Today’s House ethics hearing for Rep. Charles Rangel is continuing despite the New York Democrat’s decision to walk out in the middle of the hearing.
Rangel, who faces 13 charges of ethical violations, had parted ways with his legal team and said in today’s hearing that he cannot afford a lawyer and was “not being treated fairly.” The House ethics committee denied his request to delay the proceedings to give him time to raise money for his defense. Talking Points Memo has video of his walkout:
Rep. Rangel, as we’ve noted, is accused of illegally using rent-stabilized apartments as his campaign office, improperly soliciting funds for an endowment in his honor, and failing to pay taxes on income he earned from renting out his villa in the Dominican Republic.
In each of those cases, Rangel filed ethics complaints against himself. He has in the past owned up to “mistakes,” but said that he had done nothing “morally wrong” or “corrupt.”
This public ethics trial, which comes after two years of investigation, is a rare event—the last ethics trial in the House was in 2002. Another trial is scheduled for Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, on November 29.
You can watch Rangel’s trial live on the Sunlight Foundation’s site, which is also good to point out that Rangel’s not alone when it comes to ethical difficulties.
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