Rangel Mess Shows Congress Is Protected Class

Before I start, let me say that I admire Charlie Rangel’s military service to this country. On 30 November, 1950 he and his unit were attacked by the Chinese while he was serving in the Korean War. Rangel was wounded but managed, as a Private, to take control of about 30 soldiers and get them to safety in freezing temperatures. His actions saved them from capture and likely saved their lives. He received several medals for his heroism and for that, this nation should be grateful.

But that does not negate the fact that over the years that Rangel has served in Congress he has done things that would get the average citizen thrown in jail.

Yesterday, Rangel was censured by the Congress, a punishment just below expulsion. Rangel was found guilty of nearly a dozen ethics violations including not paying taxes for a rental property. This is particularly bad because Rangel was in charge of the group responsible for our tax laws. It is not likely that Rangel will be prosecuted for failure to pay his taxes. He has already paid what was reported that he owed and the matter will be considered settled. If he were the average guy on the street, he would be in jail.

Even the not so average guys go to jail. Wesley Snipes, the actor, was sentenced to three years in jail for failure to pay his taxes. Snipes was led to believe that there was no compelling law that required him to pay the taxes so he didn’t. The fact that he paid $5 million dollars (of the $15 million he owed) did not sway a judge and he will serve three years.

What is the difference between what Snipes did and what Rangel did? Rangel knew the tax laws and did not pay his taxes. He claimed that it was a mistake and poor bookkeeping. Snipes was told by his tax advisers that he did not have to pay the taxes and he didn’t.

Both men were guilty of not paying their taxes but one of them had to face Congress and have his censure read aloud while the other will spend three years behind bars.

To top it off, Snipes has not been accused of any other wrongdoing.

Snipes was made an example. His jail time is a direct message to those who think there is no law compelling them to pay taxes. This is an intimidation tactic to get people who think the same thing to stop and think before they decide not to pay taxes.

There are obviously two sets of rules. One set for the members of Congress (and other top government officials) and one set for the rest of us. How many people in the Obama Administration alone were outed as tax evaders only to pay what they owed and move into high paying positions?

Rangel made a big show of his censure proceedings and asked others to vote for a lesser punishment. People have talked about the embarrassment of standing in the well of the House floor while the censure is read by the Speaker.

I bet if one were to ask Wesley Snipes which punishment he preferred he would gladly stand in the well of the House and have a censure read.

And you can bet Rangel prefers this to three years in jail.

You can bet they would both prefer the Tim Geithner resolution where they could apologize for the oversight, pay the back taxes (no interest or penalties) and then move on with their lives.

At 80 years of age it is time for Rangel to consider retiring and enjoying the rest of his life.

And it is time for Congress to have real oversight where members are held as accountable as the poorest person in the country.

Cave Canem!
Never surrender, never submit.
Big Dog

Gunline

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17 Responses to “Rangel Mess Shows Congress Is Protected Class”

  1. Adam says:

    You will almost never do jail time with the IRS unless they prove you willfully and deliberately failed to pay taxes as Snipes did.

    Not even Rangel’s case meets that standard so I don’t see the comparison. The cases in the Obama administration have not been examples like Snipes either and were merely embarrassments for the individuals.

    Rangel is corrupt and should step down but he won’t of course. I’m sure he doesn’t see it this way but he clearly lowers the status of the entire US Congress by remaining in it’s chambers and the country deserves better.

    • Blake says:

      You can sit there and believe that the man who chairs the committee THAT WRITES OUR TAX LAWS did not know what he did? Oh please!
      Even I have an accountant- and the things RANGEL WAS CONVICTED OF are no brainers- if my accountant did not know this, I would- its just common sense.
      No, the Representatives are indeed a “protected” class- anyone who believes otherwise is seriously deluded.
      For EXACTLY what Rangel WAS CONVICTED OF, any regular person would have gone to jail- he gets a verbal “time out”-

      • Adam says:

        We know the tax preparation and property management was handled by individuals other than Rangel himself who is a very busy man. So yes, I find it very plausible that he could make such mistakes unknowingly.

        That is not to say I know for sure he did do it unknowingly. But that there could be any doubt at all is why I feel this case does not compare to that idiot Snipes. And let’s not pretend Snipes was duped by somebody as well into believing he shouldn’t have to pay. Maybe folks that dumb deserve jail time.

        The accusations of tax evasion to me are the smallest in the basket of corrupt dealings he was rung up for.

    • Mr. Ogre says:

      “You will almost never do jail time with the IRS unless they prove you willfully and deliberately failed to pay taxes as Snipes did.”

      Either that, or just don’t pay taxes. There is a 100% chance I will end up in jail if I fail to file my income taxes. Sure, not right away, but the process is force — fail to pay taxes, they send bills, if I don’t pay, they issue warrant, I don’t show up, they send police — I end up dead or jailed. Yeah, for not paying taxes.

      • Adam says:

        Yes, if you willfully refuse to pay your taxes you should face jail. If you refuse to face jail you should face the gun. I’m not seeing anything out of the ordinary in what you’re suggesting.

        • Mr. Ogre says:

          Well, at least you’re finally admitting that you support killing people who disagree with you. That’s been my contention all along.

        • Adam says:

          It has nothing to do with whether I agree with you or not and I’m not sure why you think it does.

  2. Big Dog says:

    Of course the tax evasion was the least for you. Cunningham, a Republican is in jail…

    I can’t believe that he did not know over 17 years. He has to sign his tax returns so he should have reviewed them. He knew.

    Maybe folks as dumb as Snipes deserve jail time.

    Yep, and there are a lot of dumb people. Those who do not know who the Vice President is, those who do not know we gained independence from England, those who believe in man made global warming.

    Throw them all in jail…

    • Adam says:

      “Cunningham, a Republican is in jail…”

      Yes, and tax evasion was the least of his crimes as well. According to wikipedia:

      Cunningham pled guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud in federal court in San Diego.

      And this compares to Rangel?

      “…those who believe in man made global warming.”

      Ah yes, the science of climate change versus conspiracy of the tax evaders. Why am I not surprised that you confuse those two drastically different things.

      I’m kidding of course. Dumb people are free to be dumb. But luckily ignorance of the law was no excuse in the case of all these individuals we’re discussing.

      • Big Dog says:

        The key is Cunningham was prosecuted.

        Rangel failed to report income. This is tax evasion. He used his letterhead to solicit donations which is an abuse of the franking privileges. He did not intend to defraud anyone (as far as we know) but he violated Public Law 93-191 (and violation of a law is a crime).

        Some of the letters were sent to entities that had business pending before his committee. Some later received bailout money.

        Sounds like enough to seat a grand jury and find out of it rises to the level of Cunningham.

        • Adam says:

          I’d be fine with grand juries or whatever is appropriate for Rangel’s actions. I just still don’t see how anything d he was caught doing comes close to what Cunningham was found guilty of doing. Also the suggestion that he willfully evaded taxes like Snipes is unsupported.

  3. Big Dog says:

    Adam, perhaps because Ogre says that the the government will jail or kill those who disobey the law and you said those who do not pay taxes should be jailed or FACE THE GUN.

    You pretty much wrote that you agree with the tactic Ogre describes.

    I don’t know how you get anything different out of it.

    • Adam says:

      I agree about the taxes, arrest, and jailing. I just don’t see how that has anything to do with whether I disagree with a person or not.

      • Big Dog says:

        Snipes was sent to jail to make a political statement. Plenty of people get caught and pay up and are left alone.

        There is no way that Rangel did not know. If you are saying he did not review his taxes when he signed them then he made a false statement on the form.

        He might not have known at first but he knew later on. A Grand Jury could explore that which Congress did not.

        As for Cunningham, it does not matter if the offenses were similar or as bad, they were illegal and should have received the same level of scrutiny.

        Ogre said it is what the government does and you said it should be that way. It means you agree with the government’s tactics, as Ogre described.

        • Adam says:

          “Snipes was sent to jail to make a political statement.”

          Perhaps. Anyone left alone is because the high burden of proof the IRS needs in these cases which they had for the counts Snipes was found guilty on.

          “There is no way that Rangel did not know.”

          That is probably true. I don’t excuse what he did, I just continue to insist that what he did was not equal to Snipes and there is not the same level of evidence suggesting a willful attempt to defraud the US government.

          “…they were illegal and should have received the same level of scrutiny.”

          This is completely false. You have only your own bias to suggest Rangel knew exactly what he was doing or that his offenses merit a grand jury. Cunningham was insanely corrupt, taking bribes and engaging in massive fraud.

          Your premise here is that Snipes, and then Cunningham all did things similar to Rangel so if Rangel was not treated the same then he’s a protected class. The problem is your premise is faulty and completely unfounded.

          “It means you agree with the government’s tactics, as Ogre described.”

          Each time I have said yes, I agree. That is not Ogre’s point though so I don’t know why you keep trying to turn circles on this.

          Here is Ogre’s statement again:

          Well, at least you’re finally admitting that you support killing people who disagree with you.

          His statement is absurd and irrelevant. Who I agree and disagree with has nothing to do with how I think the justice system should treat individuals who willfully break the law and resist justice or punishment for it.

          Ogre tries to present his stories as if they’re strange or out of the ordinary but yet the reality is he’s writing off legal codes because he disagrees with them and then claiming it would be tyranny if he was made to answer for such criminal activity.

          In the name of “freedom” Ogre really just wants a life where he’s free to do whatever he wants and not answer to anyone but himself or his family for it. That’s fine. I just have to remind you all again that such a way of life has never been and will never be in the United States.

  4. Big Dog says:

    Well believe what you want but Rangel certainly knew he was using stationary and mail in violation of the law. He knew he was breaking the law when he used his rent controlled apartment for a campaign office, he knew he was breaking the law when he had four such apartments, he knew he was not reporting assets on his financial disclosure forms and he knew that he was receiving income that was not reported.

    He can blame it on staff and accountants but he is responsible fro reviewing his personal stuff and he has to sign his taxes and his financial disclosure.

    It does not matter if his crimes were as bad as anyone else’s (and I think his were worse than Snipes who did one thing) what matters is that he broke the law and faced no criminal charges.

    That, my friend, is what makes him part of the protected class. Deny it all you want but just ask yourself what would happen if you did those things.

    Better yet, how would Rangel have acted if the charges were against a Wall Street executive?

    I will let Ogre speak for himself but it sounds to me as if he wants to be free of INTRUSIVE laws and government. Everyone agrees that we need laws and that we need to follow the law. What people do not like is having government intrude where it does not belong. Adam, you do not agree with all laws and think that the ones you believe to be wrong should be negated. Libs are like that. They chastise people like Ogre who want to live free and talk about obeying laws and how big government is wonderful (I understand, libs cannot care for themselves) but then when a state exercises its right to enact laws that follow federal law you guys get your panties in a wad.

    They can strip search me, grope me, and force me to shovel a sidewalk or whatever they want under threat of confinement or violence and you, as YOU stated, are OK with that.

    But you will not allow the immigration laws to be followed and you believe it is OK for people to break the law to get here. You protect rights you think they have while ignoring the ones we actually do.

    • Adam says:

      “What people do not like is having government intrude where it does not belong.”

      Yes, and they don’t belong conveniently where they are the most annoying to you such as shoveling snow to protect the public or requiring you to dispose of human waste in a responsible manor, right?

      “They can strip search me, grope me, and force me to shovel a sidewalk or whatever they want under threat of confinement or violence and you, as YOU stated, are OK with that.”

      Not true. My statement was directly related to taxes. I find many laws to be objectionable. What I don’t do is get outraged at all the possible outcomes or punishments related to breaking the law. Ogre pretty much appends the threat of death to every single thing. If Ogre has a gum wrapper he better not throw it on the ground or he could be shot and killed for it. From his mindset that would probably make littering laws absurd.

      “But you will not allow the immigration laws to be followed and you believe it is OK for people to break the law to get here.”

      Don’t mistake thinking that treating illegals as people who have broken minor laws with me thinking it’s fine for them to break the law to get here. I just want the punishment to fit the crime which is true of every situation. I also in turn expect that if an illegal were caught and somehow resisted arrest then he or she has the chance of getting shot.