During his post censure press conference Charles Rangel said “at long last, this 2-year nightmare is over.” Not so fast Mr. Rangel. The New York Post has learned that the Federal Election Commission has begun an investigation into his illegal use of his National Leadership PAC funds for the payment of legal expenses during his recent ethics trial.
The FEC is acting on a complaint by the National Legal and Policy Center files after The Post reported last month that Rangel paid nearly $400,000 from his PAC.
Lawmakers are only allowed to use money in their individual campaign funds for legal fees, or they can set up legal defense funds for such costs.
Rangel appeared before the House Ethics Committee last month saying he could no longer afford legal council after already burning through $2 million.
The center expects to file a second complaint this week contending that Rangel’s PAC money included at least $195,000 in donations from lobbyists with businesses before the House Ways & Means Committee, of which he is a member.
Yesterday, the Harlem pol said he’s ready to put the incident behind him.
“In all fairness, I was not found guilty of corruption, I did not go to beds with kids, I did not hurt the House speaker, I did not start a revolution against the United States of America, I did not steal any money, I did not take any bribes, and that is abundantly clear,” he said.
Maybe we shouldn’t blame Mr. Rangel for his many shortcomings. After all, the people in his district keep sending him back to congress to ensure that he still has the means to continue his ways - that is the real crime.
December 5, 2010