Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the tax-code-writing Ways and Means Committee, failed to report more than $75,000 in rental income from a Dominican villa he purchased in 1988, the New York Times reports. But Rangel never noticed the error, his lawyer says, because his wife handles his finances. “This is all news to him,” says the lawyer, who said the congressman would pay back taxes in New York.
Rangel’s villa came to his attention when the New York Post reported that he’d failed to report the income on his 2006 and 2007 congressional financial disclosure forms. Intentionally falsifying those forms is a felony, with a possible 5-year prison sentence, but the House ethics committee rarely punishes members for errors. Rangel also probably doesn’t owe federal taxes on the money, because he considers the villa an investment, not a home.