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Rangel, chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, also faces investigations into his use of office resources to raise money for a college center bearing his name and his failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets and income.
Rangel’s mounting problems add to problems haunting Democrats as they head into the 2010 mid-term elections with the increasing prospect of losing seats and, possibly, control of Congress.
The Rangel affair also raises more questions about the leadership of the House by Speaker Nancy Pelosi who promised to “drain the swamp” of ethics-challenged members of Congress and then threw her support behind scandal-scarred representatives like the late John Murtha or looked the other way when other Democrats got into trouble.
Rangel’s unreported assets including a credit union account and Merrill Lynch account each containing more than $250,000, thousands of dollars worth of municipal bonds and up to $100,000 in rent from a brownstone he owns in New York.
Rangel may also have cheated on his income tax returns by not reporting the assets and income.