Transcript: Rep. Charles Rangel's Remarks on Controversial Academic Center

CQ Transcripts Wire
Thursday, July 17, 2008; 2:03 PM


[*] RANGEL: Good morning. This looks like a pretty good crowd. That's great. Thank you so much for being here. Had some apprehensions that I might not get the same turnout.

First of all, I'm trying to think of something that would be so catchy that would demand that your newspaper print it, and so I may give several things so that it'd be (inaudible).

First of all, I normally advise people, as I have been advised, not to respond to these allegations that I abused my congressional discretion in writing on behalf of a school institution named after me because it would blow over; or, as more often I've advised members, that remember you don't have as much ink as the printers do.

So one of the things that I would use, hoping that it might catch on, is that I'm going to see how much damn ink The Washington Post has.

So if at a time that we're at war, we need education, health care, unemployment, a fiscal crisis, the opening up of our treasury and increase in billions of dollars in debt, if The Washington Post believes that this warrants front page and editorials, then I feel it's my obligation to push this to the very limit so that members whose elections may be adversely affected by unfounded rumors created by the press, that they would have a clear idea as to what the ground rules are.

So to that extent they -- another potential headline is, "Rangel Insists That the Ethics Committee Investigate the Unfounded Charges," because, first of all, nobody that can read is going to bring any charges against me, including The Washington Post, which, of course, I encourage them to do it, because then they have to follow their own foundless story, and at least that gets some coverage on this in The Washington Post.

And I would want to make certain that other members are in the position to know what they can or cannot do.

As to the allegations, I challenge The Washington Post -- and if you can find some word a little stronger than that -- to show one line in any of the letters that I have sent out on behalf of the City College institution, which their board of directors decided to name after me, where there's a solicitation for funds.

RANGEL: In all of the letters that were sent to not-for-profit foundations, rather than as they say to people who may have business before my committee, I encourage them to meet with City College to learn more about the program.

In the three areas that you can say is not listed that I was writing to a foundation, one of them was writing to David Rockefeller, and in my mind -- I was really writing to the Rockefeller foundation, but if you want to say David Rockefeller has business before my committee -- well, he wakes in the morning, I assume, just breathing he has business before my committee. But it was a Dear David letter. And I've known the guy, and his brother better when he was governor of New York.

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