House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is blaming Republicans and the media for his ethical problems in an "Open Letter to New Yorkers."
Rangel claims that he is being villainized by Republicans as part of their effort to win back the House, as well as headline-seeking reporters, and said that he has done nothing wrong. Rangel has been hit by a series of press reports detailing alleged ethics violations, including his failure to pay taxes on $75,000 in income from a vacation home in the Dominican Republic, his use of his congressional office to raise funds for the Rangel Center in New York City, and his control of four rent-stabilized apartments in a Harlem high-rise that he lives in. The House ethics committee is expected to vote next week to begin a formal investigation of the allegations, as requested by Rangel.
"The campaign season has begun, and to no great surprise, I'm now a Republican talking point. But I assure you, I've brought no dishonor to my family, the Congress, my constituents, or my country," Rangel said in his letter.
"My Democratic colleagues in the House--and, privately, many Republicans--have rallied on my behalf. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team have embraced me while denouncing Republican politics as usual. My colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee and Members of the New York delegation are standing tall by my side. Most important, my family, neighbors, constituents, pastors and community leaders are solidly with me."
Rangel added: "Last July, the Republican party declared guerrilla war against Democrats, and since then has made every effort to smear me and Members of my party. It wasn't enough that they had denied 10 million American children healthcare, blocked extension of unemployment benefits, and tried to scuttle $2 billion in promised 9-11 recovery funds for New York."
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