Supporters rally for Rangel

September 13, 2009 6:00:01 AM PDT
About 50 people showed up at a rally urging critics to leave Congressman Charlie Rangel alone. Many of the supporters are part of the city's political establishment.

Their concern is that stories about Rangel's failure to report income, his alleged failure to pay market rents on 4 Harlem apartments and his failure to pay taxes on a luxury home in the Dominican Republic have taken a toll. But this is all a smear campaign, they say.

"A lot has been said about this so-called palace, this so-called villa. It sounds like, you gonna walk into Donald Trump's house, you know?" Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat said

"Charlie Rangel, being chairman of the ways and means committee, drives right wing lunatics even crazier than they already are," former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer said

Still, the criticism has grown in recent months. In fact, as recently as September 3, an editorial in the Washington Post called Rangel's amended financial disclosure form "a treasure trove of outrage... (that) demands that he step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee"

Representative Rangel was noticeably absent from today's rally. His supporters wouldn't say why, but in their opinion it didn't matter.

"We are here for him and, quite frankly, we didn't want him here. We're here to show our support for our congressman," Assemblyman Keith Wright said.

A congressman with clout, his supporters say, who has delivered to this community for decades.

"For instance, I was mayor when we did the empowerment zone. It was Charlie's legislation," former Mayor David Dinkins said.

The rally comes as Rangel is now the subject of two House ethics investigations.

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