Charles Rangel

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Charles B. Rangel
Former U.S. Representative from New York's 15th Congressional District
From: January 3, 1971-January 3, 2017
Predecessor Adam Clayton Powell
Successor Adriano Espaillat
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Alma Rangel
Religion Roman Catholic

Charles B. Rangel is a liberal American politician, and a leader in the Black Caucus in Congress. He represented Harlem—the 15th congressional district in New York City form 1971 to 2017. Rangel is a Democrat and has served as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which handles taxation and other key issues. He has been under heavy attack in recent years for his corruption, especially his failure to report his taxes and finances. He temporarily stepped down from his chairmanship in March after the ethics committee found that Rangel violated House gift rules by accepting travel to the Caribbean.[1]

On November 16, 2010, the House Ethics Committee once again found Rangel guilty of ethics violations, eleven of 16 charges of financial and fundraising misconduct.[2]


Rangel was born in Harlem, and represents it—the center of the African American community in New York. Raised a Catholic, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1948. Sergeant Rangel was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service in the Korean War. Congressman Rangel has supported a return to the military draft.


Rangel has been dogged for years with his ethical lapses. The latest episode came in August 2009, when he admitted holding more than $660,000 in previously unreported assets. All Congressmen must disclose all their financial assets or face criminal penalties. Among the new items on Rangel's amended 2007 financial disclosure report were an account at the Congressional Federal Credit Union worth at least $250,000, an investment account with at least $250,000, vacant land in southern New Jersey and stock in PepsiCo and fast food conglomerate Yum! Brands. Also, he helped a wealthy donor to a school bearing Rangel's name establish a lucrative tax shelter in Bermuda.[3][4]

Rangel used his congressional office of the House Ways and Means Committee for fundraising requests in excess of $30 million [5]

Rangel has four rent-controlled apartments that he pays below market value for. One of the apartments he uses for a campaign office violates city law. Due to scrutiny, he has decided to give up his apartment used as an office.[6] In addition, charges that his failure to properly report income taxes on a Caribbean villa in the Dominican Republic and improperly used House stationary to solicit donations for a school of public affairs named after him.

In an unusual move, Rangel filed ethics charges against himself. House Minority Leader John Boehner introduced a censure measure July 31, 2008. The censure resolution said that Rangel was in violation of the House gift ban and he failed to disclose this on his financial disclosure reports, also violating House rules. Democrats used a parliamentary procedure to kill it. Nancy Pelosi's famous line to 'drain the swamp' of corruption, does not apply to Rangel.[7]

Rangel refused to step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee while ethics charges werer in committee. Minority Leader Boehner said "I just think for the chief tax writer in the United States Congress to admit that he failed to report this income … Charlie ought to step aside until this issue is resolved by the ethics committee. The rules are the rules, the law is the law, and Charlie ought to do the honorable thing and step aside until the ethics committee has time to investigate it." [8] In addition, the 110 Congress adjourned without conclusion of the probe, which Speaker Pelosi promised would happen January 3.[9] The actual ethics panel took up charges against Rangel November 15, 2010. It was noted that he decided to walk out of the long-awaited ethics hearing — arguing that it was unfair for him to face the charges without legal representation.[10]

Also, it was revealed in November 2010 that Rangel violated House rules by using almost $400,000 in funds from his National Leadership PAC to pay his legal bills resulting from ethics violations.[11]


The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to defund ACORN, 345-75 on September 17, 2009. Seventy-five Democrats [Rangel] stood with ACORN and voted no.[12] This despite nationwide attention related to voter fraud and recent revelation of ACORN's ties to prostitution including child trafficking and defrauding the IRS.


  2. 11/16/2010; Ethics Panel Finds Rangel Guilty on 11 Violations of House Rules
  3. Richard Rubin and Alex Knott, "Rangel’s Wealth Jumps After Disclosure," CQ Politics Aug. 25, 2009
  4. Rep. Charles Rangel Stays Amid New Charges, FoxNews, September 7, 2009
  5. Rep. Rangel Uses Office to Solicit Donations Fox News, July 15, 2008
  6. A Legal Take On Rangel's Apartments Daily News, July 11, 2008
  7. House Dems Stop GOP Move to Censure Rangel Fox News, July 31, 2008
  8. Rangel Rejects GOP Calls to Step Down Fox News, September 9, 2008
  9. Rangel Ethics Probe Incomplete, Despite Pelosi's Prediction Fox News, January 04, 2009
  10. Charles Rangel is absent, but ethics panel hears case, LATimes, November 15, 2010
  11. Rangel May Have Violated Rules on Legal Fees, NewsMax, November 15, 2010
  12. House votes to cut off funding, but 75 stand by ACORN, Washington Examiner, September 17, 2009