Rep. Charlie Rangel, Congress' former chief tax writer who last year was censured for financial misconduct and dubbed a tax scofflaw, isn't running away from the issue as some critics think he should. Instead, he doing what comes natural: Giving out tax advice to his friends and constituents.
Refusing to be silenced, Rangel has stepped up his annual practice of providing tax tips through his office and congressional website. Just today, for example, he issued his latest Rangel Report with eight tax tips on issues ranging from the Earned Income Tax Credit, taxes for students and unemployed workers, and how to get free tax assistance. In a previous Rangel Report, he pledged to continually update readers on tax laws and Internal Revenue Services changes because, "As the tax deadline of April 18th draws near, I know that filing taxes can be cumbersome and often overwhelming."
Added a spokeswoman, "We are merely providing tips throughout the tax season."
The tax tips have raised eyebrows among some critics who think Rangel's censure should have scared him away from the issue. But his office says he wasn't going to be shamed away from his practice of handing out tax tips and newsletters every year.
In the House Ethics Committee report, he was slapped for failing to report rental income from a house in the Dominican Republic on his tax return. Said the report: "Respondent's failure to report rental income related to Punta Cana on his Federal income tax returns violated the Internal Revenue Code." The New York Times pegged the unreported income at $75,000.
When censured, Rangel accepted blame, but said his case was also politically-driven.
"In my heart I truly feel good," Rangel said in December when he was censured. "A lot of it has to do with the fact that I know in my heart that I am not going to be judged by this Congress, but I am going to be judged by my life."
And before you beat the Rangel Report for not citing April 15th as "Tax Day," note that the IRS has approved April 18, 2011 as the tax filing deadline for 2010 Tax Returns and extension requests in observation of Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia. See the full email here.