As we mentioned previously, it seems like it’s time to add another name to the goon squad of ethically-compromised Dan Seals supporters: Representative Charles Rangel of New York.
Last week the New York Times reported that Rangel is living in four apartments and is paying less than half the market rate for them. He manages this feat by abusing a rent-control program intended to help needy families, and his landlord lets him get away with it because Rangel helps him get permits for new apartment buildings. All in all Rangel saves about $30,000 a year and thus is violating the Congressional gift ban which he voted for!
This week it’s the Washington Post's turn. The Post reports that Rangel, who chairs the House Ways and Means committee, is pressuring businesses with legislation before his committee to donate to the “Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service” or, as the House Republicans have dubbed it, the “Charles B. Rangel Monument to Me.” Rangel has already secured $2.5 million in earmarks for the foundation and is looking to raise about $28 million more from private donors.
“He has crossed the line,” says F. Christopher Arterton, the Dean of George Washington Universities Graduate School of Political Management. “[He] is a prominent public servant and may deserve a center at City College. . . . But I think one has to be careful about how one raises the money for that. The danger is that it begins to blur the lines between whether a quid pro quo is implied by this or not.”
So how does all this connect to the Pup? Well, Rangel has given quite a bit to Dan’s campaign and Roll Call reports that he’s poised to give a lot more. Roll Call reported earlier that Rangel has set up a joint fundraising entity with 10 highly-touted Democrats who are challenging Republican House incumbents or are running for open seats, including… you guessed it… the 9th District’s own Dan Seals.
A fundraiser is planned for August 6th -- under the auspices of Rangel’s annual birthday fundraiser at New York’s swank Tavern on the Green restaurant – but this year, it will benefit the new campaign committee, the Rangel Victory Fund. Ironically, Aug. 6th is full two months after Rangel’s 78th birthday.
So far, Dan's political patron Rangel has given his campaign $7,000 and that’s not taking into account whatever Dan’s cut is from the fundraiser.
Here’s where you can really see the contrast between Mark Kirk and the Pup. Mark Kirk works to keep politicians from using public funds to erect monuments to themselves. He stopped Ted Stevens’ $200 million + “bridge to nowhere” even though Stevens is a fellow Republican. And he spoke against the Rangel earmarks, saying:
The gentleman from New York is a distinguished combat veteran, with 38 years service in this House. But we have seen people leave this House to great glory, and to even be elected President or ambassador, captains of industry. And other of our colleagues have gone straight from this Chamber to jail. And the decision is best made by history. The collective wisdom of our rules is that, in general, we don't name things after ourselves when we are great and powerful, [when] no independent judgment could be leveled…. I worry about setting the precedent of everyone else naming things after themselves.
Who wants to bet that if Rangel was our Congressman, instead of the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, we'd have the Charles Rangel Health Care Center (if we had one at all).
As typical for Seals, to date, Seals hasn't said anything to distance himself from Rangel. After all, Rangel is a fellow Democrat and Dan needs (and will take) all the money he can get.
And there is the fundamental difference, folks: Kirk holds both parties up to an equally high standard; Seals only manages outrage for Republican abuses. Kirk fights politicians who misuse their office and public funds; Seals asks them for fundraising help.
Any honorable politician would return any donations and refuse to benefit from Rangel's fundraiser. But, Dan may not have that luxury, considering the tight race with Kirk and the huge advantage in available funds that Kirk currently enjoys. Although, if history is a guide, Seals has been known to bow to pressure once the spotlight is shown on his questionable fundraising activities, such as taking an envelope from former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski (which turned out to be a campaign contribution from Rostenkowski’s wife) at the end of one of Dan’s night classes at NU.
It's amazing how Dan just keeps getting caught buddying up to unsavory people. Convicted felons like Bob Creamer and Dan Rostenkowski, ethically-compromised politicians like Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, Chicago ward bosses and now Charlie Rangel; the list goes on and on.
Tenth District voters believe in good government, and they are independent thinkers. If Dan thinks they're going to put up with his Chicago-style shenanigans just because he thinks he looks like Barack Obama, he’s dreaming.