House investigators recommend reprimand for Rangel

July 30, 2010

USA-CONGRESS/RANGELSome of Representative Charles Rangel’s colleagues thought the New York Democrat merited a reprimand rather than a more serious punishment of censure or expulsion for alleged violations of ethics rules in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The recommendation we had was a reprimand,” Representative Gene Green, who led the two-year House ethics committee investigation into Rangel, told reporters on Friday.

The investigation by a subcommittee of four members of the House Ethics Committee has ended and Rangel, 80, has been charged with 13 counts of violating House rules.

Now it is up to another subcommittee to hold a trial-like procedure to determine if the former head of the taxwriting House Ways and Means Committee did indeed violate the rules.

The charges involve solicitation of donations to a college center named in his honor, failure to report about $600,000 on financial disclosure statements, use of a rent-stabilized apartment for his campaign committee and failure to report rental income from his villa in the Dominican Republic.

The trial panel may accept the reprimand recommended by investigators, or decide that a harsher or even a more lenient punishment, if any, is in order.

Regardless, the full 10-member Ethics Committee, composed of five Democrats and five Republicans, will make the final decision unless a settlement is reached.

Democrats have urged Rangel to cut a deal to avoid a public trial they fear could become a political circus just weeks before the the Nov. 2 congressional elections.

Rangel is said to be close to reaching a deal with the ethics panel, but so far Republicans on the committee appear to be in no mood to accept. 

“The American people deserve to hear the truth in this case and the charges against him,” Republican Representative Michael McCaul said at a public hearing on Thursday where the charges against Rangel were outlined.

Photo Credit:  Reuters/Hyungwon Kang (Representative Charles Rangel faces the media outside his office)

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