Thursday, July 29, 2010


Corruption is an equal opportunity employer. For example, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY):
The House ethics committee on Thursday laid out 13 charges of ethical violations committed by Representative Charles B. Rangel, accusing him of a pattern of “indifference and disregard” for the law and the rules of the House.

In the 40-page report, the committee said it substantiated the major charges that had been hanging over Mr. Rangel for two years: that he improperly used his office to solicit donations for a school to be named in his honor; failed to pay taxes on and report rental income from his Dominican villa; filed incomplete financial disclosure forms; and improperly accepted from a Manhattan developer rent-stabilized apartments, one of which he used as a campaign office.

But while those alleged infractions had been widely reported, the committee unearthed new details about Mr. Rangel’s conduct. The committee said Mr. Rangel not only reached out to corporate executives seeking contributions to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College, but he also personally sought donations from registered lobbyists whose corporations had business before Congress. In some cases, Mr. Rangel asked for contributions of as much as $30 million from businesses with issues before the Ways and Means Committee, of which he was the chairman until March.

Then there's heavy Republican donors (in the million$), the billionaire Wyly Bros:

Famed Dallas billionaire investors Sam and Charles Wyly made $550 million in undisclosed profits through 13 years of insider trading in the shares of companies on whose boards they served, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit filed Thursday.

In a 78-page complaint filed in a Manhattan federal court in New York, the SEC said the Wylys held and traded tens of millions of securities in the companies and "defrauded the investing public" by misrepresenting the Wylys' ownership and trading of those shares.

"The apparatus of the fraud was an elaborate sham system of trusts and subsidiary companies located in the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands ... created by and at the direction of the Wylys," the SEC complaint stated.

Using this offshore system, the Wylys were able to sell stock worth more than $750 million in four public companies where they served as corporate directors. They also committed an insider trading violation at one of the companies that resulted in an unlawful gain of over $31.7 million, according to the complaint.

Coincidentally, the number thirteen figures in both stories. For Rep. Rangel, that's thirteen charges of ethical violations. For the Wylys, thirteen years of insider trading.

Thirteen for good luck.

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