Congressman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Fox News's Sean Hannity had a very entertaining debate about taxes Monday evening.
When Hannity told the Congressman he pays 60 cents in taxes on every dollar he makes, Rangel said, "It means that you need yourself a good accountant" leading Hannity to marvelously reply, "Charlie, if I used your accountant I'd be on the verge of getting in trouble in Congress."
Appearing on Thursday's O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel slammed fill-in host Laura Ingraham: "Let me say this. That Bill O'Reilly told me he had a secret weapon, I didn't know it was just a pretty girl that he would bring in." Ingraham responded: "That's very condescending, sir. A pretty girl. These are serious questions." [Audio available here]
Ingraham was questioning Rangel on whether or not President Obama's economic policies have benefitted minorities. The New York Congressman dodged such questions as he continually blamed Republicans for unemployment remaining high.
Wu-hoo! Welcome to another freaky ethics fiasco brought to you by the D.C. den of dysfunctional Democrats. This one comes clothed in a Tigger costume, wrapped in blinders and bathed in the fetid Beltway odor of eau de Pass le Buck.
Liberal David Wu is a seven-term Democratic congressman from Oregon who announced Tuesday that he'll resign amid a festering sex scandal involving the teenage daughter of a longtime campaign donor. He won't, however, be vacating public office until "the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis." Translation: Call off the U-Haul trucks. Wu's staying awhile.
While the "objective" network newscasts strenuously sought to hornswoggle the public into thinking everyone in Washington was sympathetic to unethical tax-evading liberal Rep. Charlie Rangel getting censured on the House floor for 45 seconds, CNN's Parker Spitzer asked about Rangel on Thursday night and received a dissenting blast from sports journalist Stephen A. Smith, who called him an “absolute disgrace” and said “I'm done with him.”
Former Air America host Sam Seder, so enraged by the corruption of the Bushies, was just as partisan in insisting Rangel didn't commit a crime and shouldn't receive a censure and was “open with the committee.” Eliot Spitzer didn't want to dwell too long on the ethical-politician subject:
SPITZER: All right, guys. Does he persuade you? Should Charlie be shown the exit or has Charlie persuaded you he deserves to continue on fighting for central Harlem?
SMITH: Well, I'm not going to sit there and say he deserves to be shown the exit, but he certainly hasn't convinced me. I think it's an absolute disgrace that he, of all people, conducted himself in this fashion.
According to CBS Evening News host Katie Couric on Thursday, the censure of Charles Rangel was "painful" for "everyone watching" and a "fall from grace." Reporter Nancy Cordes also tried to find the "silver lining" in the Congressman's reelection.
Cordes sympathetically recounted, "It was a shaken Speaker Pelosi who read the resolution censuring her longtime ally, 80-year-old Charles Rangel, as he stood in the well of the House." Apparently asserting a universal emotion, Couric proclaimed, "It was painful for him and for everyone watching."
In closing a report on the subject, Cordes seemed to put the best possible spin on the fact that Rangel is only the 23 House member in the history of the United States to be censured: "If there is a silver lining for Mr. Rangel, it's that this two-and-a-half year ordeal is now over. There are no criminal charges against him and he easily won reelection last month."
On Friday, the CBS Early Show failed to make any mention of New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel being censured by the House of Representatives on Thursday for 11 ethics violations. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today did cover the historic punishment, but adopted a very sympathetic tone toward Rangel.
In a slightly extended news brief on Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos described the censure as "an unusual moment," seeming to lament that Rangel "had to accept the punishment." Correspondent Jonathan Karl remarked that Rangel "was defiant right to the end" and "told reporters this was a very political vote." Stephanopoulos concluded the report by praising such bitterness: "That's right. He fought it. He tried to get an alternative passed. But in the end, handled that apology with real grace."
In a sympathetic story devoid of critics on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Wyatt Andrews described Congressman Charles Rangel's rant over being charged with numerous ethics violations this way: "In an emotional and raw defense against 13 ethics charges, Charles Rangel mixed small doses of contrition...into a speech of political defiance."
Andrews's report featured only sound bites of Rangel's speech that afternoon on the House floor, no critics of the New York Congressman from either party were included. Andrews did explain that Rangel was in "serious trouble" and detailed the charges: "Rangel is charged with not reporting his income on a beach villa in the Dominican Republic, his taxable gains on a condo in Florida. Not reporting several large investment accounts and with raising money for his Rangel Center at the City College in New York from dozens of companies needing favors from his committee."
Continuing to report on Rangel's bombastic address, Andrews observed: "...this was real-world drama. A man who had clawed his way to the peak of political power now shocked to find himself deserted by so many friends." Andrews concluded: "Many Democrats...hoped that Rangel would actually take one for the team and quit before his ethics problem became their election issue. But Rangel called that kind of thinking unfair to him and even asked at one point in his speech, 'what about me?'"
On August 5, 2010, The Washington Post published a short editorial by Eugene Robinson with the title "Charlie Rangel's no crook." But on October 9, 2009, the same Eugene Robinson penned a column titled "Charlie Rangel's Cloud: An Ethics Case Could Drag Democrats Down." The closer we get to elections, Robinson seems to get progressively less impressed with the case against Rangel. This is his new Rangel-name-is-cleared line:
Charlie Rangel's no crook. He’s right to insist on the opportunity to clear his name, because the charges against him range from the technical all the way to the trivial.
All right, there’s one exception: On his federal tax returns, Rangel failed to declare rental income from a vacation property he owns in the Dominican Republic -- a mortifying embarrassment for the one-time chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax code. But certain facts about this transgression rarely get mentioned. For one thing, Rangel’s so-called “villa” can’t be very palatial, since it cost only $82,750 when he bought it in 1987. For another, Rangel has already filed amended tax returns and paid everything he owed, plus penalties and interest.
During her 1PM ET hour show on Monday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell promoted allegations from the Congressional Black Caucus that ethics investigations into Democrats Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters are racially motivated: "Are black lawmakers being singled out by the ethics watchdogs on Capitol Hill? New charges of racial bias."
After detailing the accusations against California Congresswoman Waters, Mitchell noted the formal ethics charges filed against New York Congressman Rangel and touted his defense: "...he, we now know, tried to point out that Mitch McConnell and others allegedly did the same thing, trying to raise money for a center named after them. He's claiming that this is a matter of bias."
Mitchell's guest, Politico editor-in-chief John Harris, continued to make the case: "...that there is a clear double standard and they're asking why is it that the new congressional ethics procedures seem to be the result of that, seem to be a number of African-Americans that are getting put under a tough ethical microscope....They say that there seems to be a pattern that reflects, they're alleging, a racial bias."
Similarly, on Sunday's CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon interviewed the Reverend Al Sharpton and wondered: "...some are openly questioning why two high profile African-American House members are coming under such tough scrutiny. Do you think that black members are being targeted unfairly by the Ethics Committee?"
UPDATE: Louis's retort considered - and debunked - below. UPDATE II: Louis makes a pretty outrageous claim on his twitter account. Details below.
Here's a helpful tip if you ever run for federal office: make sure to curry favor with journalists so that if you're ever charged with multiple ethics violations, those journalists won't ask you difficult questions. It works - just ask Charlie Rangel!
The New York congressman, chairman of the House panel in charge of the tax code, will likely be charged in a number of violations of the ethics code. Among the alleged violations is a charge that he extended a $500 million tax loophole to an oil executive in exchange for donations to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York.
No matter, says New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis, who admitted to refraining from asking Rangel any tough questions in an interview. His reason: Rangel has "been a friend to my show and he's given us a lot of good inside information."
ABC's World News on Friday night finally caught up with burgeoning Democratic scandals, though hardly showing the same zeal as when the networks incessantly focused on Republican Congressman Mark Foley back in 2006. On Thursday, the MRC's Scott Whitlock documented how this week the ABC evening newscast had “devoted almost six times as much coverage to Senator Jim Bunning and his temporary hold-up of an unemployment bill as the program did for the ongoing revelations that Democratic Charlie Rangel violated House ethics with his trips to the Caribbean [38 seconds].” Anchor Diane Sawyer set up the Friday night story:
And in political Washington tonight, Democrats on Capitol Hill capping a bad week have to be saying thank heaven this is Friday. The latest: Democratic Congressman Eric Massa, from upstate New York, announced he's quitting his seat under a cloud of harassment allegations. What does this mean for the Democratic Party and the future? Here's Jon Karl.
Karl showed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's promise of the “most ethical Congress in history” and that she would “drain the swamp” as he highlighted Rangel and the announcement Massa, accused of “sexually harassing two male aides,” will resign. Karl recalled:
Democrats rode into power by targeting Republican corruption, and there was lots of it: The Mark Foley sex scandal involving under-age pages and lobbying scandals that landed two Republican Congressmen in jail.
Over the last three days, ABC's World News devoted almost six times as much coverage to Senator Jim Bunning and his temporary hold-up of an unemployment bill as the program did for the ongoing revelations that Democratic Charlie Rangel violated House ethics with his trips to the Caribbean.
World News investigated and followed the Republican for four minutes and 38 seconds over two days. In comparison, the program could only manage a scant 48 seconds of coverage for Rangel. (Anchor Diane Sawyer on Wednesday finally asked George Stephanopoulos about the news that Rangel was stepping down from his powerful Ways and Means committee.)
The difference here is that Rangel's story was an actual scandal and ABC only treated Bunning's actions, which amounted to not giving unanimous consent to a $10 billion spending bill, as a scandal.
What is Katie Couric drinking these days? Who has taken over her body? The CBS Evening News anchor on Wednesday night cited hypocritical positions or actions taken by President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On the day when Obama pressed forward with using “reconciliation” to pass his health bill in the Senate -- and while MSNBC hosts obsess over Republican hypocrisy in now opposing it when they used it to pass bills when the GOP had the Senate majority -- Couric recalled that “in 2007 when President Obama was a Senator, he criticized the use of the reconciliation process in health care reform.”
Following a story on the ethics violations swirling around Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel which forced him to step down Wednesday as Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, and how additional issues are still being probed, including his failure to report income and pay taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic, his use of four rent controlled apartments in Harlem and his failure to report $500,000 in assets, Couric remarked:
And yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi...stood by him for a year. How does that square with her famous promise 'to drain the swamp' and clamp down on ethics breaches?
"Maybe it's time for the House ethics committee to find a new name."
So actually began an article at CBSNews.com's Political Hotsheet blog Tuesday entitled "Ethics Committee Clears Seven, But Questions Persist":
Last week, the bipartisan committee, known formally as the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, cleared seven lawmakers who had been accused of trading millions in federal dollars for campaign contributions.
The exoneration came despite a report from a separate group, the Office of Congressional Ethics, that found defense contractors that received the federal money (which came in the form of earmarks) believed their contributions were directly tied to federal money coming their way.
After discussing some of the contradictory actions taken by both groups last week, the piece took an even more surprising turn (h/t Ed Morrissey):
Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman says Congressman Charles Rangel's (D-N.Y.) ethics scandal has absolutely no national significance.
As the Roundtable segment of ABC's "This Week" turned to new revelations concerning the powerful Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Sunday, the New York Times columnist was all by himself in making the case that Rangel hasn't really done anything wrong.
"I'm unhappy with this," he said. "I wish Rangel would go away, but it's, it really has no national significance."
Krugman actually said this after everyone on the panel, including host Elizabeth Vargas, Cokie Roberts, and Sam Donaldson, discussed how egregious Rangel's ethics violations were (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
It must really be cold outside, for the CBS "Evening News" Monday actually did a segment exposing how members of Congress wasted a huge amount of money at the United Nations' climate summit in Copenhagen last month.
Even more surprising, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson pointed fingers at prominent Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), and Charles Rangel (N.Y.).
Readers are encouraged to strap themselves in tightly, for this report coming from the global warming-obsessed media seems as likely as freezing temperatures in Miami (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
Your humble correspondent has just returned from the Caribbean paradise of Culebra. Politics were far from my mind as I snorkled the Culebran reefs. However, on my way home, I picked up a copy of the Puerto Rico Daily Sun in the western outskirts of San Juan and a certain story by Robert Friedman of their Washington, D.C. bureau caught my eye because it had the word "rum" in the title: "Debate heats up in D.C. over rum rebate." As a lover of that delightful beverage, I naturally scanned the story which, much to my amusement, illustrated the state of Washington politics without exactly spelling out what the problem is.
So let us now join Robert Friedman as he lays out the situation in which Captain Morgan rum (one of my favorites) is planning to move its production from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands:
The three stateside Puerto Rican House members have escalated the billion-dollars battle over rum rebates with a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., indicating that the recent deal to move the production of Captain Morgan rum from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands could set the stage for corporate ripoffs of taxpayers.
Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News aired a full report by correspondent Lisa Myers on the ongoing investigation into Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel’s failure to report income over several years to the IRS. Myers detailed some of the numbers:
The powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee recently revised six years of financial disclosure statements, revealing more than $600,000 in previously unreported assets and tens of thousands of dollars in unreported income. Among the holdings Rangel failed to report, an investment account and a checking account, each worth at least $250,000. Rangel also has admitted that he failed to report and pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income on this villa in the Dominican Republic.
In the week since South Carolina’s Republican Governor announced he had flown to Argentina to carry on an extra-marital affair, the broadcast morning and evening news shows have gone full bore on the scandal, cranking out 49 stories even in the midst of other major stories like Michael Jackson’s death and the continuing repression in Iran.
The morning after Sanford announced his affair, on the June 25 Good Morning America, longtime correspondent Sam Donaldson used the scandal to broadly charge Republicans with being “sanctimonious. They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they [act] human, they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness.” Unlike when New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught consorting with a prostitute in March 2008, all three broadcast networks immediately identified Sanford’s party ID.
A number of top Democrats are enmeshed in embarrassment or facing allegations of wrongdoing, but the networks have far less interest in publicizing those cases. A rundown of ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening coverage so far this year:
In the wake of the American International Group (AIG) bonus controversy, some have called the plans of congressional leaders to tax those bonuses at a rate of 90-100 percent "legislating with a vengeance."
"When you violate the public trust, different rules apply - the same thing we have in charitable organizations, 501(c)3 when they have excessive payment in certain areas that we're able to penalize them for," Rangel said.
A collection of "The Faces of Political Scandal," assembled by ABC News yesterday (HT to an e-mailer), once again demonstrates the media's relative reluctance to identify the membership of Democrats involved in scandal.
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Here's the detail, slide by slide:
Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- Party not ID'd, while containing a quote with a Republican frame of reference ("Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. "This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.").
Is there some kind of competition on the left to see who can make the most denigrating remark about the mental acuity of Republicans? As we've noted, last night Paul Begala called President Bush "a high-functioning moron," perhaps his bid to one-up Rep. Charles Rangel, who had called Sara Palin "disabled."
Today, it's Jonathan Capehart's turn. Speaking with David Shuster on MSNBC this afternoon, the Washington Post editorial writer said that Sarah Palin reminds him of Lauren Caitlin Upton, the 2007 Miss Teen South Carolina whose tangles ["U.S. Americans," etc.] with the English language made her an overnight YouTube star.
Capehart's comment came in response to a Shuster inquiry about Palin's reply to Katie Couric's question about the relevance to Palin's foreign-policy credentials of Russia's proximity to Alaska.
What is it with Democrats and their grotesque slurs upon the intelligence of their political rivals? Last week it was Charles Rangel calling Sarah Palin "disabled." Tonight on CNN, Paul Begala called President Bush "a high-functioning moron."
Begala was on an Anderson Cooper-led panel with Republican Ed Rollins and CNN's Gloria Borger to discuss the state of the possible federal financial bailout. Cooper took the first shot at the president, analogizing his performance in this crisis to that during Hurricane Katrina.
ANDERSON COOPER: Watching the president last night give that speech, it was like watching him in Jackson Square in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I mean, he did not seem to be there.
On Thursday night, CBS anchor Katie Couric began a short news update on Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska by immediately highlighting his party affiliation: “The senior Republican in the U.S. Senate went on trial today for corruption...” Stevens was appointed to his seat in 1968. But the night before, in an item on ethical questions surrounding Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, a House veteran elected in 1970 who is Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Couric failed to inform viewers he's a Democrat. Though, as his bio recites, he's “Chairman of the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,” sans any party ID Couric announced on Wednesday's CBS Evening News:
The House also plans to investigate one of its own: New York Congressman Charles Rangel. He's come under fire for, among other things, failure to pay taxes on a luxury villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Rangel has rejected calls that he step down as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Here's the related report from CBS2 in New York (note that this is not a transcript of the video report; the full vid has reax from Congressman Peter King of New York, a spokesman for the disabled who points out that FDR was "disabled," and the McCain campaign):
Rep. Charles Rangel paid no mortgage interest on a beach resort property for more than 10 years, a lawyer for the powerful House committee chairman said Friday.
The New York congressman's lawyer, Lanny Davis, told The Associated Press that Rangel got his no-interest deal for the villa in the Dominican Republic because he was an original buyer in the resort development, and in the early days after the purchase the rental income failed to meet expectations.
Not mentioned is that the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which Rangels chairs, writes tax laws. You know, laws like paying taxes on rental income. Additionally, Rangel's political party is not identified, no doubt merely an inadvertent lapse in reportage.
Guess we're really going to have to put on our thinking caps to figure out to which party Charlie belongs. Think, think, think. What, you already know?
Despite CNN “American Morning” anchor John Roberts asking tough questions about tax increases from liberal Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel’s tax bill, but an onscreen graphic read “Major Tax Reform,” suggesting the network viewed it differently.
Notice Norah O'Donnell glancing down? Although the screen graphic refers to the Lewinsky scandal, the MSNBC anchor was at that moment discussing the Democrats's $1 trillion tax proposal with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rangel is the key mover behind the tax plan.
O'Donnell, obviously reading from a document, described the proposal as a plan "to eliminate the alternative minimum tax and ease the tax burdens of most Americans by asking the rich and some corporations to pay more."
Did you realize that Congressman Charles Rangel fully intends to enact a massive tax increase this year?
Oh, you thought that the Harlem representative only wants to fix and/or eliminate the dreadful Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
If you know otherwise, it's probably only because you read Robert Novak's September 17 syndicated column, which is the only meaningful coverage of Mr. Rangel's plans I have seen (HT to a NewsBusters e-mailer). In it, Novak revealed what Old Media either doesn't care to cover, or appears to not want you to know (bolds are mine):