House Panel to Try Rep. Rangel in Ethics Cases

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A House investigative subcommittee said it has “substantial reason to believe” that Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., used his political position for personal gain and violated other ethics rules. Rangel will appear before the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct next Thursday to hear a detailed account of the charges.

     “At that time, I will be able to respond,” Rangel said in a video statement published on his website. “I look forward to sharing that information with you,” he said, adding that he was “pleased that, at long last, sunshine will pierce the cloud of serious allegations that have been raised against me in the media.”
     Rangel stepped down as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee in March, after the House ethics committee released a report in late February finding that Rangel violated the legislative body’s gift rules by traveling on two corporate-funded trips to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.
     The committee cited evidence that Rangel’s staff knew that corporations had helped pay for the trips, and though the committee could not prove that Rangel had knowledge of it, he was responsible for “the knowledge and actions of his staff in the performance of their official duties.”
     On March 3, Rangel wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating, “I respectfully request a leave of absence from my duties and responsibilities as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means until such time as the Committee on Standards completes its findings on the review currently underway.”
     House Ethics Committee Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said he will chair an adjudicatory subcommittee to look into separate allegations, raised in 2008, that Rangel used his political position for personal gain. He allegedly used congressional letterhead to raise money for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York and failed to report all income on annual disclosure forms.
     Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., Kathy Castor, D-Fla., Peter Welch, D-Vt., Mike Conaway, R-Texas, Charles Dent, R-Penn., and Gregg Harper, R-Miss., will also serve on the subcommittee.
     The bipartisan subcommittee will release its report on the allegations next Thursday.
     “I will be glad to respond to the allegations at such time as the ethics committee makes them public,” Rangel said.
     The allegations come 100 days before November midterm elections, when Rangel is up for reelection to represent New York’s 15th District, which covers Harlem.
     Rangel’s campaign manager, Kevin Wardally, wrote on his Twitter page that Rangel “has not been charged — the matter has been referred to the full cmte — nothing more.”
     Rangel’s office said the announcement amounts to a recommendation by the investigative subcommittee for another committee to look into its findings.
     If the subcommittee substantiates the findings, Rangel may face a letter of rebuke, expulsion or censure — a House vote on a resolution disapproving a member’s conduct, according to House disciplinary rules.
     Rangel, 80, has served in Congress since 1971.

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