Rangel is acting like a man who probably realizes he won’t have a job much longer. The NYPost.com is reporting that Rangel “raided” his own National Leadership PAC for a total of $393,000 to pay for his defense in the upcoming House ethics trial, which begins this week.
Legal experts have said that this violates House ethics policy.
Leadership PACs are typically used by politicians to donate money to other candidates.
But Rangel seems to have run afoul of House ethics rules. Lawmakers are generally allowed to use campaign cash to pay their lawyers, but this is limited to money in their personal campaign committee and they must ask permission first, the campaign-finance lawyer said.
"The only campaign funds that a member may use to pay for congressional expenses are funds of his or her principal campaign committee -- not the funds of a leadership PAC or a multicandidate committee," according to the House Ethics Manual.
Legal fees tied to a campaign, election or performance of official duties are considered congressional expenses.
"Accepting money or payment for legal expenses from any other source, including a PAC, would be a gift and is barred by the House rules," the lawyer said.
It boggles the mind that a corrupt politician, going on trial for a host of transgressions of Congress’ ethics rules, would breach Congress’ ethics rules to pay for his defense.
Or, does it?