Report: Rangel Paid Son’s Company For Shoddy Web Design

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December 5, 2008 9:27 a.m.
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Looks like the man who takes the lead in writing our tax code, Rep. Charles Rangel, could be in more hot water.

Rangel, the New York Democrat who chairs the House Ways and Means committee, already faces an ethics investigation into claims that he didn’t pay taxes on income from a rental property and that he got a special deal on a group of Harlem apartments.

Now, Politico reports that, between 2004 and 2007, Rangel paid nearly $80,000 in campaign funds to a company run by his son, Steven Rangel, for two poorly designed websites that, according to an expert, should have cost no more than $900.

The payments to the company, Edisonian Innovative Works, are probably legal, says one campaign finance wonk, but “definitely wrong.”

The quality of work on the web site does appear shoddy. Politico describes it as “slapped together in a hurry, intermittently updated and never spell-checked.” The site notes:

An apologetic note near the top of the site warns readers that the page is undergoing “routine maintenace (sic)” and cautions that “much of our content is currently unavailable.”

Another button urges visitors to “Give Contribuition [sic].”

According to FEC filings looked at by Politico, the sum paid by Rangel for this prodcutwas the most paid for web sites by any House member. And Rangel has not faced a competitive race for his Harlem seat in decades, meaning there would appear to be even less need to spend so much on a campaign website.

Politico adds: “Rangel’s 2008 campaign site was designed and run by non-relatives for less than $25,000.”

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