Rangel, Waters Get Post-Election Trials

Posted October 7, 2010 at 4:54pm

Updated: 7:02 p.m.

Ethics Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that both Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) will face November trial dates over allegations that each violated the chamber’s rules in unrelated incidents.

In a statement issued Thursday, Lofgren said Rangel’s hearing will begin Nov. 15 and Water’s hearing will begin Nov. 29.

“Last week’s unprecedented statement by the minority members of the Committee, in contrast to their prior requests and ongoing discussions, called upon the Chair to unilaterally establish the schedule, as the Committee rules allow,” Lofgren said.

In a statement issued last week, ranking member Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and the ethics panel’s other Republican lawmakers criticized Lofgren for not selecting trial dates and encouraged her to do so in October, while the House is in recess.

“Substantial actions must be taken before a public hearing can begin,” Lofgren said. “The nonpartisan Committee staff who bear the burden of proof to establish the facts alleged in the Statement of Alleged Violation must prepare their case and be prepared to meet a higher burden of proof than that used in the investigative committee phase.”

An ethics subcommittee charged Rangel in July 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 since paid the overdue taxes.

The New York Democrat acknowledged in a speech on the House floor in August that he may have violated some House rules, but he denied that his actions were corrupt.

A different investigative subcommittee charged Waters in August with violating the chamber’s rules over allegations that her chief of staff, Mikael Moore, tried to secure federal support for a bank in which Waters and her husband held hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stock.

The California Democrat has disputed allegations of wrongdoing by her office.

In a statement issued Thursday, Waters said: “After an investigation that has lasted over a year, I am eager to have the opportunity to clear my name. I would have liked for this matter to be resolved before the election in November and have repeatedly called for a hearing to be scheduled as soon as possible.”