With a brief statement, Congressman Charles Rangel wrapped up his bad day, but the rough ride is just getting started.
“We’ve presented the investigative subcommittee with 13 very serious allegations relating to Mr. Rangel’s conduct,” said Michael McCaul (R-Tx).
With that scathing report, the House Ethics Committee set the stage for a very public and likely very embarrassing trial, scheduled to begin as Rangel volleys for votes in the September primary.
“It’s a very, very rough period for me and my family,” he said. “But we all, including my community, will get by this.”a
Democrats had wanted to avoid a public spectacle in the middle of election season, but Republicans said any deal hinged on all or nothing.
Rangel reportedly had worked to hammer out a deal that would do just that, by copping to several of the ethics violations.
“We also have an obligation to the American people to protect the integrity and credibility of the House,” McCaul said.
The Ethics Committee charges that Rangel misused Congressional stationary to raise money for a school named after him, failed to report income from a vacation condo, failed to report $600,000 in assets on his house disclosure forms, and a slew of other infractions.
Rangel insists his intent has always been pure and said that his five decades of public service have been about just that: service.
“That’s what I’ve done and if I’ve been overzealous in providing that service, I can’t make any excuses for serious violations but I can have an explanation of my intent,” he said.
There is still the possibility that a deal will be struck before the trial begins that would involve Rangel either admitting to substantial violations or resigning.
Punishment could range from a report criticizing his conduct to a House reprimand or censure, to a vote to expel him.
Such a vote, however, is very unlikely.
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