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Rangel Used PAC To Pay Defense Lawyers

From the New York Post:

Rangel ‘raided’ PACs for 393G


November 14, 2010

Congressman Charles Rangel, whose ethics trial starts tomorrow, appears to have improperly used political-action committee money to pay for his defense.

Rangel tapped his National Leadership PAC for $293,000 to pay his main legal-defense team this year. He took another $100,000 from the PAC in 2009 to pay lawyer Lanny Davis.

By the way, remember this detail the next time you see Mr. Davis lecturing us about ethics on TV.

Two legal experts told The Post such spending is against House rules.

"It’s a breach of congressional ethics," one campaign-finance lawyer said.

Washington, DC, political lawyer Cleta Mitchell said there is "no authority for a member to use leadership PAC funds as a slush fund to pay for personal or official expenses."

Leadership PACs are typically used by politicians to donate money to other candidates.

But Rangel seems to have run afoul of House ethics rules. Lawmakers are generally allowed to use campaign cash to pay their lawyers, but this is limited to money in their personal campaign committee and they must ask permission first, the campaign-finance lawyer said.

"The only campaign funds that a member may use to pay for congressional expenses are funds of his or her principal campaign committee — not the funds of a leadership PAC or a multicandidate committee," according to the House Ethics Manual.

Legal fees tied to a campaign, election or performance of official duties are considered congressional expenses.

"Accepting money or payment for legal expenses from any other source, including a PAC, would be a gift and is barred by the House rules," the lawyer said.

The Ethics Committee had no comment. Rangel’s office refused to comment on the PAC money.

On top of the $393,000 in PAC funds, records show Rangel yanked $1.4 million from his campaign coffers in 2009 and 2010 to pay the firm Zuckerman Spaeder, his main legal-defense team, and $100,000 in 2009 to pay Davis’ firm.

He also spent $147,577 for Washington, DC, lawyer John Kern and $174,303 for Watkins, Meegan, Drury & Co., a firm that offers forensic accounting and legal services

Despite his well-known ‘problems,’ Mr. Rangel still received 80% of his Harlem district’s vote on November 2nd.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, November 15th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Rangel Used PAC To Pay Defense Lawyers”

  1. BigOil says:

    How much chutzpah does it take to break ethics rules to defend yourself against breaking ethics rules? If you are a ruling class Democrat, it’s just another day at the office.

  2. untrainable says:

    I heard a quote from Charlie this morning regarding his choice not to take a plea. He said something like “Isn’t it nice when God tells you you don’t have to take a plea.” I thought that if you think God talks to you, you’re crazy! Unless, of course, you’re a lifelong democrat criminal getting legal advice from him. When you can no longer afford your legal team because you’ve been cut off from your slush fund, I guess your last resort is to get a sidebar from God.

    Where exactly is the problem? He’s charged with tax evasion (they call it failure to pay taxes becuase he’s a dem. If he were Republican, it would be called evasion). Simple question. Did he pay his taxes? No? Then he’s guilty. All this crap about how it wasn’t his fault… or he forgot that he owned property. Irrelevant. Did he pay… No… Guilty.

    Save the taxpayers some cash. Confiscate every penny in Charlie’s accounts, drop him in a cell where he can do no more harm, and throw away the key.

    • tranquil.night says:

      There’s only one god of whom I know that fills people’s heads with lies. And he-she goes by a thousand names.

  3. proreason says:

    Charlie, what a card !!

    Hey, ethics are for white people anyway.

  4. NoNeoCommies says:

    The really disgusting thing about this is the people that know things like this about Rangel and are still “proud” to have voted for him.

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