Thursday, July 29, 2010

Boccieri Caught in Double Talk on Dirty Campaign Dollars

Canton, OH — In the wake of revelations last week that a House investigatory panel has charged Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y) with ethics violations, many House Democrats continue to distance themselves from the corrupt Congressman and purge their campaign coffers of his tainted donations. The decision by Democrats to dump or donate Rangel’s money began months ago as a string of corruption allegations, ranging from improper use of taxpayer dollars to filing fraudulent financial disclosures, began to surface. While dozens of House Democrats have returned or donated Rangel’s contributions, including Ohio members Zack Space and Mary Jo Kilroy, Rep. John Boccieri has remained defiant, refusing to part with the $53,200 he has taken from Rangel.

Boccieri’s refusal to rid his campaign coffers of Rangel’s contributions directly contradicts the position he took in the state legislature when he verbally chastised Ohio Republicans over campaign contributions they received from political fundraiser Tom Noe, who at the time was facing a federal investigation into violations of FEC law. Despite the fact that Republicans in the Ohio Statehouse had already committed Noe’s tainted donations to charity, Boccieri insisted that ridding their campaign accounts of Noe’s money didn’t go far enough and he demanded that Republicans be stripped of committee chairmanships and recuse themselves from legislative matters for having accepted the contributions in the first place. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on June 2, 2005, “Rep. John Boccieri, a Mahoning County Democrat, asked that Rep. Stephen Buehrer step down as Chairman of the State Government Committee because of $8,000 in contributions (from Noe).”

After accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Rangel in 2007 and 2008, Boccieri neither stepped down from committee assignments nor recused himself from a vote to strip Rangel of his Chairmanship of the Ways & Means committee in 2009 (H.R. 805). In fact, Boccieri not only participated in the vote on H.R. 805, but voted against stripping Rangel of his Chairmanship.

“By desperately clinging to Charlie Rangel’s dirty campaign cash, John Boccieri has already demonstrated a clear lack of ethical integrity—but now it appears he is also guilty of blatant hypocrisy. Although John Boccieri has a long record of breaking his promises to the voters of the 16th district, he may salvage whatever remains of his shattered reputation by sparing his constituents any further embarrassment over their Congressman’s involvement in Charlie Rangel’s corrupt campaign contributions,” Renacci spokesman James Slepian said.