Charlie Rangel Did Not ‘Dodge’ or ‘Evade’ Anything

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Photo: Mark Wilson/2011 Getty Images

15th District Representative Charlie Rangel wants to make sure that no one is getting the wrong idea about the $23,000 civil fine he was ordered to pay earlier this week. The penalty marked the conclusion of over a year of trouble for the congressman, who got himself into trouble with the Federal Elections Commission for underpaying on four rent-stablized Harlem apartments, including one he used as a campaign office. But, according to what Politico calls an "unusual" statement released by a spokesman today, it's not fair to say he hid assets and “dodged” or “evaded” taxes. (He was convicted by the House Ethics Committee for eleven violations involving those very things — plus improper fund-raising — in late 2010): 

“Fighting conventional wisdom is always hard, but it is important for the historical record and for Congressman Charles B. Rangel’s constituents to learn the truth, when it comes to inaccuracies in reporting on the background of Congressman Rangel agreeing to pay an FEC penalty concerning an apartment in the Harlem building where he lives.”

The memo went on to note that House Republicans had been investigated for unfairly targeting Rangel, and that the FEC "for its own reasons made its own judgments." Meanwhile, the 81-year-old Rangel has denied that he is only campaigning for a 22nd term as a "way to influence the selection of his successor after retiring early." In a statement addressing that idea, he said, "I am absolutely running for reelection. I intend to serve my entire term. There is no wiggle room.”