Tags: rangel | tax | problems

Rangel Blames 'Cultural Barriers' for Unpaid Taxes

By David Alliot   |   Thursday, 11 Sep 2008 04:16 PM

A defensive Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel cited “cultural and language barriers” as reasons for failing to report $75,000 in rental income on a Dominican Republic beach house.

Rangel gave the explanation at a Capitol Hill news conference, The New York Times reports, where he answered charges by saying, “I personally feel I have done nothing morally wrong.”

The congressman then seemed to backpedal and claimed that he had been unaware of the income, and thus the taxes, because he had trouble getting detailed financial statements from the property’s managers in the Dominican Republic, according to the Times report. “Every time I thought I was getting somewhere, they’d start speaking Spanish,” Rangel said.

The Times reports that his explanation came as a surprise to people in his district, where Spanish is the primary language in many households, and his Web site even has the option of being translated into Spanish.

When pressed by reporters on the issue, Rangel flatly replied, “I never had any idea that I got any income.”

Rangel’s tax woes come on the heels of a string of transgressions ranging from questionable fundraising efforts for his Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service to his multiple affordable-housing apartments in New York. Newsmax detailed the congressman’s troubles in a Sept. 10 report in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood behind Rangel saying she would not force him to step down from the Ways and Means Committee.

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