WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House Ethics Committee announced Tuesday it is expanding its investigation into Rep. Charles Rangel.
In a statement the committee said, “…the investigative subcommittee shall have the additional jurisdiction to determine if Representative Rangel violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation, or other standard of conduct….with respect to contributions of money or pledges of contributions of money to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York from any person or entity associate with Nabors Industries.”
Recent press reports have raised questions into Rangel’s support of a tax break for Nabors Industries, a company which donated money to the City College academic center building bearing his name.
Rangel is already under investigation for using official letterhead to solicit funds for that same building, along with using a rent controlled apartment in New York for his political committee and for failing to pay taxes on a resort home the congressman owns in the Dominican Republic.
A congressional source tells CNN the expanded investigation does not include the matter of Rangel steering $80,000 to his son to design his campaign Web site.
Rangel told reporters Tuesday that in light of the allegations of ethical violations he still does not intend to step down from his chairmanship of a key tax writing committee.
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (CNN) – Former presidential candidate Steve Forbes announced Tuesday he would serve as honorary chair of Ken Blackwell’s campaign to be the next Republican National Committee chairman, describing the former Ohio secretary of state as a “reliable conservative … who can broaden the appeal of the Republican Party.”
Forbes, who sought the GOP nomination in 1996 and 2000, declared his support in an afternoon email to RNC members.
“Ken brings a winning political record to the table, having been victorious 13 of the 17 times that his name has been listed on a primary or general election ballot,” Forbes wrote in the email. “The significance of his three successful statewide elections in Ohio as a Republican should not be understated.”
Forbes is the editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine.
Blackwell jumped into the race for RNC chair late last week, joining a crowded field of contenders interested in leading the national committee. RNC members are scheduled to convene in late January to vote for their next chair.
See the full text of Forbes email after the jump.
(CNN) – Want to apply for a job in the Obama administration? You may think twice when you hear about the privacy-invading background search. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, what happens to that personal information when the application process ends? From credit reports, private emails, and incriminating photos, CNN’s Jason Carroll has the details.
Also: Online thieves attempt to gain access to top-secret information from the pentagon, state department, and NASA every day. One commission says that the Obama administration will face more cyber attacks than any previous administration. CNN’s Jeanne Meserve takes a closer look.
America’s infrastructure has been neglected for decades as water systems, bridges, roads, and electrical grids are currently out-of-date. Barack Obama says he can fix it, and create jobs. So how exactly will the president-elect do it? CNN’s Chris Lawrence has the story in the latest “Memo to the President.”
Plus: President-elect Obama and former Vice President Al Gore met Tuesday to discuss environmental policy and job creation, but their talk is raising speculation. CNN’s Elaine Quijano tells us why.
Finally: President Bush gets down. CNN’s Jeanne Moos takes a look at the lighter side of the presdent
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(CNN) – The presidential inauguration party tops the list of formal affairs next January, and President-elect Barack Obama is rumored to be preparing for his big event: He’s believed to have ordered a simple and classic black tuxedo by the union-friendly suburban Illinois-designer Hart Schaffner Marx, a stylist to which the president-elect is said to be faithful, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But most likely all eyes will be on the future first lady’s outfit. So, what will Michelle Obama wear on her husband’s big day?
Women’s Wear Daily is featuring sketches by high-profile designers on its Web site of possible Inauguration Day outfits for Mrs. Obama and among the contenders are simple and classic designer Nicole Miller, the elegant and timeless Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, and the funky and youthful California-based fashionista Betsey Johnson.
And the Obama girls were not forgotten. The Web site features drawings of potential outfits for Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, from dressy skirted coats to children’s gowns.
Mrs. Obama, who is often compared to former first lady and style icon Jackie Kennedy, took some heat for her election night attire as she donned an attention-grabbing red and black Narciso Rodriguez shift dress.
The future first lady has said she often sports modestly priced labels like J.Crew and Donna Rico, and favors local Chicago designer Maria Pinto. But Inauguration Day could call for a pricier piece, and fashion’s elite are prepared. Whatever the future first lady decides for Inauguration Day, the fashion world will surely be watching.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With former Vice President Al Gore at his side, President-elect Barack Obama said Tuesday it's time the issue of climate change is dealt with in a "serious way."
"The time for delay is over, the time for denial is over," the president-elect told reporters after the private meeting with Gore and Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
Obama did not specifically say what role Gore would play on the issue of Climate change, though he pledged to work with "a whole host of stakeholders on this issues, including Vice President Gore."
Shortly before the scheduled meeting, a spokeswoman for Al Gore said the former vice president, who reportedly sought the sit down with Obama, was not seeking an official position in the new administration.
But he meeting's announcement on Monday immediately unleashed speculation about what Gore's exact role in an Obama White House could be.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Obama said the purpose of the meeting was hear Gore's positions on a host of environmental issues and his ideas for how new environmental polices can spur job creation and jumpstart the economy.
"We have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country, to re-power America, to redesign how we use energy, to think about how we are increasing efficiency, to make our economy stronger, make us more safe, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and make us competitive for decades to come, even as we are saving the planet," Obama said.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appeared in court Tuesday afternoon to hear corruption charges against him. Bail was set at $4,500, and Blagojevich was then released on his own recognizance.
He also had to forfeit his passport.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Peter King, R-New York, said Tuesday he's interested in running for Hillary Clinton's senate seat in 2010.
King's spokesman, Kevin Fogarty, told CNN that the eight term Congressman is "very interested, but he hasn't made a decision."
Fogarty also confirmed to CNN comments King made earlier in the day to the Associated Press that he is "seriously considering the race for Hillary Clinton's seat" and that New York State GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello "supports me 100 percent."
Fogarty said King is meeting with his campaign advisors next week to talk about a senate bid and would consider a run regardless of whether or not he could face Caroline Kennedy.
President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Clinton to serve as his secretary of state. If confirmed by the Senate, Clinton would resign her seat in the chamber after being sworn in as secretary of state soon after Obama is inaugurated as President on January 20th.
Clinton's successor would be appointed by New York Governor David Paterson, a fellow Democrat. There are about a dozen Democrats in competition for the seat. Among them is Caroline Kennedy, who has had a conversation with Paterson regarding the position.
Whomever Paterson names would serve the next two years, until a special election is held in November 2010 to fill the remaining two years of Clinton's term.
King represents New York's 3rd congressional district, which is located on Long Island. He is currently ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee and is also on the Financial Services Committee.
GOP strategist Kevin Madden says King "has a very strong base in downstate New York and appeals to the constituencies in Albany and surrounding counties."
(CNN) - Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday he wants a special election called to fill President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat.
At a press conference with reporters on Capitol Hill, Durbin said he wants the Illinois legislature to act quickly to pass a law setting a special election in light of news Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been charged with seeking financial gain over the appointment.
Currently Blagojevich has the sole authority to select Obama's successor, and is still able to do so unless he resigns or is impeached from office.
"No appointment by this governor under these circumstances could produce a credible replacement," Durbin said.
In the press conference with reporters, Durbin also defended his state, saying the vast majority of politicians in Illinois are honest.
"I believe that the overwhelming majority of politicians in Illinois and outside are honest, hard-working people in both political parties," he said. "There will always be exceptions in both political parties who – when given the opportunity to use power – misuse it."
WEST POINT, New York (CNN) - With his days in office dwindling and
criticism of his record mounting, an unapologetic President Bush strongly defended his administration's foreign and defense policies - including his controversial decision to invade Iraq and the tenure of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - in an address Tuesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
"Within weeks of September the 11th, our armed forces began taking the fight to the terrorists around the world," Bush said to an assembly of West Point cadets. "And we have not stopped."
Bush asserted that, in the more than seven years since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the U.S. and its allies had "applied the full range of military and intelligence assets" to "severely weaken" terrorist networks and kill hundreds of al Qaeda leaders.
At the same time, however, he conceded that the military and the incoming Obama administration will face a volatile situation in a number of hot spots around the globe in the years ahead - particularly along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where "ungoverned spaces" remain a safe haven for a significant number of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.
"We have made it clear to Pakistan and to all our partners that we will do what is necessary to protect American troops and the American people," said Bush, who has been criticized by the Pakistani government for launching missile attacks against suspected terrorist targets inside the country's borders.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Hours after federal investigators announced they had arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff on corruption charges, U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald declared Tuesday a "sad day for government."
"Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," he said. "This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave."
Fitzgerald said the government had bugged the governor's campaign office and placed a tap on his home phone.