Ethics Expands Rangel Probe

Posted December 9, 2008 at 2:16pm

The House ethics committee announced Tuesday it will expand its investigation into personal finances of Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) to include allegations of a quid pro quo for donations to a City College center bearing his name.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct announced its decision in a statement Tuesday afternoon, stating it followed a formal request by Rangel.

“The investigation subcommittee shall have the additional jurisdiction to determine if Representative Rangel violated the Code of Official Conduct or any rule, law, or regulation … with respect to contributions of money or pledges of contributions of money to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Services at the City College of New York from any person or entity associated with Nabors Industries,” the statement said.

As first reported by the New York Times, Rangel is alleged to have reversed a previous policy stand to help an oil company retain a multimillion-dollar tax loophole while the Nabors Industries’ chief executive pledged $1 million to the City College center.

Rangel has denied any wrongdoing.

In the meantime, the ethics panel will continue to investigate Rangel’s ownership of a villa in the Dominican Republic and his failure to report rental income on that property, which led to unpaid taxes; his use of House parking facilities for long-term vehicle storage; fundraising efforts on behalf of the City College of New York center; and the lawmaker’s use of three rent-controlled apartments as his primary residence.

Rangel, who acknowledged he failed to report rental income on the Dominican property, the nexus of his tax troubles, has defended his behavior in each of the incidents and requested the ethics committee investigate the allegations.