Published August 28, 2009
Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Million Dollar Hideaway
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel has filed new disclosure documents revealing his net worth is double what he originally said it was. The Democrat from New York is already under investigation for various tax and financial issues.
Rangel's amended disclosure forms include previously undisclosed assets worth as much as $780,000 — including an omitted checking account worth up to a half-million dollars, unreported investment portfolios of up to $50,000 and another fund of $100,000.
The New York Post concludes Rangel failed to reveal $3 million in various business transactions between 2002 and 2006, including up to $1 million from the sale of a Harlem building that city records show Rangel still owns. Rangel's office told The Wall Street Journal he is now confident the amended records are accurate.
The Washington Post editorial board is calling out President Obama on what it calls his wrong-headed decision to end the D.C. school voucher program, allowing low-income children to attend private schools.
The newspaper cites research by education expert Patrick Wolf, who says the program has, "proven to be the most effective education policy evaluated by the federal government's official education research arm so far."
The Fix Is In
The president of Belarus is admitting he rigged the last presidential election in favor of his opponent.
Alexander Lukashenko says his popularity is so vast that the true margin of victory in the 2006 election was unbelievable and had to be lowered. He told a Russian newspaper: "I gave the order for it to be not 93 percent, but something around 80... Because when you get over 90, this is not accepted psychologically."
Lukashenko has led the former Soviet Republic since 1994 and has been dubbed "Europe's last dictator" for his authoritarian rule.
Front Page Rage
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is suing Italian and foreign media outlets for libel over their reporting of his stormy personal life. The media have focused in recent months on Berlusconi's alleged affairs with young women, and the deterioration of his second marriage.
On Friday, the prime minister was supposed to attend an annual forgiveness of sins observance alongside the Vatican's No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and then have dinner with him. But the Vatican canceled the dinner and Berlusconi's office confirmed he wouldn't go at all.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.