Transgressions with Charlie: The Baucus-Rangel Leadership Fund

As Charlie Rangel puts his “two-year nightmare” of ethics investigations and censure behind him, let's recall some of his ethical lowlights that never made it to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Let me start with my favorite fundraising entity of all time: The Baucus-Rangel Leadership Fund, created in 2007.

What do Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., have in common? Well, there is a Harlem, Montana, but I suspect the two had something else in mind when they formed a joint fundraising committee just after coming into the majority. You see, Rangel had just taken over as chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, while Baucus had just assumed the gavel of the Senate Finance Committee — these are two committees with jurisdiction over tax law.

Think about this for a second: two lawmakers, bound only by the fact they were now in charge of writing tax law, launched a joint committee that hosted fundraisers — with the money then distributed to the two chairmen. It's hard to imagine a straighter line from contributions to legislation. It was basically like putting “Tax Law” on eBay and looking for bidders.

The donors were largely developers, lobbyists, and folks from Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns. I covered the Baucus-Rangel Leadership Fund in a 2008 column.

Beltway ConfidentialUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Lowell High School is considered an academically elite public school. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students denounce ‘rampant, unchecked racism’ at Lowell after slurs flood anti-racism lesson

A lesson on anti-racism at Lowell High School on Wednesday was bombarded… Continue reading

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wear masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. (Courtesy SFSD)
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23), shown here against the San Antonio Spurs at Chase Center on January 20, was ejected from Thursday night’s game on a technical foul after he yelled at a teammate during a play. (Chris Victorio for the S.F. Examiner).
Warriors 119-101 loss to Knicks highlights Draymond Green’s value

Team struggles with fouls, lack of discipline in play

Scooter companies have expanded their distribution in neighborhoods such as the Richmond and Sunset districts. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board signs off on changes to scooter permit program

Companies will gete longer permits, but higher stakes

A health care worker receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
City sets ambitious goal to vaccinate residents by June

Limited supply slows distribution of doses as health officials seek to expand access

Most Read