8:20 am May. 8, 2012
The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a new super PAC bent on purging incumbents of both parties, has decided to make Charlie Rangel a target.
"Charlie Rangel is a model of the long-term incumbent who becomes too comfortable with the special interests that infest Washington," the group said in a release this morning. "As chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Rangel was responsible for extending the notorious tax break that allowed GE to pay zero taxes on billions of dollars of profits."
The release made no mention of Rangel's ethics violations, and the GE criticism would be a relatively new line of attack against the incumbent.
The group also singled out State Senator Adriano Espaillat, one of three Rangel challengers, for praise.
"Senator Espaillat’s solid record and proven popular support make him a strong, credible challenger who will work for the people of his district when he goes to Congress," said the release. "Adriano Espaillat represents a new generation and brings a fresh perspective sorely needed in Washington."
The Campaign for Primary Accountability is based in Houston and receives the bulk of its funding from a handful of Texas conservatives. Through the end of March it had raised $1.6 million, including a controversial donation from the PAC of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, which he claimed was earmarked for a Republican primary in Illinois. The campaign has already helped defeat Ohio Republican Jean Schmidt, and Pennsylvania Democrat Tim Holden, who, like Rangel, serves as the dean of the state's congressional delegation.
A spokesman for the group said their commitment to Rangel's race would be "six figures," which might be enough to change the dynamic in the race.
Espaillat, one of Rangel's primary opponents, has so far refused to launch much direct criticism at the congressman, who he has praised in the past. With outside help he might not have to.