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$5M Gift To Rangel Bought AIG Tax Cuts

From of all places, the New York Times:

Rangel Pushed for a Donation; Insurer Pushed for a Tax Cut

By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI

January 3, 2009

On April 21, 2008, Representative Charles B. Rangel met with officials of the American International Group, the now-troubled insurance giant, to ask for a donation to a school of public service that City College of New York was building in his honor.

Mr. Rangel had already helped secure a $5 million pledge for the project from a foundation controlled by Maurice R. Greenberg, one of the company’s largest shareholders and its former chief executive. And C.C.N.Y. officials, according to the school’s own records, had high hopes for A.I.G. — a donation of perhaps as much as $10 million.

The company has never made a contribution. But less than a month after Mr. Rangel met with its officials, the company turned to the congressman for help: A senior A.I.G. executive who had attended the fund-raising meeting wrote a letter directly to Mr. Rangel, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, urging him to support a provision of a tax bill that would save A.I.G. millions of dollars a year, according to Joseph M. Norton, a company spokesman.

Mr. Rangel’s exchange with A.I.G. last spring appears to be at odds with the public statements he has made since his fund-raising for the school became an issue. When his approach to A.I.G. was first reported in The Washington Post in July, Mr. Rangel said that he could not recall any issues his committee might have considered in which A.I.G. had an interest.

“I can’t think of one piece of legislation that impacts them, and there has never been a time that they’ve raised any legislation to me,” the paper quoted Mr. Rangel as saying. Indeed, in Mr. Rangel’s formal submission to the House ethics committee, asking it to review his use of Congressional stationery in soliciting money for the school, he wrote, “So far as I am aware, none of those whom I wrote had any pending requests into my office, lobbied me regarding any legislation before my committee, or asked me for assistance on legislation in which they had a special interest.”

Mr. Rangel, who had opposed the tax change A.I.G. was seeking — part of a much bigger piece of legislation — ultimately allowed it to be added to a bill he sponsored…

Federal statutes and House ethics rules forbid members of Congress from asking for anything of value from a person or company with business before them…

A review of Congressional records indicate that A.I.G. had interests in a number of issues before Mr. Rangel — both prior to Mr. Greenberg’s gift and the congressman’s solicitation of A.I.G., and afterward.

Records kept by the Clerk of the House of Representatives indicate that during the past two years, A.I.G. has paid lobbyists to push for changes in at least 10 bills that have been handled by the Ways and Means Committee, including the $700 billion bailout bill that passed in October to stabilize the financial markets.

A.I.G. lobbyists, the records show, pushed for legislative items that would lower taxes on various life insurance products, offer foreign tax credits to multinational corporations and lower the corporate tax rate…

Asked two weeks ago to provide a detailed accounting of Mr. Rangel’s dealings with A.I.G. officials and lobbyists regarding legislation during the past two years, the congressman’s spokesman and lawyer have said they are unable to complete such a time-consuming task during the holidays. And they challenged the fairness of the request

So in July 2006, when Mr. Rangel wrote to 100 philanthropic organizations seeking support for the C.C.N.Y. project, one was sent to an administrator at the Starr Foundation, where Mr. Greenberg serves as the chairman. The foundation did not make a donation in 2006, according to C.C.N.Y. officials. In March 2007, two months after Mr. Rangel had been elevated to Ways and Means chairman, he wrote a letter directly to Mr. Greenberg, using his Congressional stationery.

By the end of the year, Mr. Greenberg had pledged $5 million, by far the largest contribution to a project that has raised $11 million to date

In 2008, Mr. Rangel participated in a meeting with officials at A.I.G., to ask for their support. Mr. Norton, the A.I.G. spokesman, said that the purpose of the meeting was to ask whether A.I.G. would make a financial contribution to C.C.N.Y., although he did not know whether a specific dollar figure was discussed. Mr. Rangel and the C.C.N.Y. officials left the meeting without a commitment.

But several weeks later, in a letter dated May 13, Edward T. Cloonan, the highest-ranking A.I.G. official who attended the fund-raising meeting with Mr. Rangel, wrote to the congressman asking him to support the extension of a tax provision designed to help American-based multinational companies lower their obligation to the I.R.S., which was set to expire. Mr. Rangel, who had announced plans to add an array of “tax extenders” to an energy bill he was preparing to introduce that month, opposed extending the specific measure Mr. Cloonan and A.I.G. were lobbying for.

The measure, known as the “subpart F active financing exception,” would benefit a broad coalition of American companies, including hundreds of financial services firms, and according to estimates by the nonpartisan Joint Taxation Committee would cost the Treasury $3.97 billion in revenue in 2009 and 2010. A.I.G., which Congressional records indicate spent more than $9.5 million on lobbying in 2008, had its own lobbyists and three outside firms pushing to extend the measure…

Mr. Rangel included the provision in the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008, which was introduced on May 14 and which passed the House a week later, then stalled in the Senate over the summer.

But in September, after the House of Representatives rejected the first attempt to pass a $700 billion bill intended to stave off the collapse of the banking system, leaders in the Senate revived Mr. Rangel’s bill as part of a compromise that won approval in both houses

Of course this is the kind of story that the New York Times only feels safe to print on Saturday mornings when nobody is looking.

And The Times knows that Mr. Rangel has nothing to worry about.

So he is a safe target when they need to prove how unbiased they are – once a year or so.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, January 3rd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “$5M Gift To Rangel Bought AIG Tax Cuts”

  1. proreason says:

    By Rangel’s standards, this is a quid pro quo non-event.

    That’s why the Slimes published it.

    Now they can brag about their “watchdog” status to justify Barackenstein handing them billions of dollars or our money to keep them in business covering up his crimes and undermining the country.

  2. Enthalpy says:

    Without term limits, men of such distinction are almost unassailable.

    • proreason says:

      exactly.

      The best hope to save the country is term limits.

      Rangel, Franks, Kennedy…….the criminals are always re-elected.

      2 terms for Senators. 3 terms for Representatives.

      Retroactive.

      The swamp would be drained immediately.

      Honorable people would be willing to run for office.

  3. U NO HOO says:

    Let me get this correct, we are complaining about the high cost of insurance and insurance companies and their stock holders are giving away money?

    • cjokry says:

      Yes. Giving it away to corrupt politicians. And then failing financially. And then asking for public funds.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Nancys’ Houseboy will look good in chains on a roadgang cleaning ditches. Even better…..Nancy right there with him!!


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