Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel has played a large role in tax policy — and advocated increasing taxes to pay for the massive spending of this Congress. He is now accused of underreporting his own income by a shocking degree. Republicans have complained that the media and blogs have been relatively muted in covering the story.
Critics seem to have a case that the response to the controversy has been mild. Sen. Ted Stevens was criminally charged for a failure to disclose a far less serious amount of income and bloggers relished the charges.
In this case, Rangel “amended” his 2007 financial disclosure form by more than a half of millions dollars — a figure that may be as high as $780,000 given the broad ranges allowed by Congress in reporting. He previously reported his income at between $516,015 and $1.316 million. when it was really between $1.028 million and $2.495 million.
Rangel is already under investigation by the ethics committee, but his voluntary amendment could be used as defense against any serious punishment.
Previously, Rangel said that he would amend his reporting but never indicated that the error was this massive, here. For example, in 2004 he listed $4,000-$10,000 in outside income, but he now estimated his outside income as between $118,000 and $1.04 million.
There remains the potential for criminal charges in the case — though the voluntary disclosure will help his position.
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