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Investigators Accuse Rangel of Misleading Public During Probe

At the same time Rep. Charlie Rangel (N.Y.) was charged with 13 counts of violating House rules and federal laws Thursday, a House ethics investigative subcommittee mocked the senior Democrat for making “misleading” comments about its long-running investigation.

Reps. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and Gene Green (D-Texas), who led the subcommittee that conducted a 21-month probe into allegations involving Rangel’s personal finances and other issues, highlighted statements by the New York lawmaker in a July 22 memorandum summarizing their work.

“The investigative subcommittee was troubled by a number of public statements that Respondent made during the course of its investigation. Most notably, he made misleading statements on two recent occasions,” the memorandum stated. It was addressed to Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Bonner, who are the chairwoman and ranking member, respectively, of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

The memo excerpted an interview Rangel gave in early June suggesting that the subcommittee had not reached a conclusion. But the memo noted that the New York lawmaker had received a draft of the allegations against him more than a week earlier.

“Respondent made another misleading statement on ‘Good Day New York’ on July 7, 2010, when he stated, ‘There is no accusation against me doing something wrong except by the press,’ ” the memo stated, referring to the second incident. “This statement was made 21 days after the Statement of Alleged Violation had been adopted by the Investigative Subcommittee and transmitted to Respondent.”

The memorandum stated that the committee did not respond to Rangel’s statements at the time “due to … rules regarding confidentiality.”

It is not clear whether Rangel had seen the documents issued to him by the committee. He indicated earlier this week that although his attorneys had sought to reach a last-minute settlement with House ethics attorneys, he was not personally involved in the negotiations.

The New York Democrat is set to face a public ethics trial in September. He will be tried by an adjudicatory subcommittee composed of four Democrats and four Republicans who also serve on the House ethics committee.

If the adjudicatory panel finds Rangel responsible for any of the allegations, it will refer the matter to the ethics committee to determine a punishment. The full House would have to vote on more serious sanctions, including reprimand, censure or expulsion from the chamber.

A 40-page statement released Thursday outlined the allegations against Rangel. He is accused of accepting a rent-stabilized apartment for his campaign office, soliciting funding for the Charles B. Rangel Center at the City College of New York using federal resources and franked mail, failing to pay taxes on a Dominican villa, and failing to file accurate financial disclosure forms.

Rangel broadly denied wrongdoing in a formal response to the ethics committee filed by his attorneys.

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