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>What’s The Difference Between The Ted Stevens and Charlie Rangle Scandals?

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Ted Stevens (R-AK) is a seventh-term senator, representing Alaska. Sen. Stevens is the ranking member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and sits on several other Appropriations subcommittees.

Sen. Stevens’ ethics issues stem from his ties to the VECO Corporation; earmarks he has inserted for companies that paid his son, Ben Stevens;

(someone should investigate Barak Obama’s earmarks including one million dollars he earmarked for his wife’s employer)

Stevens’ relationship with his brother-in-law, lobbyist William Bittner; his relationship with Alaskan real estate developers Jonathan Rubini and Leonard Hyde; and the activities of his non-profit, The Ted Stevens Foundation. Sen. Stevens was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 29, 2008 on seven counts of making false statements. Sen. Stevens was included in CREW’s 2007 congressional corruption report.

Federal Indictment

On July 29, 2008, Sen. Stevens was indicted by the Department of Justice for making false statements on his financial disclosure forms. The indictment alleges that beginning in May 1999 through August 2007, Sen. Stevens engaged in a scheme to conceal “his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value” from VECO and its chairman, Bill Allen, by failing to report them on his financial disclosure forms. The things of value included home improvements to the Girdwood residence, automobiles, household goods, and tools, totaling over $250,000. Sen. Stevens pleaded not guilty to all seven counts on July 31, 2008.

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September 19, 2008

Washington–Republicans on Friday brought a resolution against Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) to the floor of the House which is a statement against this man but Democrats control the House so this will be voted down.

The resolution called on the ethics committee to establish an investigative subcommittee in the Rangel matter within 10 days, and that Rangel should be removed as Ways and Means chairman while the investigation goes forward. The Democratic leader stood up and moved to “table,” or kill the resolution. The House is now voting on that tabling resolution. It is likely to pass, and Rangel will not have to step down from Ways and Means.

According to the indictment, Republicans see an opportunity to cite Mr. Rangel as evidence that Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats who made Republican corruption a top issue in the 2006 elections have now ceded the high ground.

“Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat-led Congress officially abandoned their promise to run the most ethical Congress in history and instead embraced the politics of corruption with open arms,” said Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Any Democrats running for office who refuse to give up Charlie Rangel’s tainted cash have officially forfeited the mantle of change they claim to be running on.”

In perhaps any other year, Mr. Rangel’s ethical problems might be an extremely potent political weapon for Republicans. The powerful chairman of the House tax-writing committee, has admitted that he failed to properly report rental income from a vacation home in the Dominican Republic and owes back taxes as a result. He also faces accusations that he improperly occupied four rent-stabilized apartments in New York and used one as a campaign office.

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So who’s right and who’s wrong? The view of AnstBlogger is that both Stevens and Rangle should resign from the Senate and House, respectively. The parties believe otherwise.

This year the Republicans are in an unusual predicament, with several of their own lawmakers facing more serious legal problems than Mr. Rangel.

One case in point is that of Senator Stevens, though Alaska Republicans made an audacious play this week in calling on his Democratic opponent, Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage, to return $10,000 in contributions from Mr. Rangel, who, unlike the senator, is under no criminal charges.

After Mr. Stevens was indicted in July, Republican candidates across the country returned or gave to charity thousands of dollars they had received from him. While Mr. Begich announced on Tuesday that he would similarly donate the money he had received from Mr. Rangel, he was more than happy to accuse Alaska Republicans of a double standard in making no such demand of Republican candidates when Mr. Stevens was charged.

“How ironic,” his campaign wrote in a press release. “Senator Stevens goes to trial next week on seven federal felony counts.”

A spokesman for the Alaska Republican Party, McHugh Pierre, drew a contrast between the two cases. “Rangel’s attorney has openly said that he didn’t pay taxes,” Mr. Pierre said. “Stevens says he is innocent. That’s the difference.”

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AngstBlogger has a hard time differentiating between the Charlie Rangle tax problem from the Wesley Snipes embroglio. Both men admitted that they didn’t pay taxes. Rangle, though, says his was due to an oversight, if you can believe that statement. Who, claiming to have the experience and expertise to represent the 15th Congressional District of New York and to be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (which oversees all of the spending of the U.S. government), would be so naive and dumb as to just forget to pay their own taxes? That person should resign based on that statement alone or the taxpayers should remove him. Oh, but I “forgot”, these taxpayers live in Harlem and are highly indebted to people like Rangle and Barney Frank who helped push through the loose bank loan requirements for buying houses that got the U.S. into this huge financial mess we are now facing.

Next time someone says lower loan requirements, put up a stiff upper lip and say no! Lower loan requirements for minorities always comes back to haunt the taxpaying, mortgage honoring public. What they are really asking for is for “normal” Americans to buy that house for the “poor.” Yeah, sure we will!

Wesley Snipes’ case is on appeal but he faces a three-year prison term for non-payment of taxes. He may be in prison as we write. Mr. Snipes was a member of American Rights Litigators, an organization founded by Eddie Ray Kahn. Prosecutors have described that organization and its successor company, Guiding Light of God Ministries, as illegal tax-evasion schemes. Someone should ask Charlie Rangle if he’s a member of this group. The jury also convicted the two co-defendants, Kahn and Douglas Rosile, on felony charges. Mr. Rosile, a certified public accountant, prepared some tax returns, including Mr. Snipes’s, for the organization and he got ten years.

Mr. Snipes, who has built a worldwide following acting in films like the “Blade” vampire trilogy, must pay up to $17 million in back taxes plus penalties and interest. The case was the most prominent tax prosecution since the billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley was convicted of tax fraud in 1989.

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