Washington Babylon — November 25, 2008, 11:39 am

Rangel’s Tax Policy: Help Thyself

Congressman Charles Rangel has improperly received a tax break on a house he owns in Washington, didn’t disclose or pay taxes on rental income from a beachfront property he owns in the Dominican Republic, and occupies several rent-stabilized apartments in New York. Rangel, who oversees the nation’s tax policy from his perch as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, says he has done nothing “morally wrong” and attributes some of his problems to a faulty memory and bad record-keeping

Now it seems that Rangel preserved “a lucrative tax loophole that benefited an oil-drilling company last year, while at the same time its chief executive was pledging $1 million” to the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at City College of New York.

Mr. Rangel also said that the pledge from the Nabors chief executive, Eugene M. Isenberg, one of the largest the school received, played no role in his decision to protect the loophole, and maintained that he did not even know about it until this summer, more than a year later. His aides said he also later pushed tax legislation that would have adversely affected Nabors and hundreds of other offshore companies, though those efforts came to naught…

What is clear is that Mr. Rangel played a pivotal role in preserving the tax shelter for Nabors and the other companies in 2007. And while the issue was before his committee, Mr. Rangel met with Mr. Isenberg and a lobbyist for Nabors and discussed it, on the same morning that the congressman and Mr. Isenberg met to talk about the chief executive’s potential support for the Rangel center. Mr. Rangel’s opposition to closing the loophole surprised his Congressional colleagues, who had viewed him as an outspoken ally in the effort to eliminate the tax shelter.

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More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

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How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

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A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

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