Upon hearing that DC House Member Eleanor Holmes Norton was out soliciting lobbyists with issues before her Congressional Committee, Congressman Charles Rangel realized that, he too was Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which among other things, oversees Taxation, Social Security and Medicare. With this in mind, he too decides to ask for cash from those whose livelihood his work in Congress has impacted; Every taxpayer in the US. Since there are too many to call, he decides to email everyone.
Here is a copy of one of his solicitation emails:
Dear Taxpayer/Social Security or Medicare Recipient,
This is Congresswoman Charlie Rangel. Uh, I noticed that you have given to uh, other colleagues in Congress.
I am a, um, Senior Member, a thirty nine year veteran and recent Chair of the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. I’ve handled the writing of our tax laws which govern how much taxes people pay and how much (if any) benefits people receive.
I was, frankly, uh, surprised to see that we don’t have a record, so far as I can tell, of your having given to me despite my uh, long and deep uh, work. In fact, it’s been my major work, uh, on the committee and it’s been essentially having a direct impact on your quality of life.
I am, I’m simply candidly calling to ask for a contribution. As a recent senior member of the um, committee, we have (chuckles) obligations to raise, uh funds. And, I think it must have been me who hasn’t, frankly, uh, done my homework to ask for a contribution earlier. So I’m trying to make up for it by asking for one now, when we particularly, uh, need, uh contributions, particularly those of us who have the seniority and chairmanships and are in a position to raise the funds.
I’m asking you to give to Rangel for Congress. I’ll send you a follow-up note with appreciation for having heard me out. Thanks again. - Transcript found at Big Government
Clearly, he didn't send this email. But if Congresswoman Norton can solicit funds as she has been caught doing, then Congressman Rangel can solicit as I suggest above. This is merely an example of why this kind of donation solicitation is wrong. Her message sounded like a shakedown. Given that the recipient released the message to the press, he clearly thought so as well.