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

Ethics panel charges Rangel with conduct discrediting the House

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/29/art.rangel.0729e.gi.jpg caption ="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.

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soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. DMA

    So now that we have Charlie Rangel up on ethics charges and mighty quick too, who is going after Pedro Espada for all his crooked dealings??

    The House is always quick to do something to an African American, but any other nationality gets pushed under the rugs. This madness and fake witch hunts need to stop.

    July 29, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. Louis

    A SETTLEMENT WITH WHOM? If he violated tax law, the IRS should be prosecuting him just like it would any other American.

    July 29, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. guest

    We need to get all, i mean all the crooked politicians out of washington. Rangel is the tip of the iceburg and i also wonder what other crimes he committed while in office.
    We definately need to get all the money he stole from taxpayers.

    July 29, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Naqib

    Isn't that nice... Dems protecting each other...

    I mean it's really what's best for NY and the country...

    July 29, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |

    Pelosi's Democrat swamp is thicker than ever with thieves.

    July 29, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Ron in california

    Unethical or illegal behavior should not be given any special deals..This is crap.

    July 29, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. paul

    I live in NYC and if this POLITICIAN... with all the sarcasm that been given to the word for all who embody what he represents ... gets a free ride and walks away from what everyone has been saying are SERIOUS charges, I will be floored. NOT SURPRISED. But floored.

    I hope every TAX EVADING individual in the United States using Charlie the WRANGLER to get off any and all tax evasion charges by claiming COMPLETE and UTTER ignorance or OVERSIGHT! This man lead the TAX code for the ENTIRE US and still used "oversight/overlooked/forgot" as an excuse.

    This man has 4 RENT CONTROLLED apts in a city where I pay a mortgage-like rate for a 1 bedroom rent and he has YET to be charged with a crime when its ILLEGAL under city law to have more than one.

    This man, who owned and rented property in the D.R. and claimed that it was an oversight that he never paid.

    This is may have done good but that in no way should be a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card when he does bad!!!

    Congress, he walks free you all should pack your bags because you should all be out!

    July 29, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. jim in Alabama

    What a closed door deal? Some ethics investigation, we send ours to jail when they are convicted in a court of law. What does this say about our government? Should we stand for this?

    July 29, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Hope A. Dope

    Of course he's close to a deal. Its all about taking care of their own. Why do you think 80 year old people want to stay in Congress? The whole thing has the odor of an Obamination. BOHICA.

    July 29, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. jonah

    Am I supposed to be surprised, shocked, glad, upset or? Really, I am beginning to feel numb to all of this governmental corruption and not sure I can feel anymore.

    July 29, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Pkm

    Charles do not let the demS down your the only me with the guts to start draft

    July 29, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Larry

    throw the cheating bum out...

    July 29, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. rawk

    Just another Democrat that doesn't pay his taxes yet wants to tax the crap out of us "little people" to support his lifestyle. Funny CNN wouldn't even post his name in the title of this article. How many of your reporters are on the Journol-List ? It never ceases to amaze me at how CNN just sweeps facts showing improprieties of Democrat leaders under the rug for as long as they can. What good little commies you are CNN !

    July 29, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. mike b

    This is again an outrageous example of absolute power corrupts absolutely. America has accepted this double standard so long that it has in fact become acceptable. WHEN IS A CROOK NOT A CROOK? WHEN HE GETS ELECTED BY A BLIND CONSTITUENCY!


    July 29, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. James A. Melching

    Looks like the old non-transparent double standard of what is good for the goose, is not commensurate to the bold and careless shady avoidances of those in Congress. A firing squad should equate those quilty of enbolden inequality. Just maybe the back room /smoke filled room will someday takes its toll,as justice does seek its level just like water. Time is of essence. James Melching–Springville, Cal.

    July 29, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Terry

    I am a black guy, so do not try to call me racist. I feel that once again, another politician will get away with something us common folk would get thrown in jail for. What a travesty of justice! I can bet there is alot of dirty closets in congress,that is why they are protecting their own and there own backs!

    July 29, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Benjamin

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you. I wonder if Pelosi was talking about Rengel when she said she was going to clean house of all the crooks? Oh wait, she probably just meant people that didn't agree with her. How are we not stripping this man of his duties as a US Representative? We have people like this in congress, and the President wants us to sell our kids on the idea that the goverment will take care of us? No matter, this will get swept under the rug. My guess is he will use stolen tax payer dollars to pay the penalty they hand down.

    July 29, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. Stephen Brown

    I am sure they are close to a deal...more like a whitwash.
    Rangle is about as crooked as they come.

    July 29, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. goofus

    These people get deals where the rest of us would get jail ! Take back our America!

    July 29, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Malt

    I wish he could also serve some jailtime. He's corrupt.

    July 29, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. Rick CT

    Anything short of his resignation from Congress will be nothing more than the Members protecting their own. The rest of us would be in jail for evading this amount of taxes and other crimes.

    July 29, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. Sande

    Charlie Rangle should have known better. He knows that there is always room in our prison system for minorities. The Ethics committee should investigate ALL the members of Congress and the Senate. Only the general PUBLIC would be surprised at what would be revealed. Charlie Rangle is not the only VIOLATOR of our laws. We should be demanding that ALL the members be investigated.

    July 29, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Gary

    Crook! Corrupt! Hypocrit! He needs to resign and be prosecuted for crimes like anyone of us would be! He is an embarassment to the party and to the country.

    July 29, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  24. Steve in North Carolina

    Another reason to vote incumbents out!

    July 29, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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