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Rangel Center fundraising questioned

July 15, 2008 at 9:28 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is raising funds for an academic center from people with business before his committee, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told the newspaper he hasn't done anything wrong but political ethics experts disagree. The Post's examination of the record showed links between those who have donated to the proposed $30 million Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York and pending legislative business affecting their businesses.

The newspaper found that Rangel wrote letters on congressional stationery and has sought meetings to ask for corporate and foundation contributions for the center from such financial giants as real estate developer Donald Trump and Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, a former head of insurance giant AIG.

"I think that he has crossed the line," F. Christopher Arterton, dean of George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management, told the Post.

"In the 38 years that I've been down here, I don't think there has ever been any challenge, real or unreal, to my integrity as it relates to fundraising," Rangel said, adding, "If it was an ethical problem, I wouldn't do it."

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