A House of Representatives subcommittee opens an investigation into Rep. Charles “Charlie” Rangel for using his position and government materials to raise funds for his own projects.
In 2004, Rangel began work on creating his own version of the Clinton Presidential Center, the Rangel Center, dedicated to preserving his contributions to the country.
In September 2005, Rangel sent a letter to Donald Trump in hopes of procuring funds for the project. The letter was sent on congressional letterhead displaying the Great Seal of the United States and the words “House of Representatives.”
Rangel sent another letter to Trump with the same letterhead in March 2007. But this time, he had his taxpayer-funded staff put the letter together during their work hours.
Trump was not the only potential donor that Rangel used government materials to solicit for funding, but his behavior went a step further than that. Rangel lobbied for funding for the City College of New York — where Rangel Center was to be built — to be inserted into a bill. That bill became law.
Rangel also met with Trump multiple times between 2005 and 2008 to discuss the project. In 2007, the college offered to create “Trump Hall” in exchange for a contribution of $10 million — or other projects for less.
Trump reportedly never contributed to the Rangel Center.
Rangel’s relationship with Trump over the 10 years since he first pursued a contribution has been rocky.
In 2013, Trump publicly attacked Rangel for comparing tea party conservatives to “white crackers.” Trump said that the phrase is as bad as the “N” word and that anyone using that phrase should resign. It was a huge departure from his thoughts in 1999, when Trump said Rangel would be his choice for secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
During Trump’s 2016 campaign, Rangel told reporters that a Trump presidency “could be the end of the republic as we know it.”
Photo: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brian Gibbons, U.S. Force Korea PAO