Rangel's Illegal Free Parking May Be New Tax Woe
NY Post: Rangel's car towed from congressional
NEW YORK - The old car without plates that Rep. Charles Rangel has been keeping in a congressional parking lot in violation of rules has been towed away.
The New York Post reported Friday that the 1972 silver Mercedes-Benz was towed from a House of Representatives indoor lot. The Post had previously reported that Rangel's registration on the vehicle had expired in 2004.
House rules require cars to display proper identification including plates and forbid use of the garage for storage.
Rangel has so far declined to answer questions about the car. The House Web site says anyone with a reserved indoor space incurs taxable income currently calculated at $100 per month.
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Rangel's '72 Mercedes - on which his registration expired in 2004 - remains parked in the House garage, in violation of congressional rules.
In addition to the storage issue, the vehicle - valued at roughly $10,000 to $15,000 - runs afoul of other rules set forth on the House Web site because it does not have license plates and does not display a current House parking permit.
WASHINGTON - Rep. Charles Rangel has been using a House of Representatives parking garage for years as free storage space for his old Mercedes-Benz - a violation of congressional rules and a potential new tax woe for the embattled lawmaker, The Post has learned.
The 1972 silver sedan is registered to Rangel, who is already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, and is parked in a coveted section of an indoor lot, near elevators that lead to his office.
The car is covered with a protective tarp and has no license plates. Rangel's registration on the vehicle expired in 2004, state records show.
House rules forbid use of the garage for long-term storage more than 45 days - and congressional aides told The Post that Rangel's car has been sitting there for years.
Rangel today told The Post, "I told you I am not discussing that. I want to be kind and gentle -- please let me be." The veteran Harlem Democrat, who is chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, is under fire for numerous lapses.
House Republicans were quick to criticize Rangel's latest gaffe.
"In a way, this latest revelation is symbolic of how Charlie Rangel and the Democrat-led Congress have chosen to conduct themselves. Rangel continues to openly thumb his nose at the law while remaining parked atop the most powerful committee in Congress. The 'most ethical congress in history' continues to embarrass itself," NRCC Press Secretary Ken Spain said in a statement.
Rangel has asked that the House ethics panel examine his possession of four rent-regulated apartments; his tax liability stemming from his ownership of a vacation home in the Dominican Republic; and his use of House stationery to solicit donations for a "center for public service" he is launching.
A House Web site on parking regulations informs anyone with a space that, under IRS regulations, the benefit of the free parking is considered "imputed income" and must be declared to the government.
The spaces are valued by the House at $290 per month, the site says - about the monthly cost of leasing a space in a private DC-area garage.
If the car has been in that space since its license plates were surrendered four years ago, the imputed income would be nearly $5,000.
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles records show the Mercedes, along with several other cars, is registered to Rangel at his address on West 135th Street.