Rep. Rangel is seeking to use his campaign cash to pay for a portrait.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – It’s one of the perks of being the top lawmaker on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee: an official portrait to hang in the committee's hearing room.
And Chairman Charles Rangel, D-New York, wants to make sure his portrait is the cream of the crop.
In a letter dated August 20, Rangel's attorney asks the Federal Election Commission if the New York Democrat can use $64,500 from his campaign funds to commission the portrait in question - a price, the attorney says, that "is commensurate with the usual and normal charge for works by artists of similar renown." (Read Letter [PDF])
"Portrait artists determine fees based largely upon reputation, but the size of the subject and detail required also factor heavily in the pricing," writes Rangel's attorney, Phu Huynh.
Huynh, who consulted an "art broker for eight museum-quality portrait artists," said the chosen artist's base price is normally between $30,000 to $50,000, but the cost of a custom frame, "three-quarter body length size" and "important details" jack up the price.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney