August 30th, 2007
12:54 PM ET
11 years ago

Lawmaker seeks $64,500 for his portrait

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

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Josh, Atlanta GA

    While I am concerned about the expense of such a portrait, I am wondering how much was spent on the portrait of the last Republican to hold this Chairmanship...

    August 30, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. David, Los Angeles, CA

    Let him answer to his donors and constituents. My representative, to whom I would gladly donate, would never dream of such a thing. Something is rotten in the state of New York. Just goes to show you incredible arrogance is not the exclusive domain of Republicans. Shame on Rangel for eating cake while people starve.

    August 30, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. James Burroughs, Augusta, GA

    Are we full of ourself or what? What a disgrace. These officials are elected to represent the people in their states and the country as a whole. If they cared as much about their sworn duty as their vanity and ego this country would be better off. What a waste of taxpayers money. I think it is high time the national elected officials start thinking of the country and not themselves.

    August 30, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Tricia M. Charlottetown PEI

    The millions of starving people in our world. The number of Katrina Victims without homes. The number of sick children around the world. The number of children with aids. The Dafur disaster. The Iraquis left homeless. The US military lacking proper equipment. Etc ETc Etc I could list another page of worthy causes throughout the world.

    And this man wants $64,500 to hang a framed photo of himself. He gives Vanity a whole new meaning!

    Utterly Disgusting. Nuff Said. If the
    NY Democrats bite on this one they can Kiss the White House Good Bye!

    August 30, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Ryan, New York, NY

    I'm gathering from some of the comments that many of you don't understand why Rangel has made calls to reintroduce the draft. It's so that when a nation goes to war, everyone pays for it, not just the poor and lower-middle class. People like Pat Tillman aren't the norm for a volunteer military.

    August 30, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. David, Salinas, CA

    No argument from the left on this one, folks. I agree with everybody else.

    This is wasteful, offensive and sadly typical Washington D.C., where $65K (twice my salary as a community college professor) is small change.

    August 30, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. Skel, San Francisco, CA

    Official portraits of elected officials are an important part of our heritage and history. This is an important tradition that should be kept alive. The price is a standard price for a work of art by a qualified artist. What's the problem?

    August 30, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    Ahhh Government waste. Don't you love it!

    August 30, 2007 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. Eric V. - St. Paul, MN

    You can't deny him his right to a $64K portrait or else he'll call you a racist.

    August 30, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. Thomas Edwards, II

    yet another way to rip off the tax payer, that man should be impeached or just voted out. For sure he lost my vote. i've seen unique collected artists work for less than 5000. why not use a normal artist. why support already famous and rich artists??? artists, normally democrats, wouldn't you want to think your vote again, before dishing it out to all thse crooks!!!

    August 30, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. Chris Barber, Bloomington, IN

    I really believe that is time for the American people to reassess the choices that we make as to who should be awarded the priviledge of representing us. If the people of New York think that this is a worthwhile display of how their campaign contributions should be spent, then they definitely deserve Rep. Rangel.

    August 30, 2007 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  12. HF, New York, NY,

    Ridiculous as he is.

    August 30, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  13. Terry, El Paso, TX

    A good digital photograph can be blown up to poster size and put in a good frame. It would be a better likeness than any portrait. A good frame might cost a hundred bucks. This is how our government should be thinking: thrift, conservation, economy, a penny saved is a penny earned.

    A restaurant hostess making 7 bucks an hour would have to work 4 years and 5 months to pay for that portrait - assuming she paid no taxes.

    August 31, 2007 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  14. Konni, Detroit MI

    ARE THEY SERIOUS!??!? We have deadly diseases killing people by the min and no cures, and we have AMERICANS living on the streets and homeless! WAKE UP PEOPLE! NOBODY needs to spend that much $$$ on a picture when there are a million more important things that $$$ could be used for!!!

    August 31, 2007 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  15. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Maybe these politicians wouldn't act like little gods if their constituents had the brains to vote them out before their egos expanded.

    August 31, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. John Thomas

    Classic "do as I say, not as I do" move by a Dem. Pretty sure the media hungry Rangel will stay quiet on this one...Probably sharpton and j jackson too...

    September 1, 2007 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. David, Salinas, CA

    On a number of occasions on this blog I have defended CNN from charges of bias. Now, for the first time I’m beginning to doubt CNN’s journalistic integrity.

    There are a number of possible explanations for the lack of “comment” links on the Ticker for the last couple of days.

    CNN’s refusal to explain this situation as either a technical difficulty or a change of policy is unprofessional and rude.

    CNN’s deletion of comments on this policy is cowardice and unethical journalism.

    To the person who’s going to delete this: Is this why you went to J-School?

    September 1, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Scotty, Ocala, FL

    $60,000 for a portrait. When campaign
    funds are used in this manner it is a slap in every conributor's face. This Democrat is another over the hill DC employee that should retire.

    September 2, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. Gabe, Mesa, AZ

    I'll paint his portrait for half that price. It'll make everyone happy. What, not cheap enough.. Ok, 1/4 the price. $15k and that's with a frame.

    November 18, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
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