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Indecent Disclosure: Rangel Filings Don't Account for Assets Worth Between $239,026 and $831,000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 4, 2009

Contact: Gabriela Schneider 202/742-1520 ext 236

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, failed to report purchases, sales or his ownership of assets at least 28 times since 1978 on his personal financial disclosure forms, according to a new analysis by the Sunlight Foundation’s Real Time Investigations. Assets worth between $239,026 and $831,000 appeared and disappeared with no disclosure of when they were acquired, how long they were held, or when they were sold, as House Rules require.

Rangel recently told C-SPAN's Newsmakers program that the ethics panel would clear him on multiple ethics questions soon. “Although he predicted on Sunday that his multitude of ethics woes would soon disappear, these new findings show that the Ethics Committee clearly needs to take a close look at Rangel’s filings,” said Bill Allison, senior fellow of the Sunlight Foundation. “Congress needs to revisit its entire financial disclosure reporting procedure to ensure that filings provide accurate, understandable and complete information about lawmakers’ wealth.”

Sunlight found multiple inconsistencies. In his calendar year 2006 filing, for example, Rangel reported 13 investments, mostly in mutual funds, which he valued in a range between $54,013 and $286,000, without indicating when he acquired them. In that same year, a quartet of assets that he reported acquiring in 2004 and worth between $95,004 and $250,000, disappeared from his filing without any indication of whether they were sold or exchanged.

The count is based solely on what Rangel disclosed in his filings. It does not include obvious omissions--he failed to disclose his book deal with MacMillan, which published his memoir, …And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since, as an arrangement, nor did he disclose as income any advance or royalties he might have received from the book, which was published in April 2007.

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan nonprofit dedicated to using the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency. Visit SunlightFoundation.com to learn more about Sunlight’s projects, including The Open Senate Project, Capitol Words and OpenCongress.org.
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