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Another wrist slap for Rangel

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By Doug Powers  •  March 29, 2012 04:41 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

This probably isn’t enough to earn the censure-worthy Charlie Rangel yet another portrait in the halls of Congress, but the year ain’t over yet.

The New York Post outlines how Rangel has again been slapped on the wrist for being, quite literally, low rent:

Charlie Rangel is one lucky congressman: A federal panel is citing him for election-law violations but fining him a mere $23,000 — pocket change that likely won’t even come from his own pocket.

Average New Yorkers should be so lucky.

After all, this wasn’t over some minor technicality. No, the Federal Election Commission found that the Manhattan Democrat for years illegally used a rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office.

Instead of paying $1,700 or more a month — the going rate in the W. 135th Street building, where he also lives — Rangel’s campaign committee paid a well-below-market $630 rent.

Rangel can’t claim ignorance, either; turns out he not only signed the original lease (which required him to use the unit “for living purposes only”) but renewal leases “and all other renewal forms.”

Which means, said the FEC, that he knowingly accepted what amounted to an illegal in-kind campaign gift from his landlord (who was fined $19,000).

And Rangel kept the deal even as the landlord vigorously moved to evict other tenants for violating rent-control rules.

Given what he got away with, the $23,000 fine isn’t much of a hit. No wonder an aide calls it basically a nuisance fee.

Chollie Rangel: Stark reminder of a swamp left woefully undrained.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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