The city and the Yankees secretly crafted a letter Rep. Charles Rangel used to lobby the IRS for tax changes that would save the team $66 million, the Daily News has learned.
They did this at the same time Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and the team's law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, raised almost $25,000 for Rangel, records show.
The law firm's political action committee also donated an additional $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in this election cycle. Rangel is chairman of the DCCC's board of directors and a key fund-raiser for House Democrats. Yankees President Randy Levine is senior counsel at Akin Gump.
Rep. Charles Rangel lobbied IRS for tax breaks on behalf of Yankees
IRS regulations adopted in the mid-1980s - at the request of the late New York Sen. Daniel Moynihan - restrict the use of tax-free financing for sports arenas.
In 2006, the city got the IRS to grant an exception that allowed the Yankees to obtain $942 million in tax-exempt bonds - but the cost of the stadium began to rise, and the exception expired.
Now the Yankees say they need $350 million more in tax-free bonds, so they're pressing the IRS for another exception.
On Jan. 4, Levine e-mailed an unsigned Rangel letter to then-Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff along with "talking points" explaining the need to change the IRS regulations.
Rangel has received campaign contributions from the Yankees and Akin Gump for years, but in this election cycle - after he became chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee - the contributions spiked to $24,950.
Some of the donations appear to be choreographed to get around the $4,600 limit on how much an individual can give a congressional candidate. Last summer, 14 Akin Gump lawyers made $250 to $1,000 donations for a total of $12,850.
Yankees executives, Akin Gump lawyers and Akin Gump's political action committee have raised $45,000 for Rangel and his affiliated National Leadership PAC since 2000.
Now Mr. Brodsky's going to Washington to expose the whole sordid thing.
Wonder who was enlisted to get tax breaks for the Mets...