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Another Dark Ethical Cloud Over Charles Rangel

by on September 1, 2008

The New York Post reveals that for the past 20 years, Rep. Charles Rangel “has owned a beachfront villa in a sun-drenched Dominican Republic resort, yet has only sporadically declared income on the property in federal filings.”

This revelation, in addition to other ethical questions he’s faced in recent months, certainly explain why the DNC gave back the $100,000 he donated to them, and also may revive calls for Jon Powers to return the money he’s received from the embattled congressman from Harlem.

While the villa was rented to paying guests for the past two years, for instance, Rangel reported no income from it in 2006 and 2007, The Post has learned. As a congressman, failure to fully list all income and investments can result in civil penalties or criminal charges.

The powerful Ways and Means Committee chairman, a Democrat, owns “casita” No. 412 on the Caribbean Sea at the Punta Cana Hotel, on the lush eastern tip of the country, where he is affectionately known as “el senador.”

His three-bedroom, three-bath villa, which can accommodate three couples, is rented for between $500 in the low season to $1,100 a night in the busiest tourist season and is one of the resort’s most popular, managers and staff say.

“You are requesting the best casita on the beach,” a reservations manager told a Post reporter posing as a customer.

“We are always booked solid on that one between December 15 and April 15. It is always the first one to go,” he said.

The 78-year-old Rangel’s stone-covered cottage – which boasts flat-screen TVs and a panoramic ocean view – was open to hotel guests in the past two years, General Manager Carolina Jones told The Post.

“It’s part of the hotel operation. It’s available to customers at all times,” Jones said of No. 412. Typically, the owners of the casitas earn 80 percent of any rental income, staff said.

However, Rangel’s financial disclosure forms, which he is required to file annually, doesn’t list any income for that time he clearly was. Last week Rangel was asked about villa, and declared “I have not received any rental income.”

Even though all members of congress are required to declare their earnings, Rangel refused to answer more questions on the matter saying “I think that’s a private matter.”

The DNC already returned the dirty money they received from Charles Rangel. When will Jon Powers do the same?

UPDATE: The Jon Powers campaign has not returned my message for a comment.

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