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Charlie Rangel Charged With 13 Violations of House Rules

3 years ago
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The House Ethics Committee formally charged Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Thursday with 13 counts of violating the rules of the House of Representatives. The charges were announced at a hearing of the committee on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.) chaired the 21-month investigation and laid out the charges against the congressman. They include charges that Rangel used public resources for personal gain, omitted hundreds of thousands of dollars on his financial disclosure forms, violated the House franking statute, and engaged in conduct "reflecting discredibility on the House."

Rangel did not attend the hearing, but his attorneys filed a response to the committee's charges, calling them "deeply flawed."

"The undisputed evidence in the record . . . is that Congressman Rangel did not dispense any political favors, that he did not intentionally violate any law, rule or regulation, and that he did not misuse his public office for private gain," they wrote.

During its investigation, a subcommittee conducted 50 depositions, met three times with Rangel, met more than 60 times altogether, and reviewed 26,000 pages of documents.

"I think it's safe to say none of us enjoyed this assignment," Green said.

Although a New York television station reported Thursday morning that Rangel, 80, had reached a deal with the committee that would be announced within hours, Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) said at the hearing that Rangel had rejected several offers to avoid a congressional trial in exchange for admitting wrongdoing.

"He chose to move forward into this public trial phase," Bonner said.

Bonner, who is the top Republican on the ethics committee, said in closing, "No one, regardless of their partisan stripes, should rejoice."

Thursday's proceedings come almost two years after Rangel -- who was elected to Congress 40 years ago -- asked the committee to investigate him in the wake of several media reports that raised questions about his tax filings and personal financial disclosure reports to the House.

The committee's charges touched on many of the allegations raised in the media, including that Rangel failed to report to the Internal Revenue Service years of rental income on his villa in the Dominican Republic; that he used House letterhead and postage to solicit donations for a school named in his honor at City College in New York; and that he has for years been allowed to rent four rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, a violation of the House gift ban.

If Rangel and the committee fail to come to a settlement in the coming weeks, the committee will hold a hearing, likely in September, that will feature staff attorneys making their case against Rangel. The congressman and his attorneys will present their case as well; both sides will be allowed to offer evidence and call witnesses.

If Rangel is found to have violated House rules, a sentencing hearing will decide his punishment, which could include a fine, censure, reprimand or expulsion.

Without a plea deal in sight, the already drawn-out process now threatens to bleed into the crucial fall midterm election cycle, a political reality so distasteful that three House Democrats have already called on Rangel to resign rather than continue the very public ethics battle.

Earlier this year, Rangel stepped down from his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee under pressure from fellow Democrats. Rangel insisted then that his resignation from the tax-writing committee was temporary, and that he would take back his post when he is cleared of the charges. Since then, he has defiantly maintained a high profile on Capitol Hill and in his Harlem district, maintaining his innocence at every opportunity.

On Wednesday, he gave a speech to the Urban League, saying, "Whether it's personal or political, life ain't no crystal stair."

On Thursday, Rangel walked back and forth from his office to cast votes. The congressman admitted to reporters the ethics investigation is taking a toll on him. "Sixty years ago I survived a Chinese attack in North Korea and as a result I wrote a book saying that I hadn't had a bad day since," he said. "Today I have to reassess that statement."

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246 Comments

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rymer46

we live in a sad time these politics willsell us all out

August 13 2010 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Glenn

Thursday's proceedings come almost two years after Rangel -- who was elected to Congress 40 years ago -- asked the committee to investigate him in the wake of several media reports that raised questions about his tax filings and personal financial disclosure reports to the House.

****He(Rep. Charlie Rangel ) asked for the investigation *****
He has not been proven gulity of anything!!!!!

August 12 2010 at 4:50 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
ejayeff

It took 21 months to decide? No wonder our Government is so bad. If that was you
or me, the judge would have us in jail in 2 minutes.

August 07 2010 at 6:26 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
phefnero

Vote these corrupt bums out of office. Your vote is the solution to the corruption problem. No incumbents of any party! The longer they stay in office, the more entitled they feel they are and the more out of touch with "Main Street" they get. Goodbye Mr. Rangel. Enjoy your retirement at taxpayer expense. Go away!

August 03 2010 at 9:21 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to phefnero's comment
Glenn

Who has proved he done anything wrong?

August 12 2010 at 4:41 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
sitokhan1

Why do they go after lefty Rangel, but ignore NeoCon Sen David Vitter's buying hookers and Sen John Cornyn accepting subsidized living at a secret cult house at C Street? Where's the investigations? Where is the outrage?

August 01 2010 at 2:01 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
teddy9463

wow the finally caught up with him, its about time.

August 01 2010 at 11:32 AM Report abuse +17 rate up rate down Reply
rgintz

We can all post our opinions here, but we should also accept the fact our elected officials don't visit these sites on a regular basis. Please contact your representatives and demand that they support consequences that fit the crimes. It is just too easy for all of them to attempt to dispense with this "inconvenience" by letting one of their own get by with a meaningless consequence. We need to start letting them know our thoughts or we have only ourselves to blame.

July 30 2010 at 11:17 PM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply
Nanny

come on old man give it up and leave the sceen with some dignity, don't stay and compound the errors.

July 30 2010 at 8:08 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
Margaret

Why do politicians have to stay in office until they die? Rangel should retire and not undo they good he has done!

July 30 2010 at 7:58 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
happyone6470

Just heard that the committee may have reached a deal with Rangel . Only a reprimand will be given .Nothing else . Another slap on the wrist as usual .

July 30 2010 at 3:47 PM Report abuse +19 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to happyone6470's comment
conservgirl8

If this is true, it's a travesty.

July 30 2010 at 4:42 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

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