The Man Who Knew Too Little
By Carter L. Clews
One day, in the not -too-distant future, if there is any justice whatsoever, Charles Rangel (D-NY) will be outfitted in an orange jump suit and perp-walked into Leavenworth. Then, his stamp-size photo will become standard issue in dictionaries defining the term "con artist." All with ample reason.
The latest Rangel con, revealed in a story that just broke this past week, involves his allegedly "forgetting" to report a half million dollars in assets and income that somehow simply slipped his mind (which happens to us all, of course). He remembered the missing $500,000 - which doubled his net worth - when he finally amended his 2007 financial disclosure form. That's right - 2007 - which makes one wonder when we can expect the actual facts about 2008.
Here's how the Wall Street Journal reported Charlie the Con's most recent artless dodge:
"Earlier this month the Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee 'amended' his 2007 financial disclosure form-to the tune of more than a half-million dollars in previously unreported assets and income. That number may be as high as $780,000, because Congress's ethics rules only require the Members to report their finances within broad ranges. This voyage of personal financial discovery brings Mr. Rangel's net worth for 2007 to somewhere between $1.028 million and $2.495 million."
This is the same Charles Rangel, inquisitive minds may remember, who is already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for "forgetting" to declare $75,000 in rental income on a villa in the Dominican Republic -- or pay $10,000 in taxes on it. (Yes, that's right, the chairman of the House Committee that determines tax law "forgot" to pay his taxes.) He claims there was a language barrier: apparently, he thought his accountant said "Yes" rather than "No" when Charlie asked whether he could get away with his latest scam.
Charlie is also under investigation for "forgetting" that it was against rent stabilization laws for him to get a special sweetheart deal on four rent-controlled apartments at New York City's tony Lenox Terrace. And for "forgetting" that it was against House rules for him to solicit donations on his official letterhead for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York - which, by the way, was built with $1.9 million Charlie modestly earmarked for his own edification.
Now, under normal circumstances, one would have to wonder when House Speaker Pelosi (she of anti-Culture of Corruption fame) will finally wrangle Rangel out of his powerful chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee and spare the nation further embarrassment.
But, these aren't normal times - not when the entire asylum is being run by the inmates. So we can forget about Charlie the Con being dethroned, or even admonished, for making a small fortune out of ostensibly not knowing right from wrong. And that's especially so when the Leader who would need to remind him is the same starry-eyed Nancy Pelosi who cooed of Charlie, "He loves this Congress. He wants to do nothing but bring credit to it. And he'll be the first one to know what his course of action should be."
All of which means, the American people's only hope for justice may well lie with Leavenworth. And that only seems fitting. After all, there, Charlie the Con can join the pantheon of such other world class criminal luminaries as Al Capone nemesis Bugsy Moran, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, and former Communist USA Party leader Gus Hall, who shared many of Mr. Rangel's financial affinities.
There, Charlie can also serve as the perfect counterbalance to one Richard Case Negell, the infamous "Man Who Knew Too Much." Rangel, of course, has made us all his "marks" by playing to perfection the "Man Who Knew Too Little." And, if there is any justice whatsoever, we'll one day see this orange-clad con artist perp walking into the hoosegow where he can bone up on the Rule of Law he has so conveniently - and profitably -- forgotten.
Stamp this one "Case Closed."
(Carter Clews is the Executive Editor of ALG News.)
Return to Current Edition