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Monday, August 9, 2010

New Ethics Complaint Filed Against Charlie Rangel

As we reported yesterday, the latest example of Charlie Rangel's hubris involves a grant of a $2.6 million taxpayer dollars given to a charity, Alianza Dominicana by a Rangel sponsored group, despite serious concerns about Alianza Dominicana’s finances. 

According to the NY Post the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, a group sponsored by Congressman Rangel to distribute tax money to local community groups, approved the grant to Alianza Dominicana,  even after one of the zone’s own finance executives refused to sign off on the cash and questioned the nonprofit’s checkered balance sheet. It may have to do with the fact that Alianza's founder and CEO Moises Perez has donated thousands of dollars into Rangel’s campaigns over the years.

Today, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) has announced it will file a new complaint with the House ethics committee that questions Rangel's rold that $2.6 million grant to Alianza Dominicana, a social-services agency.
NLPC is questioning whether the grant should have been provided, given what it says are outstanding liens against Alianza Dominicana.

“There are a number of real questions about whether the empowerment zone, under its own rules, could give money to this group,” said NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm. “One of its rules says grants can’t go to groups that have outstanding liens.”

Alianza, according to a report Monday in the New York Post, owed $526,000 in back wages to 200 workers last month. The Post reported it has since paid $268,000 of what it owes. Among other financial woes, the Post reported that a landlord threatened to evict the group from its old offices for failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent.

The nonprofit, which runs various programs including day care and domestic-violence prevention, plans to use the money for a new $19 million headquarters in New York City. It also plans to rent space to commercial tenants and house a cultural center there.
Rangel spokesman Elbert Garcia has defended Rangel’s support for Alianza, saying the group has done a lot of good work for the community.
All this is on top of the 13 violations of House ethics rules that Rangel has already been charged with.  Rangel, on the other hand,  has accused the committee of violating his due process rights, and has insisted he is innocent of all charges.

Whether his offenses actually broke house rules or not,  this latest Rangel incident as well as the 13 other charges, certainly show that Rangel has a disregard for the following the same rules the rest of us do, and is not fit to serve in Congress.

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