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Tab for Rangel’s Ethics Woes Tops $2 Million

Rep. Charlie Rangel’s legal bills have topped more than $2 million for the 2010 cycle as he faces a multipronged ethics investigation, according to his most recent campaign finance report.

The New York Democrat reported spending $173,000 from his personal campaign coffers to cover his legal bills this spring, in addition to nearly $187,000 from his National Leadership Political Action Committee in that same period.

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, also known as the ethics committee, has spent nearly two years conducting a review of allegations involving Rangel’s personal finances, living arrangements, fundraising efforts and use of a House parking space.

Rangel also faced an unrelated ethics inquiry into his participation in two Caribbean trips that violated House rules on corporate-funded travel. The ethics panel excused five other Members of wrongdoing but admonished Rangel in February after finding his aides were aware that some of the funding for the trips came from prohibited sources.

According to his most recent reports to the Federal Election Commission, Rangel paid the bulk of his latest legal expenses fees to Zuckerman Spaeder, including $142,000 from his re-election account and $183,000 from his PAC.

Rangel also reported payments from both accounts to Oldaker, Belair & Wittie totaling about $26,000 and two payments from his re-election account to Washington lawyer John Kern totaling more than $2,000.

The firm Watkins, Meegan, Drury & Co. also received a payment from his re-election account for nearly $6,500 in late May.

The ethics panel opened its investigation into Rangel at his request in July 2008. It has expanded its inquiry two times since, creating an investigation subcommittee in September 2008.

Rangel stepped down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in March.

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