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Charles Rangel


Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 1971
Preceded by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

In office
January 4, 2007 – March 3, 2010[1]
Preceded by Bill Thomas
Succeeded by Sander M. Levin (Acting)

Born June 11, 1930 (1930-06-11) (age 79)
New York City, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Alma Rangel
Residence Manhattan, New York City, New York
Alma mater New York University, St. John's University School of Law
Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic
Signature
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1948–1952
Rank Staff Sergeant (E-6)
Unit 2nd Infantry Division (503rd Artillery Battalion)
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Purple Heart
Bronze Star

Charles Bernard "Charlie" Rangel (born June 11, 1930)[2] (pronounced /ˈræŋɡəl/[3]) is an American politician. He has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1971, representing the Fifteenth Congressional District of New York, and is the most senior member of that state's congressional delegation. He is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. In January 2007, Rangel became chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the first African-American to do so.

Rangel was born in Harlem in New York City and had a somewhat troubled childhood. He earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service in the United States Army during the Korean War, where he led a group of soldiers out of a deadly Chinese Army encirclement during the Battle of Kunu-ri in 1950. Rangel graduated from New York University in 1957 and St. John's University School of Law in 1960, then worked as a private lawyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and legal counsel during the early-mid 1960s. He served two terms in the New York State Assembly from 1967 to 1970, then defeated longtime incumbent Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in a primary challenge on his way to being elected to the House of Representatives.

Once there, Rangel rose rapidly in the Democratic ranks, combining solidly liberal views with a pragmatic approach to getting things done. His longtime concerns with battling the importation and effects of illegal drugs led to his becoming chair of the House Select Committee on Narcotics, where he helped define national policy on the issue during the 1980s. As one of Harlem's "Gang of Four", he also became a leader in New York city and state politics. He played a significant role in the creation of the 1995 Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and the national Empowerment Zone Act, which helped change the economic face of Harlem and other inner city areas. Rangel is known both for his genial manner and ability to win over fellow legislators and for his blunt speaking; he has long been outspoken about his views and has been arrested several times as part of political demonstrations. He was an adamant opponent of the George W. Bush administration and of the Iraq War, and put forth quixotic proposals to reinstate the draft during the 2000s.

Beginning in 2008, Rangel has faced a series of allegations of ethical violations and failures to follow tax laws. In February 2010, the House Ethics Committee concluded that Rangel had violated House gift rules by accepting payment from corporations for reimbursement for travel to conferences in the Caribbean, and required him to repay those expenses. The Ethics Committee has yet to rule on three more serious investigations, which involve allegations of improperly living in multiple rent-stabilized apartments in New York City while claiming his Washington, D.C. home as his primary residence for tax purposes, of improperly using his office in raising money for a public policy institute in his name at the City College of New York, and of failing to disclose rental income from an apartment in the Dominican Republic. In March 2010, Rangel stepped aside as Ways and Means chair.

Contents

Early life, military service, and education

Charles Bernard Rangel was born in Harlem in New York City, the second of three children.[2] His family was Roman Catholic. His father Ralph Rangel, Sr. (January 6, 1900–?) was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico.[4][5] His mother Blanche Mary Wharton (March 20, 1904–March 6, 1995)[6] worked as a maid and as a seamstress in a factory in New York's Garment District.[7][8] Rangel's father was a frequently absent, unemployed man who was abusive to his wife and who left the family when his son was six years old.[8] Rangel did well in elementary and middle school,[2] and began working at a neighorhood drug store at the age of eight.[8] Rangel then attended DeWitt Clinton High School,[7] but was often truant and was sometimes driven home by the police.[8] An early role model, his maternal grandfather who worked in a courthouse and knew many judges and lawyers, kept him from getting into more serious trouble.[8] Rangel dropped out at age 16 during his junior year and worked in various low-paying jobs, including selling shoes.[7][8][9]

A 2nd Infantry Division unit nearby to Rangel's, fighting a rear-guard action in the Battle of Kunu-Ri in late November 1950 during the Korean War.

Rangel then enlisted in the United States Army, and served from 1948 to 1952.[10] During the Korean War, he was a member of the all-black 503rd Field Artillery Battalion in the 2nd Infantry Division.[11] In late November 1950, this unit was caught up in heavy fighting in North Korea as part of the U.N. forces retreat from the Yalu River. In the Battle of Kunu-ri, Rangel was part of a vehicle column that was trapped and attacked by the Chinese Army.[11] In the subzero cold, Rangel was injured by shrapnel from a Chinese shell.[12] Some U.S. soldiers were being taken prisoner, but others looked to Rangel, who though only a private first class had a reputation for leadership in the unit. Rangel led some 40 men from his unit, during three days of freezing weather, out of the Chinese encirclement; nearly half of the battalion was killed in the overall battle.[13] Rangel was awarded a Purple Heart for his wounds and the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions in the face of death.[14] He was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation,[15] the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, and three battle stars.[14] In 2000, Rangel reflected with CBS News that "Since Kunu Ri – and I mean it with all my heart, I have never, never had a bad day."[11]

Rangel would later view his time in the Army, away from the poverty of his youth, as a major turning point in his life: "When I was exposed to a different life, even if that life was just the Army, I knew damn well I couldn't get back to the same life I had left."[16] After an honorable discharge from the Army at the rank of staff sergeant,[10] he returned home to headlines in The New York Amsterdam News.[8] Rangel finished high school, completing two years of studies in one year and graduating in 1953.[7] Rangel then received a B.S. from the New York University School of Commerce in 1957, where he made the dean's list,[10] and, on full scholarship, obtained a Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law in 1960.[17]

Rangel is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans. He is a member of the fraternity's World Policy Council, a think tank whose purpose is to expand Alpha Phi Alpha's involvement in politics and social and current policy to encompass international concerns.[18]

Early legal and political career

After graduating law school, Rangel passed the state bar exam and was hired by Weaver, Evans & Wingate, the city's most prominent black law firm.[19] Rangel made little money in private practice, but did get a positive reputation for providing legal assistance to black civil rights activists.[7] In 1961, Rangel was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York by U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy,[7] working under U.S. Attorney Robert Morgenthau. He stayed in that position for a year.[7]

Following that, Rangel was legal counsel to the New York Housing and Redevelopment Board,[20] associate counsel to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly,[20] a law clerk to pioneering Judge James L. Watson,[21] and general counsel to the National Advisory Commission on Selective Service (1966), a presidential commission to revise draft laws.[22][23] His interest in politics grew with these roles;[24] he ran but lost for party district leader during an intense Democratic factional dispute in Harlem in 1963.[25] In 1964, Rangel and the man who would become his political mentor, New York State Assemblyman Percy Sutton, co-founded the John F. Kennedy Democratic Club in Harlem[7] (later renamed the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Democratic Club).[20]

Rangel met Alma Carter, a social worker, in the mid-late-1950s while on the dance floor of the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.[8] They married on July 26, 1964.[24] They have two children, Steven and Alicia, and three grandsons.[24]

Rangel participated in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, marching for four days even though he had planned only a brief appearance.[10] He developed what The New York Times would label his irrepressible energy and joking self-mockery during this period in his life.[10]

Rangel was selected by Harlem Democrats to run for the New York State Assembly in 1966, representing the 72nd Legislative District in Central Harlem, after incumbent Sutton was named Manhattan Borough President.[26] Rangel was victorious and served two two-year terms there.[7] He emerged as a leader among the black legislators in the state, and also became politically friendly with Governor of New York Nelson Rockefeller, who arranged for Rangel to run on the Republican as well as Democratic ballot line during his 1968 re-election.[7] Rangel supported legalization of the numbers game, saying "For the average Harlemite, playing numbers ... is moral and a way of life."[10] He also opposed harsher penalties on prostitutes, on grounds of ineffectiveness.[10] He was strongly concerned by the effects of drugs on Harlem, advocated that drug pushers be held accountable for the crimes committed by their users, and in general believed the problem was at the level of a threat to national security.[27][28]

In 1969, Rangel ran for the Democratic nomination for New York City Council President; in a tumultuous race that featured sportswriter Jimmy Breslin as mayoral candidate Norman Mailer's running mate, Rangel came in last in a field of six candidates.[29]

In 1970, Rangel ran for election to the U.S. House of Representatives, challenging long-time incumbent Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in the Democratic primary in New York's 18th congressional district.[7] Powell had been an iconic, charismatic, and flamboyant figure[2][7] who had become embroiled in an ethics controversy in 1967, lost his seat, then regained it in 1969 due to the U.S. Supreme Court decision Powell v. McCormack.[30] In a field of five candidates, Rangel focused his criticism on Powell's frequent absences from Congress.[2] In the June primary, Rangel defeated Powell by 150 votes out of around 25,000.[7] Powell tried to take legal action to overturn the result, claiming over a thousand ballots were improper,[28] but was unsuccessful; he also failed to get on the ballot as an independent. With both Democratic and Republican backing, Rangel won the November 1970 general election – against a Liberal Party candidate and several others – with 88 percent of the vote.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives

Districts, terms, and committees

The strongest electoral challenge to Rangel came during his first re-election bid, in 1972, when he faced a Democratic primary challenge from HARYOU-ACT director Livingston Wingate, who had the backing of the old Powell organization and the Congress of Racial Equality, a black nationalist group that Rangel publicly denounced.[7] Rangel had the backing of the other Democratic power bases, however, and won the primary by a 3–to–1 margin[31] and the general election easily.

Rangel has won re-election every two years since, often with over 90 percent of the vote.[32] In a number of elections, Rangel has received the backing of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Liberal Party of New York.[31] Rangel's consistent appeal to his constituents has been due to the perception of him as a champion for justice not just in Harlem but around the world.[33] He did face another primary challenge in 1994, when Adam Clayton Powell IV ran on his father's name and held Rangel to 58 percent of the vote.[34]

His district was numbered the Eighteenth District from 1971 to 1973; the Nineteenth District from 1973 to 1983; and the Sixteenth District from 1983 to 1993. Presently numbered the Fifteenth, it is the smallest in the country in geographic size, encompassing Upper Manhattan and including such neighborhoods as Harlem, Spanish Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, Morningside Heights, and part of the Upper West Side, as well as a small portion of Queens in the neighborhood of Astoria. Early 1970s reapportionment led to the district being only 65 percent black,[31] and by 1979 it was 50 percent black, 30 percent white, and 20 percent Puerto Rican.[35] By 2010, only 3 in 10 district residents were black.[36]

As of January 2007, Rangel is the Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means and Chairman of the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He is currently the fourth-longest serving Democratic House member, behind John Dingell, John Conyers, and Dave Obey.

Rangel was an original member when the Congressional Black Caucus was formed in 1971.[37] In 1974 he was elected its chairman,[2][31] and has remained a member of the caucus ever since.

Committee assignments

1970s

As a freshman congressman, Rangel focused on the drug issue, and was a member of the House Select Committee on Crime. In February 1971 he criticized the Nixon administration for not taking stronger action against Turkey and France, the source and manufacture points for most of the heroin coming into the U.S.[7] His proposal to halt foreign aid to countries not cooperating in the effort against international drug trafficking was unsuccessful, but did lead to a bill that authorized the president to reduce aid to such countries.[7] Rangel created controversy in New York City by accusing some members of the New York Police Department of cooperating with drug pushers.[7]

On April 14, 1972, Rangel and Louis Farrakhan intervened in the investigation of the murder of New York Police Department patrolman Philip Cardillo, who was fatally shot in a Harlem Nation of Islam mosque where Malcolm X used to preach. Before a suspect could be taken into custody, Farrakhan and Rangel arrived at the scene, saying that a riot would likely occur if the suspect and others were not released.[38] Some police officials also limited the investigation, including deputy commissioner for public affairs Benjamin Ward, who had ordered all white police officers away from the scene in acquiescing to the demands of Farrakhan and Rangel.[38]

Despite an initial impression that Rangel was mostly concerned with the "ghetto problems" of drugs and welfare, Rangel focused on many other issues as well.[35] Rangel was instrumental in securing American materiel support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. According to fellow Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who worked on Rangel's first campaign in 1970: "Before the Six Day War in 1967, the United States was not an arms supplier to Israel. When the Yom Kippur War broke out, people said not to supply Israel. Charlie insisted that we have to. If not for those Phantom jets, the war might have turned out different."[39] In other respects, Rangel opposed foreign interventions and military spending, voting against bombing in Cambodia and against funding for the B-1 bomber and supercarriers.[31]

In Congress, one of Rangel's first committee assignments was on the House Judiciary Committee, where during the Watergate scandal he participated in the 1974 impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon. Rangel received both national attention and respect for his well-informed questioning style during the hearings.[2][23][31] Rangel was also prominent in questioning Governor Nelson Rockefeller on his role in handling the Attica Prison riot during Rockefeller's vice presidential confirmation hearing.[2]

Rangel rose rapidly in the House, due to his political skills, hard work, thorough knowledge of legislative matters, and genial manner.[31] In 1974, he became the first black ever named to the House Committee on Ways and Means,[2][35] a position he assumed in 1975 (and left the Judiciary Committee),[34] and by 1979 had become the chairman of its important Subcommittee on Health.[31] In 1976, he was named to the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.[31] By 1979, Rangel was a member of the influential House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.[31] Rangel combined his solidly liberal views – interest group ratings in 1978 indicated he was the most liberal member of the New York State congressional delegation – with a pragmatic approach to getting things done.[31][35] Rangel built alliances with others in Congress (collaboring for example with Michigan Republican Guy Vander Jagt on welfare reform measures), with people in governmental agencies, and with the Carter administration.[35] In some cases Rangel was criticized for being too pragmatic, such as when he switched his position on natural gas deregulation; Rangel denied that he did so in exchange for the authorization of a new federal building in Harlem.[35] Rangel said of himself, "I guess I'm practical, but you have to live with yourself and make sure you are not so practical that you sell out a part of yourself."[35]

Besides his increasing influence in Washington, by the late 1970s Rangel was New York City's leading black political figure.[35] After initially endorsing Percy Sutton in the New York City mayoral election, 1977, he subsequently endorsed Ed Koch over Mario Cuomo in the Democratic primary run-off.[40] He then attempted to mediate between Mayor Koch and some minority groups who thought the Koch administration racially insensitive; as Koch related, "He has told some blacks angry with me: 'You say Ed Koch is nasty to you? I want you to know he's nasty to everybody.' I thought that was rather nice."[35]

1980s

An early official congressional portrait of Rangel.

In 1981, Rangel shifted to become chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, which gave him power in dealing with the Reagan administration's cuts in social spending.[31] By 1983 he was the third-ranking member on Ways and Means and worked well with its powerful chairman, Dan Rostenkowski.[31] Rangel also became a protége of Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, who made him deputy whip of the House that same year.[31][41] In the United States presidential election, 1984, Rangel supported former Vice President Walter Mondale, rather than the primary campaign of Jesse Jackson.

By now, Rangel was known as one of the "Gang of Four", who along with his old mentor Percy Sutton, city and state figure Basil Paterson, and future mayor David Dinkins, were the most prominent politicians in Harlem.[42][43] They shattered racial barriers, attained offices once viewed as not possible for black Americans to achieve, and paved the way for many others around the nation.[43] As power brokers they would dominate public life in Harlem for a generation.[44] Rangel endorsed Koch for re-election in 1981, but by 1983 his relations with the mayor had broken down:[40] "I don't know anybody in politics that I dislike enough that I would recommend that he sit down with the mayor."[45] By 1984, Rangel was the most influential black politician in New York State.[46] His position on Ways and Means allowed him to bring federal monies to the state and city for transit projects, industrial development, Medicare needs, low-income housing, and shelters for the homeless.[31][40] Rangel was one of the city's most recognizable politicians,[44] and there was speculation that Rangel would run for the mayoralty in 1985, but Rangel preferred to remain in the House, with the goal of eventually becoming Ways and Means chairman and in the best possible case even House Speaker.[40] Indeed, Rangel has never shown any interest in a different political job other than being the Congressman from Harlem.[34]

In 1983, Rangel had become chairman of the Select Committee on Narcotics, which solidified his position as a leading strategist on this perennially important issue to him.[23][31][41][47] Rangel kept the committee going, in the face of the usual pressure to disband special committees.[41] He battled against proposed cutbacks in the federal anti-drug budget and advocated increased grants to states and cities for better shelters for the homeless.[23] Rangel's amendments providing increased funding for state and local law enforcement were included in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986.[23] He traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to countries in Central and South America and elsewhere to inspect first-hand the sources of drugs and the law enforcement efforts against them; Ebony magazine termed Rangel "a front-line general in the war against drugs."[48] Rangel said "We need outrage!" making reference to the slow reaction by both government and religious leaders to the epidemics of crack cocaine, heroin, PCP and other drugs that hit American streets during the 1980s.[48] He continued to believe that legalizing drugs would represent "moral and political suicide".[48] Nor did he refrain from criticizing those most affected by drugs, saying that Hispanic and black teenagers had no sense of self-preservation and that drugs dealers were so stupid that they had to eat in fast-food places because they could not read a menu.[8] The narcotics committee itself was termed possibly the most important select committee of its time; The Washington Post said Rangel was "in a powerful position to shape policy on an issue at the top of the nation's agenda."[47]

Congressman Rangel (far left) looks on as President Ronald Reagan signs the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on the South Lawn of the White House.

Rangel was part of the House–Senate joint conference that worked on the Tax Reform Act of 1986, a simplifying overhaul that constituted the most sweeping reform of the U.S. tax code in fifty years.[41] In the negotiations, Rangel successfully argued for dropping more lower-income people from the tax rolls;[41] the elimination of some six million households from federal income taxation was hailed as wise policy by both liberal and conservative groups.[49] Rangel authored the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit portion of the bill, which increased affordable housing in the U.S.[24] Rangel asserted that while beneficiaries of tax reform were not well organized, business interests opposed to it were; when the conference threatened to break down, he stressed that it was vital to reach an agreement.[50]

By late 1985, Rangel was in a six-person race to become the next House Majority Whip, the third highest ranked position in the House and for the first time up for election by the members rather than appointment by the speaker.[51] By October 1986 the race was heating up, with Rangel the underdog becoming close to Representative Tony Coelho from California through use of his personal skills and Rangel arguing that the Democratic leadership needed better regional balance.[41][52] However, in December 1986, Coelho defeated Rangel in the whip election, 167-78.[53] Rangel attributed his loss to Coelho having funded the campaigns of many House members via his role as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,[51][54] later saying, “I had never been so goddamn naive. I came to Washington as an experienced politician. How did I miss Coelho’s contribution to members?”[54]

In December 1984, Rangel was arrested for participating in an anti-apartheid rally in front of the South African Consulate in New York.[55] Rangel successfully pushed to have foreign tax credits removed for corporations doing business in that country, a 1987 act that became known as the "Rangel Amendment".[24][56][57] Several companies left South Africa as a result, and the amendment proved to be one of the more effective anti-apartheid sanctions.[57] It subsequently won praise from Nelson Mandela, and Rangel later said was one of his actions that he was most proud of.[56]

1990s

During the 1991 Gulf War, Rangel demanded that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell investigate allegations of discrimination from black members of the New York Army National Guard regarding combat training and treatment. During the Clinton administration, Rangel did battle with executive branch officials over budget items almost as much as he had during Republican administrations.[56]

Rangel's dream of becoming chairman of Ways and Means took a tumble with the Republican Revolution of 1994, which took control of the House away from the Democrats for the first time in decades. He did become the ranking Democrat of the committee in 1996.[34] Rangel was bitterly opposed to the Republican Contract With America, considering it an assault on America's poor, and strongly criticized Democrats such as President Bill Clinton and religious leaders such as John Cardinal O'Connor for perpetuating "the silence of good people" that he likened to what happened in Nazi Germany.[8]

Opening up economic opportunities for minorities and the poor was a focus of Rangel's during the 1990s.[24] His 1993 legislation created "empowerment zones", which provided tax incentives for investment and job creation in inner urban areas;[24] it would eventually account for $5 billion in federal spending across the nation's cities.[33][44] Rangel played a specific role in the creation of the 1995 Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, which led to a $500 million spending of public and private monies towards changing the face of Harlem, including gentrification effects.[34] Rangel served on the corporation's board, and the effort was credited with helping the resurgence of Harlem.[44]

In late 1998, when longtime Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York announced his retirement, Rangel was one of the first to advocate that First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton move to New York and run for the seat,[58] which she did successfully.

On March 15, 1999, the Congressman was arrested along with two other prominent African-American leaders (civil rights activist Al Sharpton and former Mayor David Dinkins), for protesting the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old immigrant to the United States from Guinea, by four white and Hispanic New York City police officers.[59] The involved officers were later acquitted by a mixed-race jury. Also in 1999, Rangel was forced out as chair of the foundation behind New York's Apollo Theater, after the New York State Attorney General charged the board with failing to collect more than $4 million owed it by a company controlled by Percy Sutton; both Rangel and Sutton denied any wrongdoing in the matter.[44]

2000s

Congressman Rangel (third from right) looks on as President George W. Bush signs a 2004 extension to the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Rangel sponsored the African Growth and Opportunity Act, passed in 2000, which for the first time provided incentives for U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa.[24] He founded the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program in 2002, a collaboration between Howard University and the U.S. State Department that has significantly increased the number of minorities working in the U.S. Foreign Service.[24][60] Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Rangel helped secure an extension to unemployment benefits, with the intent of helping those in New York industries affected by the events.[24]

Rangel was an adamant opponent of the George W. Bush administration and of the Iraq War.[34] Feeling powerless to stop the latter in the Republican-controlled Congress, he said in 2007 that he had suffered from nightmares: "It was my lowest point ever in my 37 years in Congress ... It was a sad period where you saw lives being lost [in the war] and you couldn't do anything about it."[33] During the arly 2000s Rangel advocated continued funding of anti-poverty efforts, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Child care and development block grant. Rangel also had an unproductive relationship with Ways and Means chairman Bill Thomas, leading to an incident where Thomas called the United States Capitol Police on Rangel for having his members read a bill in the library, an action Thomas apologized for.[34]

On July 13, 2004, Rangel was the first of three sitting US House . House members to be arrested on trespassing charges, for protesting alleged human rights abuses in Sudan in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington.[61] "When human lives are in jeopardy, there should be outrage," Rangel said.[61] Later in the week of July 13, 2004, Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois and Congressman Joe Hoeffel of Pennsylvania were also arrested there.

Rangel was given the Jackie Robinson Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Rangel was occasionally seen as a possible Democratic vice-presidential choice during the 2000s, but preferred to remain in the House.

Rangel has been long been opposed to the all-volunteer army and repeatedly called for the government to bring back the draft (military conscription).[34] Speaking in 2006, Rangel stated, "There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way."[62]

He has also argued that reinstating the draft is a way to make the military more representative of the American public at large. "A disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military, while most privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent."[63] In 2003, Rangel introduced HR 163; legislation that would draft both men and women between the ages of 18-26 starting as early as June 2005. It was defeated 402-3 the following year in the House of Representatives, with Rangel voting against his own bill.[64] In November 2006, he outlined his proposed bill to reinstate the draft. The bill, H.R. 393 (2007), if passed, would require a draft of all men and women in the United States between the ages of 18-42. Polls showed 70 percent of Americans opposed a reinstatement of the draft.[65] In an interview on Face the Nation, Rangel emphasized that people could fulfill their draft obligations through non-military services, such as port and airline security.[66] On November 26, 2006, appearing on the television show Fox News Sunday, Rangel stated: "If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq".[67]

In August 2006, Rangel had stated he would resign his seat if the Democrats did not take the House that November,[68] a statement that had real intent behind it, as at age 76 Rangel was feeling “the claustrophobia” of time.[34] The Democrats did take over control, and Rangel's long wait to head the Ways and Means Committee was over.[33] Now holder of one of the most powerful posts in all of Congress,[69] he said the chairmanship “couldn’t have come any later for me.”[34] Age was not otherwise a factor with Rangel, who worked a scheduled 16 hours a day and looked a good deal younger than he was.[34] Ebony magazine termed Rangel's ascent to the chairmanship "a watershed moment for African-Americans, who historically have been shut out when it comes to deciding how to divvy up the trillions of dollars in the federal government's budget."[33]

Congressman Rangel talks to a group of international educators visiting the U.S. Capitol in 2007 under the U.S. Department of State’s Global Connections and Exchange Program

In April 2007, Rangel published his autobiography, ... And I Haven’t Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress, whose title reflected his experience in Korea. The New York Times gave it a favorable reviewing, saying it was "mercifully short on laundry lists [that some other political memoirs have], but long on sass and spirit."[69]

During the China-U.S trade talks of March 2007, Rangel and Louisiana Republican Jim McCrery committed a gaffe when they accidentally insulted the Republic of China by referring to the People's Republic of China's Vice Premier, Wu Yi, as the Vice Premier of The Republic of China in a letter. The Republic of China is a name for the self-ruling government on the island of Taiwan, which the PRC considers a rogue province.[70]

Rangel has been harshly criticized by free trade opponents for his support of the Peru and Panama Free Trade Agreements negotiated by the United States Trade Representative under President Bush. On October 1, 2007, the New York City People's Referendum on Free Trade held a protest at his Harlem office, accusing him of killing people with AIDS, displacing small farmers and indigenous people, increasing cocaine production, driving forced immigration, destroying the Peruvian Amazon, and promoting factory farm expansion with this support of the Peru agreement.

Rangel was a supporter of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign,[71] before supporting Barack Obama once the latter had gained the Democratic nomination.

2008–2010 ethics investigations and tax controversies

In July 2008, Rangel asked the United States House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, commonly known as the House Ethics Committee, to determine if his use of a Congressional letterhead while seeking to arrange meetings in which recipients of the letters would be solicited for contributions for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York had violated any House rules.[72]

The New York Times reported on July 10, 2008 that Rangel rents four apartments in the Lenox Terrace complex in Harlem at below-market rates. The newspaper reported that Rangel paid $3,894 monthly for all four apartments in 2007, but that the going rate for similar apartments offered by the landlord in that building would be as high as $8,125 monthly. Three adjacent apartments on the 16th floor were combined to make up his 2,500-square-foot (230 m2) home; a fourth unit on the 10th floor is used as a campaign office, even though that violates city and state regulations that require rent-stabilized apartments to be used as a primary residence. The apartments are in a building owned by the Olnick Organization. Rangel received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from one of the company’s owners, according to The Times. Rangel told the newspaper his rent does not affect his representation of his constituents.

A Congressional ethics experts cited by The Times indicated that the difference in rent between what Rangel was paying and market rates on the second, third and fourth apartments he rented, an estimated $30,000 per year, could be construed as a gift as the savings is granted at the discretion of the landlord and is not offered to the public at large; if this should be treated as a gift, it would exceed the $100 limit established by the House of Representatives.[44] In late July, the House voted 254 to 138 to table a resolution submitted by Minority Leader John Boehner that would have censured Rangel for having "dishonored himself and brought discredit to the House" by occupying the four apartments.[73]

Rangel was also accused of failing to report income from the rental of a villa he owns in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, a three-bedroom, three-bath unit that has been rented out for as much as $1,100 per night in the busiest tourist season, from mid-December to mid-April.[74] Labor lawyer Theodore Kheel, one of the principal investors in the resort development company and a frequent campaign contributor to Rangel, had encouraged the congressman to purchase the beachside villa. Rangel had purchased the unit in 1988 for $82,750 and financed $53,737.50 of the purchase price for seven years at a rate of 10.5 percent, but was one of several early investors who had interest payments waived in 1990.[75] In September 2008, Lanny Davis, Rangel's attorney, disclosed that Rangel had failed to report $75,000 in income he had received for renting the condo on his tax returns or in congressional disclosure forms. His accountants were calculating the amounts owed and would be filing amended city, state and federal tax returns to cover the liability for back taxes.[76].

A September 14, 2008 editorial in The New York Times called for Rangel to temporarily step down from his chairmanship, stating that "Mounting embarrassment for taxpayers and Congress makes it imperative that Representative Charles Rangel step aside as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee while his ethical problems are investigated."[77]

Additional accounting discrepancies were disclosed on September 15, 2008, including omission in Rangel's financial reports of details regarding the sale of a home he once owned on Colorado Avenue in Washington, DC, discrepancies in the value listed for a property he owns in Sunny Isles, Florida (varying from $50,000 to $100,000 all the way up to $500,000), and inconsistencies in investment fund reporting. While Republican leaders have called for his removal from his role as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee which plays a pivotal role in shaping tax law, Rangel has stated that there is no justification for his removal. "I owed my colleagues and the public adherence to a higher standard of care not only as a member of Congress but even more as the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee," he said. He also stated that the mistakes were errors of omission that would not justify loss of his position.[78]

An article in the September 18, 2008 New York Post states, "Rep. Charles Rangel has been using a House of Representatives parking garage for years as free storage space for his old Mercedes-Benz - a violation of congressional rules and a potential new tax woe for the embattled lawmaker... House rules forbid use of the garage for long-term storage more than 45 days - and congressional aides told The Post that Rangel's car has been sitting there for years. A House Web site on parking regulations informs anyone with a space that, under IRS regulations, the benefit of the free parking is considered 'imputed income' and must be declared to the government. The spaces are valued by the House at $290 per month. In addition to the storage issue, the vehicle... runs afoul of other rules set forth on the House Web site because it does not have license plates and does not display a current House parking permit." [79]

In September 2008 Rangel paid back taxes of $10,800, owed from rental income on his Dominican villa.[80] Rangel acknowledged that he had failed to declare $75,000 in rental income from his beachfront villa on his tax returns; he had owed back taxes for at least three years. Rangel is the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which writes the United States tax code and as such his failure to pay taxes himself came under heavy criticism.[80]

On September 24, 2008, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would start an investigation to determine whether Rangel "violated the Code of Official Conduct, or any law, rule, regulation or other standard of conduct applicable to his conduct in the performance of his duties." CBS 2 News reported that the investigation would also explore "Rangel's use of four rent-stabilized apartments leased in the Lenox Terrace apartment complex in Harlem, the financing of the beachfront villa leased in the Dominican Republic, and his questionable storage of a late-model Mercedes Benz in the House garage."[81]

On November 23, 2008, the New York Post reported that Rangel took a "homestead" tax break on his Washington, DC house for years while simultaneously occupying multiple New York City rent-stabilized apartments, "possibly violating laws and regulations in both cases."[82]

In late November 2008, following relevations from another New York Times story, Republican members of Congress asked the House Ethics Committee to look into Rangel's defense of a tax shelter loophole that allows tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks for a company which has donated $1 million to the City College of New York school named after Rangel; under the loophole approved by Rangel's Ways and Means Committee, Nabors Industries has been allowed to open a small outlet in Bermuda and call itself a foreign corporation.[83] Rangel denied the charges.[83] In 2004, he had led the opposition to the tax breaks.[83] Nabors' CEO, Eugene Isenberg, said that the company's September 2006 donation was unrelated to what he calls Rangel's promise to him to oppose the closing of the loophole after a meeting in February 2007.[83] Isenberg gave a further $100,000 to the Rangel Center five days prior to that meeting.[83] Nabors was one of four companies which benefited from the loophole.[83][84]

The House Ethics Committee voted on December 9, 2008 to expand its investigation of Rangel to examine his role in the Isenberg matter.[85] Isenberg subsequently denied there was any quid pro quo and called the Times article about it "full of malarkey".[86] The steady stream of revelations and ethics issues led to some loss of standing for Rangel in the House, to Republicans trying to tie Rangel to all Democrats, and to some Democrats privately indicating that it would be best if Rangel stepped down from his Ways and Means post.[87] Rangel launched a counterattack on the Times, saying it had ignored facts and explanations offered by experts.[88]House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied Republican charges that she was trying to force the Ethics Committee investigation to an early conclusion, and Rangel indicated that he had no intention of relinquishing his Ways and Means chair.[88]

In December 2008, it surfaced that Rangel paid $80,000 in campaign funds to an Internet company run by his son for the creation of his PAC website. Screenshots of the website have circulated showing grave misspellings and other errors on the site, and its normal cost of creation might have been more like $100.[89] A representative for the non-profit Campaign Legal Center assessed Rangel's actions in saying, “This is probably legal but is definitely wrong.”[89]

In January 2009, Representative John R. Carter introduced the Rangel Rule Act of 2009 (H.R. 735), a tongue-in-cheek proposal that would allow all taxpayers to not pay penalties and interest on back taxes, in reference to Rangel not yet having paid them.[90]

During a 2009 visit to Hamilton, Bermuda, Congressman Rangel receives a book written by U.S. Consul General Gregory W. Slayton.

In May 2009, the National Legal and Policy Center filed an ethics complaint against Rangel and several other members of Congress for trips taken in 2007 and 2008 to Caribbean islands that were sponsored by New York non-profit organization Carib News Foundation.[91] The foundation funded by a number of large corporations with major interests before Congress and the Ways and Means Committee; this combined with the duration of the trips seemed to violate House rules, and the Ethics Committee agreed the following month to investigate the matter.[92]

In August 2009, Rangel amended his 2007 financial disclosure form to report more than $500,000 in previously unreported assets and income, which effectively doubles his reported net worth. On September 3, 2009 the Washington Post called on Rangel to resign his chairmanship. Unreported assets included a federal credit union checking account of between $250,000 and $500,000, several investment accounts, stock in Yum! Brands and PepsiCo, and property in Glassboro, New Jersey. Rangel also did not pay property taxes on two of his New Jersey properties.

On June 26, 2009, Bloomberg News reported on Chairman Rangel's role in the Diageo Rum Bailout.[93] On September 1, 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported on Chairman Rangel's lack of action on pending legislation that would prevent $2.9 billion of U.S. Tax dollars from going to British concern Diageo.[94] On September 2, 2009, the L.A. Times reported on Chairman Rangel's association with a deal to give $2.8 billion of U.S. Tax dollars to Diageo to make rum in the U.S. Virgin Islands.[95] On October 6, 2009, the Washington Times reported on the campaign contributions Chairman Rangel received related to the $2.8 billion rum deal he supports.[96] On November 12, 2009, The Hill reported on Chairman Rangel's involvement in stopping legislation (H.R. 2122) that prevents $3.9 billion in rum bailouts from being voted on in the Ways and Means Committee.[97]

As 2009 wore on, there was speculation that Rangel would be forced out of Ways and Means chair position, and another Republican resolution was put forth towards that end, but Rangel stayed in place and mostly maintained his role in House leadership and policy discussions,[54] including the Obama health care reform plan.[56] Nevertheless, his influence was diminished by the questions surrounding him, and the political difficulties surrounding the health care legislation hampered his efforts to bring about what would be one of his greatest legislative accomplishments.[56] Media pieces compared Rangel's woes with those of ethically challenged past Ways and Means chairs Wilbur Mills and Dan Rostenkowski.[56] Speaker Pelosi, a longtime friend of Rangel's, withheld any possible action against Rangel pending the House Ethics Committee report.[54] Rangel evinced impatience with that body, saying "I don't have a complaint now, except that it's taking too goddam long to review this thing and report back."[56]

On February 26, 2010, the House Ethics Committee issued its report on the matter of Rangel's Caribbean trips.[98] It determined that Rangel had violated House gift rules by accepting payment from corporations for reimbursement for travel to the 2007 and 2008 conferences.[99] It concluded that Rangel had not known of the contributions in question, but was still responsible for them and would be required to repay their cost.[99] Five other members who made the trip were cleared of having violated rules but also had to repay their trips.[99] Rangel disagreed with the committee's finding, saying "Because they were my staff members who knew, one of whom has been discharged, [the committee has decided] that I should have known. Common sense dictates that members of Congress should not be held responsible for what could be the wrongdoing, or mistakes or errors of staff."[91] The White House backed off its prior support of Rangel a bit, and within days fourteen Democratic members of Congress publicly called on Rangel to step aside as Ways and Means chair.[100][101] Other Democrats were concerned that Rangel would be a drag on Democrats' efforts to maintain their majority in the 2010 House elections, but did not want to say anything publicly out of respect and personal affection for Rangel.[100] Pelosi said she would take no action against Rangel now, saying that his staff had been more at fault and that Rangel had not broken any law in this matter, and that she awaited the results of further committee findings.[91] The ethics committee was still investigating the three more serious charges against Rangel, those dealing with obtaining the rent-stabilized apartments, the fundraising for the Rangel Center, and the failure to disclose rental income from the Dominican Republic apartment.[91]

Momentum quickly built against Rangel, with up to 30 or more Democrats planning to oppose his continued chairmanship in a full House vote being pushed by Republicans.[102][103] Representative Paul Hodes of New Hampshire said, "I think we're in a zero-tolerance atmosphere, and I think ... Washington should be held to the highest ethical standards. I have the greatest admiration for Mr. Rangel's service to this country. He's been a great public servant. This is very, very unfortunate, but I think it's necessary."[102] On March 3, 2010, Rangel that he would take a leave of absence as chair, pending the issuing of the Ethics Committee's reports.[104] Pelosi granted the request, but whether such a leave was possible was unclear, and when asked, the Speaker pro Tempore of the House said that a resignation had taken place and that Rangel was no longer chair.[1][104] Most observers said it was unlikely that Rangel would ever be able to regain the position.[103][104] Several Democrats said they would return or donate to charity campaign contributions given to them by Rangel.[103] Representative Sander M. Levin of Michigan will serve as Rangel's replacement.[105] When asked about his well-known autobiographical phrase, Rangel said, "I haven't had a bad day yet, but it's been close."[106]

By 2010, Rangel's continuing difficulties, together with the death a few months prior of Percy Sutton and the scandal around, and abandoned election campaign of, Governor David Paterson (Basil Paterson's son), marked the end of the era of Harlem's "Gang of Four".[36][43] Furthermore, Rangel faced a Democratic primary challenger for his seat, Vincent Morgan, whose grassroots campaign bore many resemblances to Rangel's own against the scandal-plagued Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. back in 1970.[107]

Political positions

Rangel is generally thought of as an ideologically committed liberal, but also someone who can be a pragmatic deal-maker. In particular, he is known for support of free trade agreements.[32]

Various advocacy groups have given Congressman Rangel scores or grades as to how well his votes align with the positions of each group.[108] As of 2003 Rangel had an average lifetime 91 percent "Liberal Quotient" from Americans for Democratic Action, while the American Conservative Union assessed to Rangel a lifetime rating of less than 4 percent through 2008.[109]

Rangel typically has 100 ratings from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood and 0 ratings or close to that from the National Right to Life Committee.[110] The National Taxpayers Union has typically given Rangel very low ratings or an 'F' grade, while Taxpayers for Common Sense has given Rangel ratings in the middling 40–50 range.[110] Rangel has typically gotten very high ratings, in the 90s or 100, from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.[110] His grades from the Arab American Institute have been in the 50s–60s range.[110] The League of Conservation Voters has usually given Rangel around a 90 rating.[110] Project Vote Smart provides the ratings of many, many lesser known interest groups with respect to Rangel.[110]

Political image

Congressman Rangel with his gavel in 2009, as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel is known as an energetic, genial, and sociable politician, one who is able to gain friendship and influence by means of charm, humor, and candor.[2][31][41] He is called "Charlie" by everyone in Congress, from the highest-ranking members to the custodial employees.[41] Of his political skills, 1980s Ways and Means chair Dan Rostenkowski said, "Charlie has the gifted knack of getting you to change your position, and you actually enjoy doing it. Compromising isn't so unusual in Congress. Enjoying it is."[41] The New York congressman's ability to use humor to catch others off guard before making a political point has been called "Rangeling" by lobbyists and others on Capitol Hill.[41] Many of his closest friends and allies in Congress have not been other African Americans, but white representatives from working class or rural districts; O'Neill aide Chris Matthews said these members were "tied emotionally and culturally to the people they represent."[41]

Rangel's meticulous appearance has always made an impression.[56] Longtime mentor Percy Sutton recalled, “In the beginning I called him Pretty Boy Rangel, to denigrate him, because he was one of those handsome types, hair pushed down and that mustache. But he had a way about him, with that great humor, an ability to influence people.”[34] Later, The New York Times described him thusly: "After three decades in public life, the portly, gravel-voiced Mr. Rangel, who is very much the Old World-style gentleman yet sprinkles his sentences with mild profanity, still takes politics personally."[8] In contrast, Rangel and his office have long been disorganized, with criticism even from supporters for taking on more things than he can keep track of.[41] The congressman's life has been dominated by politics, with no hobbies and few friendships outside of it.[8]

Rangel is known for his blunt speaking and candor, which are rarely meant to be taken personally.[31] This tendency has grown as he has gotten older and less bothered by what others thinks of him.[56] When asked how he would like to be remembered, he said, "Well, as Rhett Butler once said in Gone With the Wind, if I'm gone, quite frankly, I don't give a damn."[56] In any case, he has fairly often made controversial remarks.

On September 22, 2005, Rangel compared President George W. Bush to Bull Connor, the former Public Safety Commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, stating: "George Bush is our Bull Connor." In response, Vice President Dick Cheney, during an interview on the Rush Limbaugh radio program on October 3, 2005, stated: "I'm frankly surprised at his comments. It almost struck me — they were so out of line, it almost struck me that there was some — Charlie was having some problem. Charlie is losing it, I guess." Rangel responded by saying, "The fact that he would make a crack at my age, he ought to be ashamed of himself...He should look so good at 75."[111]

Along with John Conyers, in April 2006 Rangel brought an action against George W. Bush and others alleging violations of the federal constitution in the passing of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.[112] The case (Conyers v. Bush) was ultimately dismissed.[113]

In response to Hugo Chávez addressing the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2006 and implying that Bush was the devil, Rangel said, "I want President Chávez to please understand that even though many people in the United States are critical of our president that we resent the fact that he would come to the United States and criticize President Bush... you don't come into my country, you don't come into my congressional district and you don't condemn my president."[114]

Rangel again expressed his displeasure with Vice President Cheney on October 30, 2006, by opining that Cheney is "a real son of a bitch" who "enjoys a confrontation." He also suggested that Cheney requires professional treatment for mental defects.[115]

On November 9, 2006, Rangel, in announcing some of his plans as new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he planned to push more funds into his home state of New York. He added to this, "Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?" Mississippi Rep. Chip Pickering demanded an apology and Rangel issued a statement declaring: "I certainly don't mean to offend anyone. I just love New York so much that I can't understand why everyone wouldn't want to live here."[116]

In October 2007, Rangel criticized Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani's personal life during an interview by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Rangel stated "Two people, six spouses. It's a little complicated if you're not religious, especially if you're running against a Mormon." Rangel's comment was perceived by some[citation needed] as an attack on the Mormon religion, hinting that they still practice polygamy (which has not been a mainstream Mormon practice for over 100 years), and brought about criticism and demands for an apology. Rangel apologized for his statement. According to a congressional press release, he said "I was recently quoted being very critical of Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s personal life. I wish I could say those comments were taken out of context, but I cannot. I apologize to him and his family.”[117]

In September 2008, while being interviewed by Marcia Kramer on WCBS-TV, Rangel said of Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, "You got to be kind to the disabled." When Kramer pressed him on whether he really thought she was disabled, Rangel replied, "There's no question about it politically. It's a nightmare to think that a person's foreign policy is based on their ability to look at Russia from where they live". Republican Congressman Pete King of Long Island demanded that Rangel apologize, especially given that Palin's five month old son, Trig, suffered from down syndrome, saying, "Charlie owes a sincere apology to Sarah Palin and the entire disabled community. All of us know parents who have disabled children or relatives, so from any perspective this was wrong, wrong, wrong." Carr Massi, the president of Disabled in Action also criticized Rangel saying, "I am not one of her fans, but I don't like the idea he referred to the woman as disabled. I mean he is talking about her politics - that word has no place there." Rangel suggested later in an interview with the Daily News that his comments were aimed at her thin foreign policy background and dismissed suggestions that he was talking about her newborn son as ridiculous.[118]

On March 9, 2009, when asked on camera by Hot Air TV producer Jason Mattera about his continuing tax issues, Rangel replied, "Why don't you mind your own goddamn business."[119]

On May 30, 2009, when asked by the Daily News what President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama should do during a visit to New York, Rangel replied, "Make certain he doesn't run around in East Harlem unidentified." Rangel said this following the accidental shooting of African-American NYPD officer Omar Edwards by a fellow caucasian officer Andrew Dunton, an incident of mistaken identity.[120] The comment was criticized by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg saying, "I have a lot of respect for Charlie Rangel, but in this case, he's just plain wrong. This was a tragedy. Our police department is diverse, and they train; sometimes things happen and they're inexplicable. There's no reason to suspect this had any racial overtones."[121] Rangel apologized for the comment in a statement on June 1 saying, "It was entirely inappropriate to bring the President and his wife into this discussion during their visit to New York and I hope my off-the-cuff comment did not cause embarrassment to anyone."[122]

On September 1, 2009, Rangel injected race into the American health care reform debate at a forum in Washington Heights, accusing opponents of the president's reform proposal of racism saying, "Some Americans have not gotten over the fact that Obama is president of the United States. They go to sleep wondering, 'How did this happen?'" He went on to say that when critics object to Obama "trying to interfere" with their lives by pushing for health care reform, "then you know there's just a misunderstanding, a bias, a prejudice, an emotional feeling. We're going to have to move forward notwithstanding that." He also compared the battle over health care expansion for the uninsured to the fight for civil rights saying, "Why do we have to wait for the right to vote? Why can't we get what God has given us? That is the right to live as human beings and not negotiate with white southerners and not count the votes. Just do the right thing."[123]

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  114. ^ James, Ian (2006-09-22). "Bush critics condemn Chavez reference to Bush as 'The devil'". AP. 
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  117. ^ RANGEL APOLOGIZES FOR GIULIANI COMMENTS, Charles Rangel press release, issued October 22, 2007. Accessed September 10, 2008.
  118. ^ Charlie Rangel on hot seat for labeling Sarah Palin 'disabled'
  119. ^ Rep. Charlie Rangel swears at Jason Mattera over scandal questions
  120. ^ Rep. Charles Rangel, in wake of cop shooting, suggests even President Obama not safe in Harlem
  121. ^ NYC mayor on Rangel's Obama remarks: 'Plain wrong'
  122. ^ Charlie Rangel says he's sorry for involving the Obamas in controversial racism joke
  123. ^ Rangel: 'Prejudice' Toward Obama Halting Health Care Reform

External links

New York Assembly
Preceded by
S. William Green
New York State Assembly, 72nd District
1967–1970
Succeeded by
George W. Miller
Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Thomas
California
Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee
2007–2010
Succeeded by
Sander M. Levin (acting)
Michigan
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 18th congressional district

1971–1973
Succeeded by
Edward I. Koch
Preceded by
Bella Abzug
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 19th congressional district

1973–1983
Succeeded by
Mario Biaggi
Preceded by
Charles E. Schumer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 16th congressional district

1983–1993
Succeeded by
Jose Serrano
Preceded by
S. William Green
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 15th congressional district

1993–
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Dave Obey
United States Representatives by seniority
4th
Succeeded by
Bill Young

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Charles Bernard Rangel (born June 11, 1930) is an American politician. He has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1971, representing New York's 15th congressional district. In January 2007 he will become Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Sourced

  • I see a whole lot. I think, first of all, I think that the world knows that terrorism is not just the United States' problem. And I think that Bush has alienated every friend that we've made over the last 200 years with his arrogance and indifference. And so it makes a lot of sense to me that Kerry, all he has to do is to try to convince people that we've got to deal with the problems in the Middle East. And we just can't have them all down to Crawford Ranch and say everything is going great... It was Rumsfeld who said that we're creating more terrorists than we're killing. And we need a president to restore the honesty, the integrity that the United States of America has abroad.
  • Well, I think he shatters the myth of white supremacy once and for all.
    • On George W. Bush, in an interview on New York Public Television (March 28, 2005)

External links

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