Two Dem$ flee Rangel tangle

March 8, 2010

WASHINGTON — Two New York Democrats have forfeited campaign cash they got from Rep. Charles Rangel, bowing to Republican criticism that the tainted money links them to the “Rangel scandal.”


Rep. Tim Bishop (D-LI) told The Post he will give back the entire $15,000 from Rangel. Rep. Mike McMahon (D-SI), meanwhile, said he’ll return just $1,000 of the $70,000 he got from the disgraced Harlem Democrat.


A spokesman for McMahon insisted all of the money was clean, but said McMahon nevertheless would return $1,000 received after ethics investigations of Rangel opened in July 2008.


“These accusations about contributions from Congressman Rangel are a manufactured issue, plain and simple. Congressman McMahon’s potential opponents would like nothing more than to see him with less money in his coffers,” the campaign wrote in a statement to The Post.


So far, 30 other House Democrats nationwide have returned $418,000 from the Rangel Victory Fund, rather than suffer criticism of ties to a symbol of Washington corruption.


Rangel stepped down last week as chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee amid a wide-ranging ethics probe.


The money from Rangel quickly became political napalm.


Republicans are hitting Democratic incumbents from coast to coast, including Rep. John Hall of Dutchess County, for keeping $21,000, and Rep. Dan Maffei of Syracuse, for keeping $97,000.


Bishop eventually gave to charity $15,000 he received from Rangel, donating the money to help build a veterans’ monument in Smithtown.


McMahon gave $1,000 to the Wounded Warrior charity in the Brooklyn part of his district.


Additional reporting by Amber Sutherland