Mystery Solved: Rangel Fined for Illegal Campaign Posters

Posted April 20, 2010 at 2:37pm

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) paid nearly $26,000 in New York City fines in January as a result of 340 tickets for illegal campaign posters, a city agency confirmed Tuesday.

On Monday, a spokesman for the former Ways and Means chairman, who listed the payment in his most recent campaign finance report, declined to identify the reason for the fines.

But the New York City Environmental Control Board said Tuesday that the lawmaker made the payment for fines issued for illegal campaign posters between September and November 2008.

“Those were for illegal postings,” said the board’s deputy counsel, Peter Schulman.

Under regulations enforced by the New York Sanitation Department, the city prohibits individuals — including political campaigns — from affixing posters to any public surface. Tickets for violations range from $75 to $200 for a first offense and $150 to $400 for a subsequent offense.

According to the Almanac of American Politics, Rangel spent $4.2 million on his 2008 campaign, the period when he received the tickets, and received 89 percent of the vote. His Republican challenger Edward Daniels spent no money and received 8 percent of the vote.

Fines for campaign posters are not unusual in New York political campaigns. The New York Post reported in October that New York City Comptroller John Liu was fined a record $588,000 for illegal posters after receiving 7,840 violations during his 2009 campaign.

Rangel, who faces a long-running ethics investigation into his personal finances and other matters, has also paid more than $1.5 million to date on legal fees, and his fundraising is no longer keeping up with expenses. He raised just $108,000 in contributions in the most recent quarter, and his cash on hand shrank to $635,000.