NY Rep. Rangel hires accountant in ethics mess

Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters after a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee Monday, Sept., 15, 2008, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
By  | 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- New York Rep. Charles Rangel has hired an accountant to pore over his personal finances as he faces an ethics committee investigation.

Rangel, a powerful Democrat who heads the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, has been under fire for months over issues surrounding his personal finances.

He failed to report $75,000 in rental income for a beach house in the Dominican Republic over the past two decades, used three rent-stabilized apartments in his home district of Harlem and used his congressional stationery to solicit private donations to a college center named after him.

Rangel also says he didn't know he received a no-interest mortgage from the resort's developers for at least a decade.

The congressman's office said Thursday the firm Watkins, Meegan, Drury & Co. will review his finances and issue a report to the House ethics committee. When the review of the congressman's finances is complete, the report will be released publicly along with 20 years of Rangel's tax returns, his lawyer has said.

Rangel, who has spent 38 years in Congress, has insisted that his tax and financial reporting problems were honest mistakes and not deliberate deceptions.

Republicans have called for him to lose his chairmanship over the matter. Rangel says he has done nothing dishonorable and is the target of a Republican "guerrilla war."

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.