Internal Memo: Charles B. Rangel

  • Aretha Franklin fell down in her bathtub and now she can’t make it to my birthday party next month. It was an accident and a mistake, just like all the mistakes I’ve made that are now being misconstrued as crimes. Would you put Aretha on trial for falling down in her bathtub? My supposed crimes are merely the tax-related, campaign-finance, free-parking, Caribbean-villa, rum-bailout, fund-raising-through-tax shelter, etc., etc. equivalents of a fall in the bathtub. To be honest, I fall down in the bathtub all the goddamn time.
  • Who, given the opportunity, wouldn’t rent a few extra apartments at below-market rates? The rent is too damn high in this town. I mean, if you were living in a rent-stabilized apartment and the one next door came up for rent, wouldn’t you grab it? And the other one next door? And the other one next door? And the other one next door? Rent-stabilized! How else are you gonna live in this city?
  • Look, you gotta live somewhere, and if you got a car, you gotta park it somewhere. All I have done is live and park. They said my Benz was parked for too long. Well, I was taking the bus and the train, riding with the people, and I didn’t want my Benz exposed to the elements. Basically I’ve been hung up on the Congressional equivalent of a parking ticket, plus all that other stuff.
  • This whole thing started over my use of letterhead. You can believe I will never use any damn letterhead ever again. From now on, expect your solicitations for donations to fund buildings and institutions named after me, fund my campaigns, rent me cheap apartments or fly me to the Virgin Islands on plain old copy paper.
  • My service on the House Ways and Means Committee has taught me a lot about money. I have been negligent, however, in applying these lessons to my own life. But show me the man who has never made a mistake on his taxes. And show me another man who has not made even more mistakes on his taxes when he had to fill out half the forms in Spanish. It’s true, I’m fluent in the language, but like my old friend Jorge used to say, Democracia: es una superstición muy difundida, un abuso de la estadística.
Internal Memo: Charles B. Rangel