Charles B. Rangel

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Charlie Rangel currently serves the 15th Congressional district of New York

Charles Bernard Rangel has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1971, representing the Fifteenth Congressional District of New York (map) His district was numbered the Eighteenth District from 1971–1973; the Nineteenth District from 1973–1983; and the Sixteenth District from 1983–1993.

Rangel is the co-chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and is a Deputy Whip.

Record and controversies


(Information on the decision of the U.S. House of Representatives to censure Rangel for ethics issues on December 2, 2010, needs to be added here. More detailed information on the ethics allegations appears further below.)

National security and foreign policy

Iraq War

Rangel voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Calls for a renewed military draft

In 2003, immediately before the United States invasion of Iraq, Rangel called on Congress to reinstate a military draft, the last of which had been discontinued at the end of the Vietnam War. He advocated the idea on the basis that it would both spread military service more equitably across the socio-economic spectrum and make leaders think more carefully before engaging in military action which would put members of their communities in harm's way, his contention being that the military is disproportionately made up by normally disenfranchised segments of the population. His bill would have created a draft of people aged 18-26.[2]

In 2006, he introduced a similar bill mandating service for those between the ages of 18 and 42. Neither bill progressed in the Republican-controlled Congress and neither received tremendous attention in the press.[3]

After the November 7 Democratic midterm victory, Rangel once again voiced his desire to see a draft implemented. As a top member of the newly-minted, majority party, this declaration received much more attention than his previous attempts to introduced legislation. His proposal called for using the draftees at airports and seaports as well as in the military. Democratic leaders, however, immediately released statements saying that reinstating the draft was not on their agenda for the 110th Congress. Opinion polls at the time showed that 70% of Americans opposed reviving conscription.[4]

Call for Donald Rumsfeld to be fired

During the week on November 13, 2003, Rangel introduced a resolution "urging President Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld for misleading the American public about how well the war and the occupation are going, and for sending American forces into battle 'without adequate planning' and showing 'a lack of sensitivity' about U.S. casualties," Maureen Dowd reported in the New York Times.

Embargo with Cuba

On January 22, 2007, Rangel introduced the Free Trade with Cuba Act, which would remove the trade embargo the U.S. has enforced with Cuba since 1962, and also repeal other economic, travel, and communications restrictions with Cuba.

Those seeking to end the embargo, such as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, argued that facilitating greater trade and interaction between the two countries would help Cuba move toward greater openness and democracy. Moreover, it was argued that access to American goods and services would increase the health and well-being of the Cuban people.[5]

Main article: Free Trade With Cuba Act

Sudanese Embassy Protest

Rangel has repeatedly shown his willingness to risk arrest for participating in political protests. Most recently, on July 13, 2004, he was the first of three sitting US House members to be arrested on trespassing charges, for protesting alleged human rights abuses in Sudan in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington. Later in the week of July 13, 2004, Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois and Congressman Joe Hoeffel of Pennsylvania would also be arrested at the Sudanese Embassy. Nearly two decades previously, Rangel had been arrested for participating in an anti-apartheid rally in front of the South African Embassy in Washington. On March 15, 1999, Congressman Rangel was arrested along with two other prominent African-American leaders (civil rights activist Al Sharpton and former Mayor of New York City David Dinkins), for protesting the fatal shooting by four white New York City police officers of Amadou Diallo, an African-American.

Signing on to releasing convicted spy Pollard

Charles Rangel is a co-signatory of a letter initiated by Rep. Barney Frank seeking a presidential pardon for Jonathan Pollard on the grounds that he has served enough time.[6] A release of Pollard seems to be Netanyahu's latest demand of the Obama administration.[citation needed]

Energy and environment record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

CLEAN Energy Act

Rangel was a supporter and cosponsor of the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007, which addressed royalties and tax breaks previously afforded to oil and gas companies. He commented on the bill, stating "These tax breaks came at a time of record profit for oil corporations and were so large that even the Bush Administration called them excessive."[7]

Main article: CLEAN Energy Act of 2007#Support and opposition

Gun control

In 1991, Rangel cosponsored H.R. 3104, which sought "To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the importation and the manufacture of firearms designed to accept a silencer, bayonet, grenade launcher, flash suppressor, or folding stock, of certain ammunition feeding devices, and of related devices, and to provide for the imposition of enhanced penalties for the possession or the use of any such item in a crime of violence or in a drug trafficking crime." [8]

Main article: U.S. gun legislation

Rangel-Cheney feud

On September 22, 2005, Rangel compared Republican President George W. Bush to Bull Connor, the former Public Safety Commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, stating: ""George Bush is our Bull Connor." In response, Vice President Dick Cheney, during an interview on the Rush Limbaugh radio program on October 3, 2005, stated: "I'm frankly surprised at his comments. It almost struck me — they were so out of line, it almost struck me that there was some — Charlie was having some problem. Charlie is losing it, I guess." Rangel and his office have refused to comment on the Vice President's remarks.

The feud between Vice President Dick Cheney and Rangel "reignited as the Harlem lawmaker ripped the veep as a draft dodger who found it 'easy to fight [a war] with other people's children'" and said that Cheney is "'like a chess player; he likes to move other people's pieces. In this case, it's sending other people's kids to war'," Rangel told the New York Daily News November 20, 2005.

Rangel, a "decorated Korean War veteran took aim at Cheney after the White House put" Representative John P. Murtha, a Vietnam War hero, "in its cross hairs for recanting his support for the Iraq war and calling for the troops to return home."[9]

"Rangel fought for his life on a frozen mountain in North Korea with the 503rd Field Artillery Battalion. He caught shrapnel in his foot on Nov. 30, 1950, and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart," the Daily News reported. "Cheney got five deferments and took a pass on fighting in Vietnam."

Support for Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Moon Proclamation

On April 16, 2004, roughly one month after Moon had hosted an awards ceremony in a Senate office building at which he had declared himself the messiah, Rangel signed a proclamation written on official congressional stationary declaring the controversial Rev. Moon and his wife "True Parents" and the "King of Peace."[10]

Rep. William Jefferson scandal and the CBC

According to a June 13, 2006 report by the Milwaukee Courier, Rangel accepted a request from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to try and convince Rep. William Jefferson to forfeit his seat on the House Committee on Ways and Means due to an ongoing federal investigation against him. Rangel's position differs from that of the Congressional Black Caucus, for which he is a long-time member. The CBC believes Jefferson should retain the seat until the charges levied against him are proven true. Rangel was unable to convince Jefferson to step down.[11]

Economic policy

Peru-United States Free Trade Agreement deal

On May 10, 2007, Democratic congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Committee on Ways and Means Chair Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), struck a deal with President Bush that secured their support for the Peru-U.S. agreement in exchange for inserting provisions that protect workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively. The Peruvian government would also have to agree to the changes before Congress could consider the agreement.[12]

Main article: Peru-United States Free Trade Agreement

Gulf Coast aid

In 2007, Rep. Rangel sponsored a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend and expand certain rules with respect to housing in the GO (Gulf Opportunity) Zones. These were established following Hurricane Katrina in order to waive many procedural hurdles in getting funds into the Gulf region and qualifying recipients of the funds. The bill would extend these zones until December 31, 2010. In addition, the bill would order a study of the practices employed by state and local governments in allocating tax incentives provided by the Gulf Opportunity Act of 2005. On March 26, the measure passed the House by a voice vote.

Main article: U.S. congressional actions to provide disaster assistance

Ethics and campaign finance

House Ethics Committee investigation

On September 24, 2008, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into Rangel’s financing upon Rangel’s request. Rangel, on February 2, 2009, reported that he expects to be cleared by the ethics committee, despite potential involvement with many violations of House Ethics Committee rules and failure to report income to the IRS. [13] Rangel, at the time, was also accused of using four rent-controlled apartments in New York City.

In December 2008, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, expressed hope that the Rangel investigation would be completed by the end of the 110th Congress’ term on January 4, 2009. Following the defeat of a House GOP resolution to have Rangel removed, on February 10, 2009, the Ethics Committee voted to continue investigations into Rangel. [14]

Dominican Republic rental villa controversy

The special Ethics subcommittee began by looking into Rangel’s involvement with a no-interest loan along with $75,000 in income from a rental villa in the Dominican Republic.[15] This action would be in direct violation of the House Ethics Committee rules on gifts. According to the Ethics Committee website, “members, officers, and employees may accept opportunities and benefits that are “in the form of loans from banks and other financial institutions on terms generally available to the public””. Because Rangel’s loan had no-interest, it could not be considered “terms generally available to the public” and therefore violated House Rule 25 clause 5(a)(3)(R)(v). [16] However, Rangel has admitted to this accusation and plans on repaying the owed money for his federal tax evasion. [17]

Rent-controlled apartments controversy

The scarcity of rent-controlled apartments in New York City only adds to the controversy over Rangel's holding over four such apartments. According to the New York Times, Rangel uses one of the four as an office, despite city and state regulations that say rent-stabilized apartments must be used as a primary residence. [18]

Campaign funds controversy

According to Federal Election Commission filings, between 2004 and 2007, Rangel's leadership PAC and congressional committee gave $79,560 to his son's company, Edisonian Innovative Works, to build a couple of "websites" that were so poorly designed, one expert estimated their costs to build as no more than a $100. For example, Rangel's National Leadership PAC site included misspellings and asked visitors to "Give Contribution." According to a Rangel spokesman, Stephen Rangel's firm was paid $2,500 a month, a number less than the previous firm that had handled Rep. Rangel's online presence and also included payment for outreach and advertising. According to analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, this sum was the most paid for websites by any House member during the 2004-2006 election cycle. For his 2008 campaign website, Rangel shelled out $25,000 to non-relatives. [19]

The House Ethics Committee website makes it clear that when “a family member of a Member wishes to sell certain goods or services to the Member’s campaign…such a transaction is permissible under the House Rules only if (1) there is a bona fide campaign need for the goods, services, or space, and (2) the campaign does not pay more than fair market value in the transaction ”. [20] Therefore, Rangel’s use of nearly $80,000 worth of campaign funds to pay his son for a sub-par website is against House Rules. [21]

A multitude of other violations have also appeared, including using campaign funds to pay for parking tickets (which may or may not be in violation of an Ethics rule if the parking ticket was obtained when attending a political or campaign related event). [22]

Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service controversy

In December 2008, the Ethics committee expanded its research into Rangel’s financing with the alleged use of the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service to fundraise. On July 17, 2008, a Washington Post reporter broke a story about Rangel's use of congressional stationery to write on behalf of a school that bears his name. The news piece alleged that Rangel was contacting potential contributors on behalf of the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York. The story also maintained that some of the letter recipients could have business interest before the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Rangel denied that any of the mailed letters contained any sort of "solicitation of funds." In addition to participating in a press conference after the story was released, Rangel said an ethics investigation into the issue should be conducted. Rangel said that if no one filed the ethics complaint, he would direct his staff to find out how he could file it himself. [23]

On January 2, 2009, the New York Times reported that Rangel had met with officials from the American International Group (AIG) in April 2008 to request funds, as much as $10,000,000 for the Rangel Center, but they have not answered his request. [24]

Financial disclosures controversy

The Sunlight Foundation’s Real Time Investigations, on February 4th, 2009, reported on Rangel’s financial disclosure forms. [25] Beginning in 1978, Rangel failed to report 28 instances of acquiring, owning, or disposing of assets between $239,026 and $831,000. These assets appeared and disappeared from his disclosures without notice, as House rules, at the time, demanded. According to the House Ethics Committee website, “The Financial Disclosure Statement must include a brief description, the date, and category of value of any purchase, sale, or exchange of real property, stocks, bonds, commodities, futures, or other forms of securities (including trust assets) that exceeds $1,000.” [26]

Fundraising as Committee Chairman

In April 2007, Rangel and Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) created a joint political action committee, after setting new quarterly fund raising records in the first quarter of 2007. [27]

Even though Rangel is still suffering from many ethics allegations, he was noted as the top fundraiser for House Democrats by The Hill in November 2008. [28]



Rangel was born June 11, 1930 in New York City and served in the United States Army from 1948 to 1952, earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service in the Korean War. He attended New York University and obtained a Juris Doctor from Saint John's University, New York.

Rangel is a prominent member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.

Congressional Career

Rangel served in the New York State Assembly from 1966 to 1970, when he was elected to the House, defeating long-time Congressman Adam Clayton Powell in the Democratic primary. His first committee assignment was on the House Judiciary Committee where he participated in the impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon. He is now the Ranking Member of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means and Chairman of the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus, where he has also served as chairman, and of which he continues to be a member.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Republicans nominated Edward Daniels to face Rangel in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) Rangel retained his seat.[29]

Meet the Cash Constituents

Links to more campaign contribution information for Charles B. Rangel
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and Caucuses

  • Co-Chair, African Trade and Investment Caucus
  • Executive Board, Congressional Arts Caucus
  • Congressional Black Caucus
  • Congressional Fire Services Caucus
  • Co-Chair, Congressional Glaucoma Caucus
  • Associate Member, Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  • Congressional Human Rights Caucus
  • Chair, Congressional Narcotics Abuse and Control Caucus
  • Congressional Urban Caucus
  • Co-chair, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Democratic Steering Committee
  • Deputy Democratic Whip
  • Chair, New York State Congressional Delegation

Boards and other Affiliations

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Charles B. Rangel. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
2354 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-4365
Fax: 202-225-0816
Web Email

District Office- New York:
163 West 125th Street, Suite 737
New York, NY 10027-4404
Phone: 212-663-3900
Fax: 212-663-4277

Articles and resources

See also


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. "Rangel introduces bill to reinstate draft," CNN. January 8, 2003.
  3. "Rangel introduces bill to reinstate draft," CNN. January 8, 2003.
  4. "Rangel introduces bill to reinstate draft," CNN. January 8, 2003.
  5. "Carter urges democracy in Cuba, calls for trade," CNN, May 15, 2002.
  6. Philip Giraldi, Thirty-Nine Congressmen Can't Be Wrong,, 1 December 2010.
  7. William L. Watts. "House Democrats take aim at drilling royalties," Market Watch. January 12, 2007.
  8. Thomas page on H.R. 3104 THOMAS.
  9. Patrick J. Fitzgerald. "Smackdown..!" From the Desk of Patrick J. Fitzgerald. November 21, 2005.
  10. Charles B. Rangel. "Proclamation," U.S. House of Representatives. April 16, 2004.
  11. [1] Milwaukee Courier. June 13, 2006.
  12. Doug Palmer, "Democrats, Bush strike deal on trade," Reuters, May 11, 2007.
  13. Hill Briefs, "Rangel: Ethics Probe Will End Soon," National Journal, February 2, 2009.
  14. Paul Blumenthal, "Rangel Keeps Gavel as Ethics Panel Probes," Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, February 11, 2009.
  15. "Ethics Panel Begins Rangel Investigation,", September 24, 2008.
  16. "Gift Exceptions-Loans," House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct”.
  17. Ben Pershing, "Rangel Vows to Pay Back Taxes, Attacks GOP," Washington Post, September 10, 2008.
  18. David Kocieniewski, "For Rangel, Four-Rent Stabilized Apartments," New York Times, July 11, 2008.
  19. Luke Rosiak & Glenn Thrush, "Tangled Web: Rangel son got campaign cash", Politico, December 4, 2008.
  20. “Proper Use of Campaign Funds and Resources," House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
  21. Paul Blumenthal, "Annals of Embarrassing Decisions," The Sunlight Foundation Blog, December 5, 2008.
  22. Jonathan Allen & Richard Rubin, “Rangel Pays Parking Tickets with Campaign Funds," CQ Politics, December 30, 2008.
  23. Rangel denies wrongdoing, attacks Washington Post The Hill July 17, 2008.
  24. "Rangel Pushed for a Donation, A.I.G. for a Tax Cut" The New York Times, January 2, 2009.
  25. Paul Blumenthal, "Ethics Panel to Clear Rangel?," The Sunlight Foundation’s Real Time Investigations, February 4, 2009.
  26. "Specific Disclosure Requirements-Transactions," House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
  27. Alexander Bolton, "Baucus, Rangel form PAC," The Hill. April 17, 2007.
  28. "Rangel is top fundraiser for House Democrats despite ethics allegations ," The Hill. November 24, 2008.
  29. "2006 Congressional Races in New York," Center for Responsive Democracy.

External resources

External articles

Local blogs and discussion sites

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Co-Chair, African Trade and Investment Caucus; Executive Board, Congressional Arts Caucus; Congressional Black Caucus; Congressional Fire Services Caucus; Co-Chair, Congressional Glaucoma Caucus; Associate Member, Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Congressional Human Rights Caucus; Chair, Congressional Narcotics Abuse and Control Caucus; Congressional Urban Caucus; Co-chair, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Democratic Steering Committee; Deputy Democratic Whip; Chair, New York State Congressional Delegation
Committees: House Committee on Ways and Means, Joint Committee on Taxation
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 3, 1970
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 1971
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
New York State Assembly
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 163 West 125th Street, Suite 737, New York, NY 10027-4404
Phone: 212-663-3900 / Fax: 212-663-4277

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: June 11, 1930