The Washington Post and The New York Times have both called on Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., to step down as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee following new ethics charges that came to light last week.
The Times disclosed that the New York Democrat helped preserve a valuable tax loophole for an oil and gas drilling company while the firm’s chief executive, Eugene Isenberg, was promising to donate $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at City College of New York.
On Feb. 12, 2007, the day the tax legislation was being considered in his committee, Rangel met in New York City with Isenberg to discuss his support for the school. Rangel then met with Isenberg’s lobbyist, who wanted to make certain Rangel would not close the loophole.
Rangel has claimed the donation to his school was not related to his decision to oppose closing the loophole.
The Times on Wednesday called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to force Rangel to step down from his committee post.
On Saturday, The Post also called on Rangel to step aside, stating in an editorial: “At a time when President-elect Barack Obama is holding frequent news conferences to reassure the markets and the American people that he is ready to lead the nation to economic recovery, the last thing he will need is a chairman of Ways and Means caught up in a swirl of serious allegations.”
The Post noted: “The revelation is the latest in a litany that has come to light since the summer.”
Rangel has also been accused of paying below-market rents on four apartments, including one that was illegally used as a campaign office. He failed to pay tens of thousands of tax dollars on rental income on a vacation home in the Dominican Republic, The Hill newspaper reported.
He failed to report the value of a condominium in Florida, and did not report a privately sponsored trip on his House travel disclosure form.
The ethics committee is investigating the allegations, and The Post opined that Rangel “should step aside as chairman while the ethics committee expands its inquiry.”
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