Thursday, August 12, 2010
From a longer story on Rangel's presser today:
[I tried] asking Rangel to explain part of his speech on the House floor Tuesday, when he reminded colleagues that he had given many of them campaign contributions over the years.Rangel though, did not want to discuss it.
“What happens on the House floor stays on the House floor as a part of the congressional record. What happens to me in Harlem, Washington Heights, El Barrio, the West Side, I’m yours,” he said.
That part of the speech inspired a New York Times editorial, saying Rangel unintentionally bolstered the case for stronger campaign finance regulations.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Here’s part of a flier that’s going around parts of northern Manhattan, which features a photograph of Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell and the word “vote” right above it. It was passed to me by an interested reader working on one of the congressional campaigns in the 15th district, where Powell is one of five candidates seeking to oust the incumbent, Rep. Charles Rangel.
I haven’t seen the whole flier, but at fist glance, it looks like a piece of campaign literature, asking readers to vote for Powell.
It’s actually a voter registration form, Powell’s campaign manager, Danny Serrano, told me when I asked him about it. He said it was sent by Powell’s Assembly office, and that similar fliers were sent by many other state legislators.
“The point is not to say we’re trying to get people to vote our way,” said Serrano. The flier is meant to “make it easier for people to register to vote.”
Monday, August 09, 2010
One of the strongest knocks against Rep. Charlie Rangel that I hear when I go to his district is that the twenty-term congressman has been in office for too long.
Each of his four Democratic opponents, to varying degrees, hit on this theme. Which may help explain why the congressman is having a "Team Rangel Next Generation Crew" event two days before his 80th birthday party.
Details for the younger-oriented event after the jump:
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
I’m told Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) will be out of state and not attending Rep. Charlie Rangel’s birthday event. She’ll be out of town for a personal family meeting, according to someone familiar with the plans.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Rangel's response to Obama's gentle nudge is typical:
President Barack Obama is sending a strong signal to ethics-embattled Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel, telling CBS News that the time has come for the 80-year-old dean of New York’s congressional delegation to end his career “with dignity.”
But a person close to Rangel tells POLITICO the embattled Democrat “doesn’t give a damn about what the president thinks about this” and won’t step down.
The real story here isn't Rangel's response today, but may instead be the responses from other members of Congress that are likely to follow, now that Obama has signaled how he'd like this to end.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
In case you’re wondering, the person with the second most seniority in the New York congressional delegation is Rep. Ed Towns of Brooklyn. He was elected to Congress in 1983. Rangel got there in 1971.
So, is he even thinking about becoming the dean of the delegation, since there’s that whole situation with Rep. Charlie Rangel?
“No it hasn’t because I know Rangel is going to be there,” Towns told me yesterday. “He’s doing well. I understand there was a poll taken and he is so far out front that it’s not even any real contest. Which means that’s he’s going to continue to be around.”
If and when (when?) Rangel leaves Congress, it will undoubtedly by the end of a certain era in New York politics, one that saw that dominance (and some dimming) of New York’s black political establishment in Harlem.
That changing-of-the-guard moment will only fuel more chatter about how real power center of New York’s black political establishment should rightfully be acknowledged as having moved from Harlem to other areas of the city, like Towns’ section of Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn. Southeast Queens, with its cultural history, affluence and charismatic figures also can lay claim to the mantle too.
When I asked, Towns downplayed the notion there’s any rivalry or tension between the these areas and said that Rangel is revered figured citywide.
Towns recalled a recent meeting where Brooklyn constituents said things like, “You know how long it took Charles Rangel to become the chair of the Ways and Means Committee?”
Town added, “There’s a strong support base that he has, even in Brooklyn.”
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
At his Q&A with reporters today, Mayor Bloomberg seemed unsure if the fund-raiser he’s helping throw for Charlie Rangel is still on:
"I don’t know if Charlie Rangel is going to have a fund-raiser. I don’t know what the facts are. We’ll just have to wait and see. Yeah, I had planned to go, but until we see what comes out of this and what happens, I guess, by Thursday, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can tell you this: Charlie Rangel did a lot for New York City and we shoudn’t forget that. I have no idea whether these charges are true. That’s not my job to find out."
Bloomberg also rebuffed two questions about Diana Taylor's saying people want her to run for mayor, and he said Washington isn’t doing anything to cut our dependence on oil. Listen to his full Q&A above. Rangel discussion starts at 3:23.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This report from The Associated Press is not a sign that Rangel is looking forward to Thursday's unsealing of alleged violations:
The Associated Press has learned that New York Democrat Charles Rangel is making a last-minute effort to settle his ethics case. A settlement would mean that Rangel must agree that he committed some ethical misconduct.
The talks were confirmed by people familiar with the situation, but who were not authorized to be quoted by name.
Rangel stepped down earlier this year as chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee because of an earlier ethics charge. A settlement would spare him an embarrassing ethics trial. It also would be a relief for other Democrats, who fear that an dragged-out ethics proceeding during the fall election campaign would hurt their ability to maintain their House majority.
The ethics committee's trial phase has been scheduled to commence Thursday afternoon.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Rangel: “Marci, you are such a professional, I don’t want to see you do this publicly to yourself.”
Kramer was trying to ask Rangel about his comment that he may face "more alleged violations" when a bi-partisan ethics panel releases their findings on Thursday.
This is mild, considering the treatment Luke Russert got last week from Rangel (which Rangel later apologized for).
Monday, July 26, 2010
Charlie Rangel held his third press conference in as many days, putting on an optimistic air about the ethics inquiry into him, the charges resulting from of which will be publicly released Thursday.
Before handing out scholarship awards to about a dozen local students, Rangel spoke to reporters in his Harlem office building:
“Well, we waited almost two years and they finally investigated and guess what? They have some more alleged violations.”
Rangel did not elaborate, but seemed to be refering to a number of alleged violations have been reported in the press but were not among the ones Rangel forwarded to Congress for review. They include abandoning a car in a congressional parking lot, getting a tax-break for a donor who gave money to a school he was fund-raising for, and receiving a tax break for those who make their primary residence in Washington.
When asked, Rangel said he did not feel “singled out” because of his race. He also rebuffed the premise of another reporters’ question who asked if the long-time congressman felt dismayed that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and outgoing Governor Paterson have not committed to attending his August 11th birthday fundraiser.
“I don’t believe what you’re saying is true, nor do I believe you have any evidence to substantiate that, based on my conversations with people during the weekend,” Rangel said. “Now, let's get on with it,” he said, referring to the distribution of scholarship awards.
Later, after a three-piece band struck up some uplifting jazz music and Rangel mingled with the recipients, he expressed optimism that his friends in the Democratic party will rally around him, despite press reports to the contrary.
Specifically, Rangel was asked about Senator Chuck Schumer seemingly expressing something less than full-throttled support for Rangel. In a statement released this weekend, a Schumer spokesperson is quoted as saying "The senator is going to give Congressman Rangel a chance to get his case out there before coming to any judgment."
“[Senator Charles] Schumer has been my buddy for many many years. And just because somebody can think of a question doesn’t mean that I’m going to respond to it,” Rangel said.
Friday, July 23, 2010
A few highlights from Rep. Rangel's brief press conference in Harlem this afternoon:
Reporter: Do you feel you did something wrong?
Rangel: "I wish feelings had something to do with the facts."
Reporter: Are you looking forward to this battle?
Rangel: "No. Hell, no."
Reporter: Message to voters?
Rangel: "I won't let you down."
Friday, July 23, 2010
There's no indication that Rep. Charlie Rangel is curtailing plans to seek re-election.
But, in case you were wondering...
Here's the list of the people that are on his Committee to Fill Vacancies, according to city Board of Elections officials. Should Rangel decide for some reason to not seek re-election (and create a vacancy on his nominating petitions), these are the people who would decide who would replace Rangel on the ballot.
James Capel: A long-time aide to Rangel and one of his closest advisors.
Inez E. Dickens: City Councilwoman, Democratic district leader, and close ally of Rangel.
Keith L.T. Wright: Assemblyman and newly-minted chairman of the New York County Democratic Organization.
Caroline Rowan: Identified here as a district leader.
Joan Paylo: Democratic operative who ran for judicial delegate and appeared on campaign literature with Rangel.
Maria Luna: Outspoken Rangel supporter.
Johnny Rivera: Aspiring politician and director of community outreach for Mt. Sinai.
UPDATE: Jerry Skurnik, a consultant with an encyclopedic knowledge of this sort of thing, emails to say, "It's too late for Rangel to be removed and replaced by the Committee on Vacancies unless he dies or moves out of NY State.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Veteran reporter David Diaz gets into the ethnic politics and demographics of the NY15 race, where Rep. Charlie Rangel is facing a crowded field of Democratic challengers.
In an interview with one of those opponents, Adam Clayton Powell, host Diaz says, “Latinos, for example, outnumber blacks in that district by about 2:1.”
“How do you see it? Is it still a black seat,” Diaz asks.
“No,” says Powell, who is Puerto Rican and African-American. "Certainly it’s not a Harlem seat” and “the rest of the neighborhoods [in the district] appear to be step children. And that’s wrong.”