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Ethics Panel Finds Rangel Broke Rules

A House ethics subcommittee declared Tuesday that Rep. Charlie Rangel repeatedly violated the rules of the chamber.

The matter will be now be referred to the full Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to determine whether to sanction the New York Democrat. A hearing date was not immediately set.

Rangel, who walked out of his trial yesterday after his request for a delay was rejected, was not present when the ruling was announced. Asked by a reporter in a Capitol hallway for his response to the verdict, Rangel said “I really haven’t studied it.”

In July, an ethics investigative subcommittee charged Rangel 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, used a rent-stabilized apartment for his campaign office, failed to pay taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic and filed inaccurate financial disclosure forms.

Ethics Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who also chaired the adjudicatory panel that reviewed the charges against Rangel, announced Tuesday that the panel voted unanimously on 11 of the 13 charges, and reached split decisions on the remaining counts, one of which failed on a tie vote.

The subcommittee split over whether Rangel violated the House gift rule in his fundraising for CCNY. The investigative subcommittee alleged that Rangel had violated the rule because he received a “personal benefit” from the project, which would “provide him with an office, and allows him to perpetuate his legacy, including the storage and archiving of his papers.”

The other divided count, which was approved on a 7-1 vote, charged Rangel under House Rule 23, which requires lawmakers to “behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.” The investigative subcommittee concluded Rangel violated that rule based on the allegations included in its report.

The subcommittee also determined that two of the 13 allegations — related to Rangel’s alleged misuse of franked mail to solicit donations for CCNY — were nearly identical, and thus did not charge Rangel in the second count. 

The House ethics committee may opt to punish Rangel through a “letter of reproval,” or it may recommend the full House vote to mete out a harsher punishment, including a reprimand, censure or expulsion from the chamber.

Kathleen Hunter contributed to this report.

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