Journalism in the Public Interest


Rep. Rangel’s Ethics Wrangle: Get the Rundown


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The House Ethics Committee has finally come out from behind its veil of secrecy and announced that after a two-year investigation, it has found Rep. Charlie Rangel, D.-N.Y., likely violated ethics rules.

As we reported in March, the ethics committee “admonished” Rangel for violating ethics rules against accepting gifts when he attended conferences in the Carribbean in 2007 and 2008, but the investigation into Rangel’s other alleged violations continued.

What were those other violations? The committee didn't disclose the details of what they found, but we’ve kept a full rundown of Rangel's ethics record.

The House Ethics Committee also announced the creation of a subcommittee to hear the case against Rangel and make a final judgment. It'll be the first time such a hearing has happened since 2002, pointed out The New York Times. In that 2002 case, former Rep. James Traficant Jr., ended up being expelled from Congress for bribery and served seven years in prison.

The subcommittee will meet to hear the allegations against Rangel on July 29.

"I am pleased that, at long last, sunshine will pierce the cloud of serious allegations that have been raised against me in the media,'' Rangel said in a statement, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. "I will be glad to respond to the allegations at such time as the ethics committee makes them public."

Charlie’s plight has similarities to the Marion Barry (ex-DC mayor) case.  Again we will watch to see how much an early history of help for the hurting will weigh against arrogance and toxic ethics.

“Congressional ethics” is frequently an oxymoron. Anyone ever notice that it doesn’t matter which party is in power? The power corrupts them all, even if they started out all starry-eyed and eager to improve the country. Good argument for term limits, maybe?

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