich themselves in instances where the poor couldn’t possibly also see the same benefits.

So then why does he, the same Charlie Rangel who has been making over $100,000 a year since 1991, makes over $165,000 now, and is worth close to $1 million, occupy a rent controlled apartment, thus taking capacity that could otherwise be occupied by one of his poorer constituents? Better yet, why does he need FOUR OF THEM.

(continued) He pays less than $4,000 a month for the four apartments combined, roughly half of the going rate. Wouldn’t that be considered a “gift” from the owner of the building, who also happens to be a campaign contributor and one of the largest developers in the city? Well, of course it should be — and that, obviously is against Congressional rules.

Some Congressional ethics experts, while saying it appears legitimate for Mr. Rangel to have one rent-stabilized apartment, question whether his acceptance of the additional units may violate the House of Representatives' ban on members' accepting gifts of more than $100. They suggest that the difference between what Mr. Rangel pays for the second, third and fourth apartments and what a new market-rate tenant would pay — some $30,000 annually — could be considered a gift because it is given at the discretion of the landlord and it is not generally available to the public.

In addition to Rangel, Governor Paterson (who makes $180,000 a year), and Governor Paterson’s father also have rent controlled apartments.

If you’d like to applaud Mr. Rangel or Mr. Paterson on their excellent negotiating skills, you can call the Governors office at 518-474-8390 or here and Rangel at (212) 663-3900 or here.

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