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Rangel Turns Attention to Re-Election

Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) renewed his vow Thursday to seek re-election despite a looming ethics trial.

“I’m going to restrict myself in the next weeks and months to trying to get re-elected, identifying with the needs of my great Congressional district, get a message out there that we’ll provide jobs, education, health care, but most important hope. That’s what the country needs at this time,” Rangel said at a Thursday press conference hosted by his re-election campaign in New York.

A subcommittee of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct charged Rangel last month with 13 counts of wrongdoing, including allegations that he misused federal resources to solicit donations for a City College of New York center named in his honor, accepted a rent-stabilized apartment for his campaign office, failed to pay taxes on a Dominican Republic villa and filed inaccurate financial disclosure forms.

Rangel has acknowledged some wrongdoing. In a speech on the House floor last week he said he may have violated franking rules, stating: “But it’s not corrupt. It may be stupid. It may be negligent. But it’s not corrupt.”

But the New Yorker reiterated his defense Thursday, directing the public to his campaign website and his attorneys’ formal response to the ethics committee.

“Let me inform you there’s two sides to it. There’s the alleged violations and then there’s the Rangel defense,” Rangel said.

An adjudicatory subcommittee is expected to begin Rangel’s trial in September when the House returns from its recess.

The New York lawmaker faces a Sept. 14 primary in the 15th district.

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