Updated 07/22/2010 ET
A House ethics investigative committee today announced what amounts to a Congressional indictment of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) on multiple ethics violations.
These charges will be made public next week by an adjudicatory subcommittee set up to try the charges.
The four-member panel of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has accused Rangel of wrongdoing saying he violated the rules. The panel has been conducting its investigation since September of 2008.
The new separate adjudicatory subcommittee will hold the equivalent of a trial. Four Democrats, led by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and four Republicans led by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) will comprise the trial subcommittee. None of the investigatory panel will serve on the new subcommittee.
Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), secretary of the House Republican Conference, forced floor votes that would have removed Rangel from his powerful Ways and Means Committee chairmanship until the ethics charges were adjudicated.
Rangel was forced to step aside to avoid being forcibly removed.
“It has taken way too long, but I’m pleased that the issues involving Mr. Rangel are moving towards being resolved. The alleged violations are serious enough that the voters deserve to know the verdicts before they cast their votes, as a possible sentence could be expulsion from Congress,” Carter told HUMAN EVENTS in an email statement.
“But the fact that Speaker Pelosi has allowed this to drag on for two years is an even more egregious ethical violation on the part of this Congress,” Carter continued. “This Speaker said she would lead the most ethical Congress in history. Instead, she has presided over the most scandalous sessions of Congress in a century, with these Rangel violations just the tip of the iceberg.”
Carter said the bigger judgment on the ethics of this Congress would come in the November elections.
“The ultimate ethics committee will meet nationwide the first Tuesday in November, and I believe that verdict will be to clean out this House with a new majority,” Carter said.
From the Washington Post:
It has been eight years since the U.S. House of Representatives conducted a similar review — that of former Rep. Jim Traficant of Ohio, who was later expelled. The decision on Rangel is based on an 18-month investigation into Rangel’s conduct as a member of Congress and how he may have used his House position to influence his private business. That investigation has focused on Rangel’s amendment of his financial disclosure forms and his fundraising using official congressional letterhead for a center in his name at City College of New York.
House Republican Leader John Boehner said these charges come at a time when confidence in the Democrat-led Congress is at an all time low, with only 11% of Americans in a new Gallup survey saying they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress.
“Today’s announcement is a sad reminder of Speaker Pelosi’s most glaring broken promise: to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington. Instead of presiding over ‘the most honest, most open, and most ethical’ Congress in history, Washington Democrats have presided over a string of bailouts, job-killing government takeovers, and other backroom deals,” Boehner said.
Rangel stepped aside as Ways and Means chairman in March after admitting he failed to pay taxes on income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.
Other charges include the 2007 and 2008 Rangel corporate-sponsored getaways to the Caribbean and payment of below-market rent on four separate apartments in New York City.
The first meeting of the adjudicatory ethics subcommittee will be held on July 29 and is open to the public.
|Connie Hair writes daily as HUMAN EVENTS’ Congressional correspondent. She is a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and a former media and coalitions advisor to the Senate Republican Conference.
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