About Charles Bernard Rangel

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Charles Bernard Rangel, an American politician, was born on June 11, 1930, in New York City. His mother, Blanche Mary Wharton, was 16 years old when she met his father, Ralph Rangel, an immigrant from Puerto Rico who worked as a handyman for the Wharton family. They eloped, and Ralph, the politicians' eldest brother, was born three years later. Seven years later, Charles Rangel was born, as was her sister Frances. They had troubles as children, so her mother transferred him and her sister to live with relatives, where he received an education. After joining the military service in 1948, Rangel continued to show his heroic side especially in the Korean War whereby he won medals for his bravery. On returning home, he completed his degree studies in 1957 thus becoming a lawyer and an activist. In 1966, he was elected as the Central Harlem representative in the New York State Assembly, and his term continued until in 2008, whereby he was allegedly accused of violating various ethical laws. In July 2010, he was charged with 13 violations by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. In November 2010, he was found guilty of 11 violations and censured.

Keywords: Charles Bernard Rangel, ethics, House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct

Charles Bernard Rangel

The veteran politician is widely known among the residents of Harlem as one of their greatest activist who helped the state in dealing with racism issues and his participation in developing infrastructures. He has managed to serve them for over 40 years since 1966 ("Charles Rangel," 2017). In 2008, he was accused of several ethnic violations. In July 2010, he was charged with 13 violations by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct regarding those accusations. Later on, in November 2010, he was found guilty of 11 violations and censured.

Charges and explanation of issues regarding ethics that Charles violated

The U.S.A House Ethics Committee presented thirteen charges against the New York Democratic veteran Charles Rangel (Jackson, 2010). Typically, the violations are usually scrutinized by the Investigative Subcommittee who ensure that before they put a claim forward, they consider if he or she has violated the rule, code of conduct, regulation, law, or other conducts that apply to more so the performance of their official duties. The 13 charges include:

Violation of conduct of the gift ban and solicitation

It states that a member of the House should not solicit and receive any gifts or other resources, which could influence their decision as the House representative (Jackson, 2010). Nevertheless, the Respondent participated in a series of asking for funds and donations on behalf of his Charles B. Rangel Center at the City College of New York for Public Policy between 2005 and 2008. The various entities that were also solicited were in quest of official action from the House Ethic Committee. Moreover, Rangel's conduct and behavior went against the parameters that are recognized by the Standards Committee for solicitations concerning charitable organizations.

Violation of Conduct regarding Code of Ethics for United States Government Service

The clause 5 states that a member is not allowed receiving or offering special favors, which may make it, appear it could influence the member in his or her official capacity. However, Rangel made several requests to people and entities for support for his Rangel Center. Those whom he requested could be profoundly affected by many oversight activities of his capacity as a member of Congress. Contributions also sent to the Rangel Center benefited the respondent.

Violation of the conduct of the House gift rule

It states that a member is not allowed to receive a house gift by an individual of persons who have the interest in government or committee business since this could influence the member's decision making. Nonetheless, the Respondent solicited contributions meant for the Rangel Center and used those contributions and gifts for his benefit. He also had a personal agenda in the Rangel Center. For example, the center will offer him with an office and give him an opportunity to perpetuate his legacy like archiving and storing his papers.

Violation of the conduct of franking commission regulations and postal service laws

A member is not supposed to utilize the Frank for any organization and only used when it is for official congressional duties. However, Rangel utilized his frank for solicitation of funds and the benefit of his charitable organization.

Violation of conduct of any franking statute

It states that members should not use their frank on duties that are not government related. However, Rangel used his frank on resources, which were not official thus breaking the law (Jackson, 2010).

Violation of conduct of House Office Building Commission's Regulations

It states that a member is not permitted to use congressional staff in soliciting contribution on House of Representatives property. Contrary to the regulation, Rangel together with his staff made drafts of solicitation letters and carried out other solicitations on assets of the United States at work

Violation of conduct of the Member's Congressional Handbook and purpose law

Members' allowances consist of staff salaries/official mail costs. Misusing federal funds is against the law. The Handbook only allows members to use allowances for official purposes. However, the respondent used House employees and official House resources like the use staff time, House email accounts, and use of telephones for work related to the Rangel Center. He later paid those expenses using the Member's Representational Allowance.

Violation of conduct of the Letterhead Rules

The rules do not permit anyone not under the control of the House to utilize words like "Official Business" or "Congress of the U.S" or "House of Representatives." Nevertheless, the respondent letters from Rangel Center beard on the letterhead words "House of Representative" or "Congress of the U.S."

Violation of conduct of the House Rule 16 and Ethics in Government Act (EIGA)

Ethics in Government Act requires its members to file their full and absolute financial statements on rent, on property, income, and gifts. If a statement in the Act is to be amended, then it has to be in good faith and done on at the end of the year with a valid explanation. On the other hand, the Respondent failed to provide a report of many resources, which he was supposed to report from 1998 through 2008. Rangel also submitted incomplete statements of Financial Disclosure to EIGA thus violating the acts conduct. In addition to that, the respondent failed to ascertain that the amendments to his declarations of Financial Disclosure for the years 1998 through 2008 were indeed in good faith. His amendments from 1998 through 2007 were also not fined toward the end of the year thus being not timely. The amendments he presented from 1998 through 2007 were fined just after the committee had come up with a subcommittee on his conduct as well as his reporting on his Statements of Financial Disclosure regarding the Punta Cana Villa.

Violation of conduct of the code of ethic for Government service

It states that an official in government is not allowed to offer or receive special favors, which could influence his or her decisions as a representative. Even so, the Respondent received a residential apartment at Lenox Terrace, which is a rent stabilized and used it as office space for Congress, National Leadership PAC, AND Rangel Center. However, the rent stabilized apartment conditions were that it was supposed to be used only for living purposes. Thus, his acceptance of the apartment as a gift for nonresidential purposes in breach of the stipulations of the lease was actually to benefit him. The Respondent also received a favor from Olnick under the condition, which might be as a result of construed by persons who could influence his governmental performance of his duties.

Violation of conduct of the code of Ethics for Government Service

The clause 2 states that individuals in government must defend the laws and Constitution of the United States. Nonetheless, the Respondent failed to report his rental income that was connected to the Punta Cana on his yearly Federal income tax returns thereby violating the Internal Revenue Code. He also violated Franking regulations, Member's Congressional Handbook, House Office Building, Internal Revenue Act, Ethics in Government, and other violations.

Violation of Conduct of the Code of Conduct- Spirits and Letters of House Rules

House rules require a member to always adhere to the letter and the spirit of the rules and regulations regarding the House. However, the Respondents violated this rule when he violated the Government Service Code of Ethics.

Violation of conduct of the code of conduct-The Conducts Reflect Discredibility on the House

It states that a member should carry him or herself at all times in a way, which shall reflect creditably on the House (Associated Press, 2010). However, the subcommittee found him guilty of violating this rule by:

Mishandling of Congressional letterhead by seeking funds on behalf of the Rangel Center

Failing to reveal his full financial statements and tax returns from 1998 to 2008

The respondent manner of submitting his Financial Disclosure statements was incomplete and imprecise thus violating the government ethics.

Rangel failed to report his rental income that comes from his villa in the Dominican Republic from 1998 to 2008 on his Federal income tax returns.

Accepting the apartment in Lenox Terrace, which was rent, stabilized and using it for campaign acts while the lease clearly pointed out that it should be only used for living purposes.

Improper solicitations of liable sponsors of Rangel Center

Violation of Internal Revenue Code

Breaking the law when he violated the Government Service Code of Ethics

Rangel's actions reflected poorly on the House thus bring shame to the House.

Evidence of the charges: The veteran politician admitted in front of his colleagues that he made careless mistakes while filing his financial disclosure forms, which was the primary reason for most of the charges mentioned above against him for not disclosing more than $600,000 in his assets and income. He also acknowledged that he should have avoided the use of congressional stationery to raise funds for the New York City College (Kane, 2010). However, he insisted that those were unintentional errors and the reason why he will not succumb to the pressure by the then President Obama and other politicians.

The implications and outcomes of the situation: After admitting to some of his charges, Speaker Nancy Pelosi summoned him to the floor of the House well and read a censure resolution, which was majorly passed by a 333 to 79 vote (Richardson, 2010). The censure came despite Representative Rangel urging the House to reprimand him instead of a censure. The resolution was deduced after he was found guilty of 11 crimes while the two remaining being merged into one by the House dismissed after being summoned to the well of the House (Kocieniewski, 2010).


The representative became the 23rd Congressman in American to be censured in November 2010 after the last congressman to receive the same punishment was in 1983. The speaker told her to pay restitution and after that present evidence of payment of the taxes that he did not pay during the nine-year period that was connected to the 11 ethic violations. Rangel was also commanded to resign from the position he held as the Ways and Means Committee. Despite the punishment, he held his office as the Democratic Harlem representative until 2016 when he retired.


Charles Rangel. (2017). Biography. Retrieved 26 February 2017, from http://www.biography.com/people/charles-rangel-394538#related-video-gallery

Richardson, C. (2010). Charles Rangel censured on House floor - what does censure mean?. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 26 February 2017, from http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/1202/Charles-Rangel-censured-on-House-floor-what-does-censure-mean

Kocieniewski, D. (2010). Rangel Censured Over Violations of Ethics Rules. Nytimes.com. Retrieved 26 February 2017, from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/03/nyregion/03rangel.html

Kane, P. (2010). Despite charges, Rep. Charles B. Rangel says he won't resign. www.TheWashingtonpostcompany.com. Retrieved 26 February 2017, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/10/AR2010081003198.html

Associated Press (2010). Ethics Panel Outlines 13 Charges Against Rangel. www.NbcNews.com. Retrieved 26 February 2017, from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/38466499/ns/politics-capitol_hill/t/ethics-panel-outlines-charges-against-rangel/#.WLJ2JVXyu1s

Jackson, J. (2010). Charlie Rangel: List of Charges. www.CBSNews.com. Retrieved 26 February 2017 from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/charlie-rangel-list-of-charges/

May 02, 2023


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