Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rangel in Talks on Settlement of Ethics Cases

Representative Charles B. Rangel and the House ethics committee have been exploring a settlement to the numerous accusations against him, which would allow the 20-term congressman to avoid an ugly public trial and could prevent further political damage to Democrats nationally.

For two years, committee members have been examining, among other charges, Mr. Rangel’s failure to report income from a villa in the Dominican Republic, his acceptance of four rent-stabilized apartments and his use of his office to preserve a loophole for an oil company executive who pledged a $1 million donation for a new public policy center to be named for him.

On Thursday, the committee, officially called the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, announced that there was evidence to substantiate those accusations, but it declined to provide detail.

Behind the scenes, however, Mr. Rangel’s legal team continued working to pre-empt the hearing and the release of the report from the investigative subcommittee of the ethics committee. That report, part of which is expected to be released next Thursday, found evidence that Mr. Rangel had violated House ethics rules in a number of areas.

Mr. Rangel stepped down as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in March, after the ethics committee sanctioned him for accepting a corporate-sponsored trip to the Caribbean.

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