Charles Rangel at IRS Hearing: "Wrong to Abuse the Tax System"

PHOTO: U.S. Representative for New York Charles Rangel attends the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on the streets of Manhattan on June 10, 2012 in New York City.

Much has been made about the possibility of Republicans damaging themselves by making over the top claims about President Obama while investigating the scandals plaguing his administration. Those concerns are well founded.

But the biggest example of so-called scandal "overreach" on Friday may have come from Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.).

In case you're not familiar with the congressman, here's a quick primer. Elected from a Harlem district in 1970, Rangel enjoyed a quick rise to prominence and helped found the Congressional Black Caucus. He became the chairman of the House's powerful tax-writing committee in 2007.

But in his latter years, Rangel became tainted with his own scandal. In 2010, he was stripped of his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee amid an investigation into a corporate-funded trip to the Caribbean. Later that year, the House of Representatives formally censured him after he was convicted of 11 counts of violating House ethics rules. Among the violations: failure to pay taxes on rental income from his villa in the Dominican Republic and failing to disclose over $600,000 in assets on a financial disclosure report.

(Here's Rangel lounging at the aforementioned villa).

Rangel, 82, is still in Congress and still sits on the Ways and Means Committee (no, really). On Friday, that committee held a hearing to investigate the IRS' overzealous pursuit of conservative Tea Party groups that have tax-exempt status.

He suggested that conservative groups filing for tax-exempt status as social welfare groups actually do deserve government scrutiny, but that government employees also did a poor job of applying the law. But Rangel had a cringeworthy way of making his point.

"I mean, this is wrong to abuse the tax system," he said.

Only in Washington, you guys.

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