Rep. Charles Rangel’s ongoing ethics probe is taking a serious toll–on his campaign war chest.
In the last three months of 2009 alone, Rangel shelled out $574,348 on lawyers, according to his latest federal election filings. That’s 84% of his total campaign spending during the same period.
Ever since Rangel ran afoul of several ethical rules last year–from unreported income on a Dominican Republic villa to using office letterhead to raise money–his five teams of lawyers have chewed through campaign cash faster than Rangel can raise it.
During all of 2009, Rangel raised about $1.3 million, but spent more than $1.5 million on lawyers out of the $2.2 million he spent in total.
The powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee ended the year with $770,589 in his account–and that’s off his normal fund-raising pace by about $2 million.
He already has one announced primary challenger: Vincent Morgan, a banker who once headed one of Rangel’s reelection campaigns.