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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bennett's Ties to Embattled Charlie Rangel

This comes from the Charlie Dent campaign. When I get a response from the Bennett camp, I'll post that too.

Congressman Charlie Dent today called on Democratic Congressional Candidate Siobhan Bennett to renounce the endorsement she received from ethically challenged Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel and return the donation he sent to her campaign.

As reported in the national press, Rangel has a host of ethical charges lined up against him. Rangel reportedly rented four Harlem apartments at reduced cost and used one for a campaign office, allegedly in violation of New York law. It has since been discovered that he has failed to report twenty years’ worth of rental income from an offshore rental property he owns either on his state and federal tax forms or on his Congressional financial disclosure. The New York Times also reported he received an interest-free mortgage for the beachfront property. Through it all, Rangel refuses to step down as chairman of the powerful committee that, among other things, writes the tax code.

Rangel donated $2,000 to Bennett’s campaign and he is listed on her Web page as an endorser.

“Charlie Rangel’s ethical lapses are extremely serious, and Sam Bennett clearly counts him among her friends in Washington,” Dent campaign manager Shawn Millan said. “By taking Rangel’s money and proudly proclaiming his endorsement, Bennett obviously sees nothing wrong in her association with one of the most entrenched power brokers in Congress -- someone who doesn’t think the rules apply to him; someone who would raise your taxes while he doesn’t pay his own.”

“Washington does need change – and people like Sam Bennett’s endorser and benefactor Charlie Rangel are the reason why,” said Congressman Dent’s campaign manager, Shawn Millan.

Millan explained that the Dent campaign was issuing the following challenges to Bennett:

* Return any Rangel campaign contributions she has received either from his campaign committee or from his leadership PAC.
* Remove Rangel’s name from her list of endorsers.
* Publicly call for Rangel to step down from his Chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee.

In Bennett’s commercials, she claims to oppose “more of the same” from Washington. “Unless she follows through and renounces Rangel and returns his contribution it’ll be yet another example that Sam is the same,” said Millan.

Although not mentioned in the news release, Rangel also recently referred to VP candidate Sarah Palin like this - "You got to be kind to the disabled."


Jeff Pooley said...

Bernie--I know you're posting these campaign missives on both sides, but you risk becoming just a campaign smearing way-station. Campaigns will smear, yes, but you owe us--your readers--some use of your judgment about whether a press release like this deserves our attention. Some do. Many more don't. This falls in the latter category: the ethics problems of one (albeit important) Democrat in Congress are, to state an obvious point that you don't disagree with, hardly relevant to the 15th's race. Rangel's "endorsement" is, as you well know, meaningless if it's ever even been granted in a distinct way to Sam Bennet--a ritualistic endorsement of his party's candidate. This is, you must admit, pretty lame--guilt-by-very-tenuous-association. (The same goes for Bennett slings: use your judgment, or at least label silly arguments silly--as you often do in other contexts).

Bernie O'Hare said...


What I am doing, as much as I can, is to present press releases as they come from both sides. I always send the release to the other side for comment. In some cases, mostly w/ Bennett, I have challenged them myself. That's certainly a reflection of my own bias and I make no claim to be impartial.

But I think it's important, and interesting, to get the messages out there. All too often, the MSM heads for the hills at election time. I'm interested in the campaigns themselves. This is raw information from the campaigns themselves, heavily slanted, and identified as such.

There has been a battle of the press releases being waged here. If anything, Bennett has had more of them. She does not have as much funding to get her message out there so her name is getting out there, as well as her views, via this blog.

In this case, you note this Rangel connection is pretty lame. If this is so, then that reflects badly on Dent. Others may think this is important. But let the readers make the conclusions.

I appreciuate and respect your perspective. I know you are an expert on this kind of thing. My view is to let them all in. In truth, I have a rough time keeping up with the competing claims.

Anonymous said...

I disagree w/ Jeff, I think it's relevant to the discussion.

I would think that Bennett (or the DNC) solicited Charlie Rangel's support, and she should show the courage and fortitude to reject it given what's coming out about him (not allegations by the way, facts that he's admitting to). I think it speaks to her character, lack thereof, or the fact that the DNC is running the campaign and Bennett is a puppet.

The Banker

Jeff Pooley said...

Bernie--Fair enough. Your post-them-all policy makes sense. You do this already, but I might, in your shoes, make an even greater effort to look at the Dent releases with a critical eye--especially since you support him.

Bernie O'Hare said...

As it happens, I disagree with Jeff, too. But he may be right. This is his field.

In the beginning, when I was exercising my judgment about news releases, I rec'd some complaints. I decided the bettere course was not to substitute my judgment for the reader and let it all in. When I do that, then this place does become a clearing house for competing claims. But is that a bad thing? Isn't the whole point of the blogosphere that readers should get it all and decide for themselves?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jeff, You're asking me, essentially, to be more objective. I can certainly try bc that will make me a better blogger. But I will almost certainly fail.

Chris Miller said...

If this were Dent the outrage would be loud from the left and rightly so. Bennett, by not giving back the cash and removing him from her website, would be in opposition to her Speaker, Ms. Pelosi, who has asked Rangel to step down.

Anonymous said...

I agree with more discretion, but suggest that this post is absolutely relevant and right on point.

In November of '06, Nancy Pelosi said, "We pledge to make this the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history."

Because Nancy is completely full of shit, voters must take care to assure the integrity of public servants.

Rangel is sleazy and Bennett should give back the donation and reject his endorsement. It's really quite simple.

Anonymous said...

Representative Rangel was a very popular guest on T.V. up to about 2years ago.He seemed to disappear.I thought he was ill.I remember his silly talk to bringing back the military draft.Now we all know why he stopped appearing

Jeff Pooley said...

So I've changed my mind. I think you either post them all--like you're doing--or filter. Either way makes sense, as long as there's consistency. I don't think you should be more objective, by the way--that would be very un-blog like. I just think that you should call them as you see them, even when it cuts against a broader conviction (like supporting Dent). It actually makes your support (of Dent, in this case) more convincing when you call out a mistake or overreach. In this case you didn't think an unfair smear was made. Fair enough.

oh, for pete's sake said...

I also think it is relevant, in light of the fact that Ms. Bennett's own press releases have blasted Rep. Dent about taking money from wealthy executives from the private sector. If it's bad to take donations from "Big Oil" and the CEO of Mack Trucks, why is it OK to take it from an unethical congressmen who has been asked to step down by pretty much everybody?

Anonymous said...

Jeff --

If Rangel's endorsement was so meaningless why does Bennett list him towards the top of her list of endorsers?

I don't follow your point there.

Also, if it is meaningless, why not remove his name?

Bob Jr. said...

The GOP congressional candidates in the two suburban Philly districts (Bucks and Montco) released similar charges and challenges (re: Ringel money to Dems) on the same day as Dent's camp. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Probably not, Bobby Jr. But, what's your point -- that Democrats don't coordinate their message -- only Republicans?

What is the relevancy to the charge that Bennett received money from a tainted official?

Anonymous said...

Bob Jr., I'd expect coordination of things like this from the RNC, just as I'd expect it from the DNC. To me it shows organization on an issue (credibility and ethics) that are of higher importance now than ever.

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...

One Bennett's campaign site, there is a "telephone call" from W to Bush about Big Oil. That same telephoine call appears on the web pages of a number of Democratic challengers.

Bob Jr. said...

Anon 9:38, the point is it doesn't take much effort for all the GOP campaigns to decide the flavor of the day is to make noise about a few thousand dollars in campaign contributions; it it worked on you, didn't it? You're a cheap date. And you don't know me well enough to call me Bobby, you patronizing p#$@*!.

Anonymous said...

Bob Jr., I disagree that it's only "noise about a few thousand dollars..."

Charlie Rangel is the prototype for why we need term limits and stronger ethics regulations that apply to our elected officials. This is a crucial issue for this year's election, and if Bennett whats a chance to win, she needs to learn that.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Lighten up, Bobby.

Bob Jr. said...

for me, that's light.