July 29th, 2010
03:27 PM ET
8 years ago

Ethics panel charges Rangel with conduct discrediting the House

Rep. Charlie Rangel said Thursday he would not attend an ethics committee hearing on his alleged violations of House rules.

Rep. Charlie Rangel said Thursday he would not attend an ethics committee hearing on his alleged violations of House rules.

(CNN) - Rep. Charles Rangel said Thursday he does not plan to attend an ethics committee hearing on his alleged violations of House rules.

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday accused veteran Rep. Charles Rangel of 13 violations of House rules involving alleged financial wrongdoing and harming the credibility of Congress.

"Credibility is what's at stake here; the very credibility of the House itself before the American people," said Rep. Mike McCaul, the ranking Republican on a subcommittee that will hold a trial-like hearing on the charges against Rangel.

McCaul spoke at the subcommittee's first meeting, which heard the charges against Rangel, a 20-term Democrat from New York running for re-election this year. Rangel was not required to attend and did not show up.

According to committee documents, Rangel earlier filed a motion to dismiss the allegations against him that was denied.

Rangel said this week that his lawyers were in talks with committee lawyers on a possible deal to avoid the public hearing on his alleged violations. When Thursday's hearing was delayed for 55 minutes with no explanation, rumors of an imminent agreement quickly spread.

However, the panel gathered and held the hearing, which included the first public announcement of the specific committee charges against Rangel.

According to the charges, Rangel allegedly failed to report more than $600,000 on financial disclosure reports and improperly solicited funds for a project he supported at the City College of New York.

The committee also alleged that Rangel improperly used a rent-subsidized apartment as a campaign office and failed to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic.

McCaul said the allegations, if proven, would violate "the most fundamental code of conduct" for House members.

Rep. Gene Green of Texas, a Democrat who led a two-year ethics subcommittee investigation of Rangel, said it was a difficult job.

"The task is even more difficult when the subject has befriended and mentored so many new members, and I'm one of them," Green said.

Another ethics committee member, Republican Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama, said "this is truly a sad day where no one, regardless of their partisan stripes, should rejoice."

Rangel temporarily stepped down as Ways and Means Committee chairman earlier this year following the announcement of an ethics investigation of several allegations, including failure to pay taxes on the Dominican Republic residence.

The congressman has also admitted a failure to report several hundred thousand dollars in assets on federal disclosure forms. In addition, he is under scrutiny for the purported misuse of a rent-controlled apartment for political purposes, as well as for allegedly preserving tax benefits for an oil-drilling company in exchange for donations to a project he supported at the City College of New York.

The House ethics committee previously admonished Rangel for violating rules on receiving gifts. Specifically, the committee found that Rangel violated House gift rules by accepting reimbursement payments for travel to conferences in the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.

Rangel, whose autobiography that discusses his Korean War experience is titled "And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since," told reporters earlier Thursday that "I have to reassess that (statement)" in light of the pending hearing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday - in response to a question about Rangel - that there must be "accountability" and "transparency" in cases of ethical transgressions.

"Holding a high ethical standard is a serious responsibility ... and a top priority" for the House Democratic leadership, she said. In terms of political fallout from cases such as Rangel's, "the chips will fall where they may," she said.

Congressional Democrats have reportedly expressed concern that an extended public airing of the charges against Rangel could damage the party's prospects in the November midterm elections.

- CNN's Deirdre Walsh, Brianna Keilar, Evan Glass, Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

Filed under: Charlie Rangel • Popular Posts
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Tim in CSG

    Wrist slap! NEXT!!

    July 29, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Tim

    What a joke. Pelosi drained the swap and all that is left is the scum.

    July 29, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Paul from Phoenix

    Nice job Pelosi. Way to make criminals accountable.

    July 29, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Tim

    There is actually slime pouring out of his puss filled pores.

    July 29, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. louie

    another fine example of untouchable politicians being above the law. so he gets a slap on the wrist and one he!! of a pension/benefits for stepping down. no one wants to make waves because they want the same deal should they get caught.

    July 29, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Democrats are clueless on ethics

    The Democrats are clueless when it comes to ethics, morality, or the law. Cutting back room deals so a corrupt politician like Rangel can escape a trial and avoid getting booted out of office for despicable behavior over most of his career flies in the face of everything that Americans hold dear on the topic of morality, ethical behavior, and the law. It is time to clean house and toss all these corrupt Dems out of office

    Change you believe in -– I don't think so

    July 29, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Natch

    Yeah, this sort of back room wheeling dealing ought to shed a real light onto what sort of unethical people we have serving in Congress these days. Hopefully every one of the ones in the ethics committee will be a civilian again, come January, if they let this clown slide.

    July 29, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. Jeff - Austin

    If he doesn't show up to this hearing he should either be subpoenaed and/or be charged with contempt of Congress. His arrogance and greed are second to none. He belongs in jail, not in Congress.

    July 29, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Mahealani

    Mr. Rangel maybe it's time to step down. Enjoy your retirement while you're able too.

    July 29, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. DemocraGeithner to speak for Rangel

    Tim Geithner was going to be a character witness for Rangel. That prompted the Democratic leadership to take this scandal behind closed doors like they have done with most of their dealings since President Transparency took office - HAH Joke is on America folks and it is once again Dem business as usual

    July 29, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Rick Morayniss

    Why is he not going to jail like other tax evaders?

    July 29, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Michael1959

    Why is this not a surprise. He will stay...nothing has changed.

    July 29, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Ralph Wood

    What a coward!

    July 29, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Dar

    Of course good old Charlie will walk, the deal was always there, he was way to confident and cocky.

    July 29, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Kevin in Ohio

    That settlement better include this criminal's immediate departure from the US House of Representatives. It is amazing that it has taken this long for Nancy Pelosi to start cleaning her house.

    July 29, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. bob

    Here it comes–the same old same old b.s. from the democrats and the gangster Rangel--he'll get away with murder-and we all know why he'll get away with it--despite the fact that he has stolen taxpayer dollars–because he has his–"I come from the hood" defense. What a crock!!!

    July 29, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Terry - Indiana

    If this was an average American, Black or White, he would be in jail right now.

    July 29, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. tpbco

    Ah, the arrogance and elitism of the liberals.

    You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried!

    July 29, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Kevin

    Throw his buttocks in jail. He is a criminal. I know he will walk.

    July 29, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Tom

    Not going to attend.....what absolute arrogance.

    July 29, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Shocked

    Deal!!! If I violate my company's code of ethics by unethical or illegal actions, I will be fired summarily. That's the right thing to do. Good grief.

    July 29, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. HF

    this is a scam, blacks always get off. fry, a white dude would be told his head on a stake, and scalp taken, anything less would not be mob justicee.

    July 29, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Close to "a deal"??!! The IRS gave me a deal, or should I say a "no deal", they want my house, my job and retirement. Clinton wedding topping out at over two million dollars??!! While the common people are loosing their houses, lost jobs and families??!! These people are out of touch. How can we beleive/trust they can effectively lead and govern us in the right direction? We can't. They live on a different planet.

    July 29, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. Big George in Big D

    The hypocrisy of the dumboRATS is absolutely amazing. If Rangel was a Republican the S would have hit the fan years ago and no "sweetheart deal" would have been made whatsoever! I don't know how these people can show their faces to the people in his/her district.

    July 29, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. John (Hawaii)

    Man, I wish I could not pay my taxes and then make a deal. If me and you did that, we would be in the slammer!!!!!

    July 29, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
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