Charles Rangel, Democratic Representative from New York, faced five opponents in this year’s Primaries, but Rangel was by far the leader with 59 percent of the votes (after 32 percent of the votes had been counted). The closest opponent was Adam Clayton Powell IV with 25 percent of the votes.
What’s interesting is that Rangel won despite all of the allegations against him in Washington. In fact, a House panel is preparing for a public trial later on in September 2010. The charges are for 13 counts of ethics violations. Some of his Democratic colleagues have become frustrated with this trial, but Rangel has refused to reach a settlement with the House’s ethics committee, which has made the trial a necessity. It’s been eight years since the last public trial was held. The defendant, James Traficant, ended up being criminally convicted and sent to jail for his crimes.
Rangel’s charges include not reporting income from a villa located in the Dominican Republic that he rents out. It also includes his receiving four different rent-regulated apartments in Harlem and using his office to preserve a loophole for an executive of an oil company in exchange for a large donation to a public policy center that was named after Rangel. Additionally, he failed to report assets on his financial disclosure forms that are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He claims this to be just bad bookkeeping, but it’s hard to believe that that many assets would be displaced.
In response to the rent-regulated apartments, he doesn’t believe that it was wrong to accept them despite them being thousands of dollars below typical rates for apartments of that size and value. There is a prohibition for Congressional members to accept gifts that are worth more than $50 each month. How do thousands of dollars in rent not violating this.
It will definitely be interesting to see what happens with the trial and to see if Rangel ends up winning the general election and keeping his post in Washington. Only time will tell with this Washington Representative.