Charles Rangel

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U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel

Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is under fire over a series of recent disclosures that have some calling for him to resign from the powerful position. In July, it was revealed that Rangel was renting four rent-stablized apartments in his home district of Harlem, New York, including one he was using as a campaign office, which is illegal. (He gave up the campaign office apartment, but kept the other three.) Soon after, Rangel admitted he had used congressional stationery to set up meetings with potential donors to a new college center being named after him. Then, early this month, Rangel said he had neglected to declare $75,000 in rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Rangel says his accountant is reviewing his records and vowed to pay whatever back taxes he owes. The congressman, whose committee chairmanship puts him essentially in charge of the federal tax code, has also asked the House ethics committee to investigate his ownership of the villa.

Rangel is a lifelong Harlem resident. After dropping out of high school and being wounded in the Korean War, he went on to get a bachelor's degree from New York University and a law degree from St. John's University. After working as an assistant U.S. attorney, he was elected to the New York State Assembly and then Congress in 1970. He was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and has championed many causes in the House, including low-income housing in urban communities and divestment from U.S. companies operating in South Africa during apartheid. He and his wife Alma have two children.