- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, owes more than $10,000 in unpaid taxes - a sum that may increase, his attorneys said Wednesday.

Attorney Lanny Davis said Mr. Rangel, New York Democrat, plans to file amended federal, state and city tax returns for 2004 through 2006, and will work to obtain and review his tax returns for the past 20 years to determine if he has further tax liability.

Mr. Rangel’s tax problems are the result of his failing to disclose $75,000 in rental income he received on a villa he has owned for two decades in a Dominican Republic resort.

But he said he didn’t know about that rental income because the resort handles such payments and applied them directly to the mortgage he had on the villa. That mortgage was paid off this year.

Mr. Rangel, 78, said he made a mistake by not keeping better tabs on his finances, but he noted that his efforts had been hampered by the fact that he and the resort owners do not speak the same language.

Mr. Davis, who writes an opinion column for The Washington Times, insisted his client did not purposely conceal the rental income.

He said the statute of limitations only require Mr. Rangel to amend his tax returns for the past three years, but his client wants to correct them, if necessary, for each year he’s owned the villa.

So far, along with the more than $10,000 owed from 2004 through 2006, a review has determined that Mr. Rangel does not owe back taxes for 2002 and 2003, Mr. Davis said.

The House ethics committee is investigating financial issues involved with Mr. Rangel’s rental villa, as well as his use of a rent-controlled apartment for a campaign office in New York and for using congressional stationery as part of a fundraising effort for a college center bearing his name.

Mr. Rangel resisted calls from Republicans to relinquish his powerful chairmanship until the ethics investigations are completed.

“I really believe making mistakes doesn’t mean you have to give up your career,” Mr. Rangel said during a news conference Wednesday. “I personally feel that I have done nothing morally wrong.”

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