The Work

November 3, 2008 2:35 PM

Campaign Docs: Rangel Paid Orrick $120,000 for Tax Legal Help

Posted by Zach Lowe

In case you missed it over the weekend, the New York Post reported that U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, the Harlem Democrat seeking a 20th term in Tuesday's election, has paid Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe more than $120,000 for legal advice since the public learned of his messy tax records in recent months.

The record of the payments can be found on page 26 of this filing with the Federal Elections Commmission. The Post says the payments may violate rules against using campaign funds for personal business. Rangel's team told the paper they checked with the FEC to make sure the payments were okay; the FEC said it has no record of any such contact.

Rangel's tax problems have been well-documented, particularly in New York. To recap: The congressman has admitted failing to pay taxes on $75,000 he earned over the past 20 years by renting out a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Rangel has also acknowledged his failure to disclose profits on the sale of properties in Washington, D.C. and Florida. And he has taken criticism for renting four rent-stabilized apartments in an Upper Manhattan building--including one he used as an office in what appeared to be a violation of the city's rules for rent-stabilized units.

Rangel hired Orrick partner Lanny Davis over the summer when most of the apparent improprieties came to light. Since then, he has paid Orrick $121,436, campaign records show. (Should Rangel be forced to pay those bills out of his own pocket, the sum would represent nearly 75 percent of his annual congressional base pay of $169,300.)

Davis did not return a call or e-mail seeking comment.

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