November 15th, 2010
10:36 AM ET
8 years ago

Rangel walks out of ethics hearing

Washington (CNN) - Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, walked out of his House ethics subcommittee hearing Monday morning, complaining that he has not had sufficient time to hire a new legal team to respond to corruption allegations.

The subcommittee members continued meeting behind closed doors.

"Fifty years of public service is on the line. And I truly believe that I am not being treated fairly," he declared. "I deserve a lawyer."

Rangel told the subcommittee he has already spent $2 million defending himself from the charges, and had been advised the hearing - similar to a trial - could cost him another $1 million.

He complained that he was not being given enough time to raise funds to hire new lawyers because the committee was rushing to complete its work before the conclusion of the current lame duck Congress.

Rangel's original defense team left him in September.

"What theory of fairness would dictate that I be denied due process ... because it is going to be the end of this session?" he asked.

Ethics committee chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, replied that it was Rangel's responsibility to assemble his legal team.

"Retention of counsel is up to the respondent," she said.

Rangel, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since the 1970s, stepped down as Ways and Means Committee chairman after a slew of ethics allegations. Rangel faces 13 allegations, include failing to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic, misuse of a rent-controlled apartment for political purposes and improper use of government mail service and letterhead.

House Republicans and some House Democrats have called for Rangel to resign because of the alleged ethics violations.

In August, Rangel said nothing "will stop me from clearing my name from these vile and vicious charges."

Rangel also offered explanations for the ethics charges against him, characterizing them as mistakes and acknowledging violations of House rules but denying they amounted to corruption.

"It's not corrupt," he said when responding to assertions that he used House letterhead to approach possible contributors to a university policy center in his name. "It may be stupid. It may be negligent, but it's not corrupt."

Regarding an accusation that he used a rent-controlled apartment as a campaign office, Rangel has said he did nothing wrong but was "insensitive to the appearance of being treated differently."

"I plead guilty of not being sensitive," he said.

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California is also scheduled to have an adjudication hearing with the House ethics committee this month, on November 29. Waters has denied the allegations against her, which include steering federal bailout money to Massachusetts-based OneUnited Bank - in which her husband had a financial stake.
- CNN's Alan Silverleib, Rachel Streitfeld, and Deirdre Walsh contributed to
this report.

Filed under: Charlie Rangel
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    This corrupt DEMOcRAT has had plenty of time to find lawyers. He's playing a game to extend his gravy train before getting tossed out. Toss him out NOW and drain the swamp of these corrupt politicans.

    BTW, I wonder why his last legal team quit? I guess they must have known the ship was going down.

    November 15, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Dennis

    You get elected to office and all of a sudden you cease to become a public servant and become one of the entitled elite. This happens across party lines. The average citizen becomes invisible and the the corporate elite lines the pockets of the elected officals and have their way with them. Way else would the agenda be to cut Social Security for those who have paid into all their lives, which cutting taxes for the rich expecting the same people who they just cut to pay for it. Got to love it.

    November 15, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Chuck in CSG

    And they just keep electing this guy – sheesh!

    November 15, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. phoenix86

    Rangel's known about this for months but was expecting the democrats to hold the House and then he would get off scott-free. Now the dems need to worry about ethics and Charlie needs a lawyer.

    Says a lot about the democrats. Just escort Rangel to jail and save the taxpayers a lot of money.

    November 15, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. keepstufingthis

    Under Pelosi, the investigation took 2 and a half years. Will the Democrat liberal party have the moral integrity and honesty to clean up this mess and the Waters mess before they retreat in to the background or will the Republicans have to come in and do it for them. As you know, democrat liberals have no moral integrity, sense of personal responsibility or ethics, so the Republicans will probably have to do this for them.

    November 15, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I guess 50 years of service is suppose to exonerate someone from wrong doing. If that be the case Mr. Rangel, people in prison serving a life sentence should be exonerated after serving 50 years. I'm a democrat, but Rangel's defense is totally unacceptable whether a person is democrat or republican.

    November 15, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    He deserves counsel. I find it shocking that his defense team abandoned him.

    November 15, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. jeff, alabama

    Rangel has lasted longer
    in his business than Al Capone
    lasted in his business.
    What's he complaining about ?

    November 15, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Fed Up

    He hasn't had enough time to raise funds for a lawyer? Most people don't get months, or years to get up money for an attorney. Why would he need one anyway? After all, he was looking forward to this hearing and has done nothing wrong. Another seemingly corrupt politician. Nothing new in DC. Vote 'em in. Vote 'em out.

    November 15, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. southern cousin

    How long has he know this is coming? Did it come as a total surprise? I think that the Ayatollah Pelosi held this at bay as long as possible so Charlie had plenty of warning it was coming, why wait now. But then, what is the outcome? Both he and Waters apparently have some of the dumbest people in the world as their constituents, they will keep their offices and the corrpuption will continue. There are no real consequences for political corruption.

    November 15, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Jim

    Vile and viscious charges? C'mon Charley. You did what everyone else in Congress does, you just got caught. Now, it's time to pay the piper. I don't buy for a second that you can't afford counsel. What you can't afford is to buy the judgement of the Committee members. Time to get your crooked behind out of office, and let someone with morals step in. Just for the record, I am a Democrat. But your crooked self cost us a huge image hit, one the party couldn't afford. Step aside, and let the Congress get back to work on real government.

    November 15, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. T'sah from Virginia

    He had enough time to seek counsel. If it were YOU and I, we're either going to NOT make enough money to hire a lawyer so we will have a LEGAL AID or, we HAVE enough money to hire a LAWYER?? Already spending $2 Million dollars states he can afford a LAWYER – NOT qualified for Legal Assistance!!

    Rangel should be treated like every other American who has to go to court to PROVE or DISPROVE their innocence/guilt!!!

    T'aah is N2 Moving America Forward with our Leader, President Obama!! I am OUT of Campaign for the moment!!!

    November 15, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Northdakotax

    Not enough time? REALLY??? Throw this bum out!

    November 15, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Whatever

    RANGEL you've had time to get a legal time!!! STOP DELAYING and OWN UP TO YOUR MESS!!!!!! You are #1 case study for term limits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shameful but you will only be remembered by these last years – so do the right and honorable thing!!!!!!! Oh that's right, you're a politician who does not know the meaning of do the honesty!

    November 15, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Bender

    Stalling tactics will only prolong what he knows is coming.He's hoping the Dems will rally around him and support his criminal activity.They will brush him off like they do others who bring shame upon them.

    November 15, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. Enough is Enough

    Fifty years of self service you crook.

    November 15, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. Monster Zero

    I watched Charlie on C-Span this morning as he stated to that the system was not working for him with regard to his ethics and tax code violations....If Charlie were a common citizen (which he is) he would have had hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines imposed, his wages garnished and possibly sent to prison on each count of tax fraud or failure to report. I always get a kick out of these guys, they get elected as paupers, milk the system for years and then come out as multi-millionaires. How do you gain such wealth while serving a full time position in public service? Do you suppose that these guys use their influence and knowledge of upcoming legislation to serve their own private interests while serving the public? Poor little Chuck, guess he'll have to retire on a couple hundred thousand a year income payment from a tax payer funded pension!

    November 15, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Fair is Fair

    And if there's any justice, he'll be walking into a 8' x 6', adorned in a bright orange jumpsuit.

    November 15, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Nurse Lisa

    PUHLEEZ – he's known of the allegations for a long long time; his failure since September to arrange for new counsel is not the subcommittee's fault, it is Rangel's fault. Does Rangel want to vigorously defend and explain or just keep drawing his undeserved paycheck? The only one denying him a right to due process is himself.

    November 15, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  20. Gale

    Bull Corn. He's nothing but a very well paid crook. He's had plenty of time, he's just putting off the enevitable until he can come up with some kind of Democratic excuse. The Republicans made me do it!!! He should be held accountable just like the rest of the people.

    November 15, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. Bill

    Yep 50 years of corruption on the line..... You need a lawyer!

    November 15, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Didn't he think to get a lawyer to bill him later for the work to be done? He has served his community well, but he needs to deal with this. I really want to know if the GOP members on the committee really were willing to strike a deal with Rangel or if they were stringing this along to nail him.

    November 15, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. gary

    This investigation has been going on since 2008 – enough is enough. Time for this corrupt congressman to get out of town. It is hard for the american public to swallow that he didn't know that he was doing anything wrong, blame it on sloppy bookeeping and during this period of time, he was chairman of the ways and means committee that is responsible for writing the tax codes. What a joke. I'm sure that congress will protect their own and give him a slap on the wrist while any other non-political american citizen would be going to jail.

    November 15, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. U.S. Common Sense

    "Fifty years of public service is on the line. And I truly believe that I am not being treated fairly," he declared. "I deserve a lawyer."

    You had a lawyer. In fact, you had a couple of them. Quit stalling. You knew the hearing was coming. Face the music and pack your bags.

    November 15, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. Bob in PA

    He hasn't had time ? He has known this was coming for a a couple of years. You gonna tell me he didn't attempt to clean everything up. His fifty years of service is nothing more than 45 years of corruption.

    November 15, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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