Powerful House Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel refuses to step down from the chairman, in spite of criticism of shortcomings in his personal return. At issue include income from overseas rental property and a rent-controlled New York apartment used as a congressional office. In the face of heavy Republican pressure, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to support Rangel's intent to keep the chairmanship. Rangel has promised to turn over 20 + years of tax returns to a foresnic accountant who will report to the House Ethics Committee.
To minimize the political content of this post, I will assume for now that Rep. Rangel is telling the truth when he characterizes the tax return flaws as honest mistakes. Nevertheless, there is something seriously wrong when one of the most powerful tax writers in Congress cannot get his own return right. Rangel should NOT keep the chairmanship unless he not only is truthful on his tax return problems but also is willing to commit to significant improvements in the understandably and user-friendliness of the Internal Revenue Code, even if these improvements do not work to his ideological preferences.