View Full Version : US Rep. Rangel nears deal on ethics charges

07-29-2010, 03:46 PM
hu Jul 29, 2010 1:30pm EDT

(Adds background and details)

WASHINGTON July 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Charles Rangel is near a deal on ethics charges that would let him avoid a trial that fellow Democrats fear could hurt them in the November election, an aide for the New York lawmaker said on Thursday.

Asking not to be identified by name, the aide said there were "still some sticking points," but negotiators for Rangel -- until March the House of Representatives' leading tax writer -- and a bipartisan congressional ethics panel were "close."

A preliminary hearing by a House ethics panel was set to begin later on Thursday.

There is a possibility that the deal, a plea agreement, will not be finalized until after the hearing, the aide said.

Without a deal, a trial before the House Ethics Committee is expected in September.

New York City's CBS 2 television reported Rangel had cut a deal to admit to ethical wrongdoing and avoid a potentially humiliating public trial.

Citing "Harlem friends of Rangel," in reference to the historically black neighborhood in Manhattan that Rangel represents, CBS 2 said those friends were told details could be unveiled at the preliminary hearing.

Rangel had pledged to fight the charges that he abused his office and mishandled personal finance.

He has been under pressure to cut a deal or even resign from fellow Democrats who fear a trial could become a political circus and undermine their chances to keep their majority in the House in the November election.

Democrats won control of the House in 2006, promising to rid the chamber of corruption in wake of a series of Republican scandals. Republicans seized on the charges against Rangel as evidence that Democrats failed to "drain the swamp."

The ethics panel has been investigating Rangel for nearly two years on a number of matters, including whether he failed to pay taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic and improperly solicited donations to a college center named in his honor. It announced unspecific allegations last week after an earlier breakdown in negotiations.

Rangel stepped down in March as chairman of the House's tax-writing Ways and Means Committee after the ethics panel, in a separate case, admonished the 80-year-old lawmaker for corporate sponsored trips in 2007 and 2008 in violation of House gifts rules.

Rangel sounded somewhat reflective earlier on Thursday in an encounter with reporters in Washington.

"Sixty years ago, I survived a Chinese attack in North Korea," said Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War. "And as a result I wrote a in book that, having survived that, that I haven't had a bad day since. Today I have to reassess that."

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro in Washington, and Dan Trotta in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler and Vicki Allen)


07-29-2010, 06:03 PM
The chairman of the ethics committee, Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., has stated that the approval of any deal Rangel's attorneys strike must be unanimous and the GOP Congressmen that make up half of the panel are saying, no way, it's too late, and that the trial phase has begun.

More... (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100729/ap_on_go_co/us_rangel_ethics;_ylt=AmSHkpAqWcF_51Lkl3YtLGGs0NUE ;_ylu=X3oDMTNnNGJpaTA4BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwNzI5L3Vz X3JhbmdlbF9ldGhpY3MEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3Bvcw MyBHBvcwM4BHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5 BHNsawNwYW5lbGhpdHNyYW4-)

It seems the only out for Rangel is to agree to admit to the charges or resign. His fellow Dems just want this gone before the fall election season (it won't be) because they care so much about preserving their political asses more than trying to restore a shred of integrity to Congress.

At the end of the day, Rangel is finished either way.

07-29-2010, 06:06 PM
At the end of the day, Rangel is finished either way.The same way Marion Berry was finished?

07-29-2010, 06:14 PM
The same way Marion Berry was finished?

Marion Barry isn't 80 years old. I think the old boy is going to resign to avoid the embarrassment of a trial or admitting he's a louse or being voted out in November. He can walk away and say that it is not an admission of guilt, but rather he would be too distracted defending himself against false charges to effectively represent his constituents. He will blame the vast right wing conspiracy as he walks away with his head held high just like all victims of racism. Meanwhile, his Dem colleagues will laud his great service and mourn that such a great man had been made a victim (all the while breathing a big sigh of relief).