Tue, 16 Nov 2010 18:56:08 +0000
After hours of deliberation, the panel concluded that there was “clear and convincing evidence” of wrongdoing by Rangel. The 13 counts stem from several House ethics violations, including improperly using his office to solicit donations for a school of public policy in his name at the City College of New York, using a residential apartment in Harlem for his campaign office, failing to report more than $600,000 on his financial disclosure report and failing to pay taxes on rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the adjudicatory subcommittee and the full House ethics committee said, “We have tried to act with fairness, led only by the facts and the law. We believe we have accomplished that mission.”
The full ethics panel will now convene a sanctions hearing to recommend a punishment. Serious sanctions — including formal reprimand, censure or expulsion — require a vote on the House floor. Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote, while a reprimand, which Rangel refused to agree to in July, or a censure would need just a simple majority. The ethics panel could also impose a fine and diminish some of Rangel’s privileges.
In an official statement, Rangel slammed the ethics subcommittee’s “unprecedented” decision, saying his due process rights were violated since the panel ruled without him having legal representation. Blah, blah, blah.
The House Ethics Committee’s decision comes one day after the panel rejected an emotional plea by Rangel to delay the trial because he lacked counsel. Rangel’s team of attorneys told him they could no longer represent him in mid-October, and Rangel said he could not afford to hire a replacement right away after incurring nearly $2 million in legal fees over the past two years.
Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, applauded the decision and called on Rangel to resign. “All of Mr. Rangel’s theatrics aside, the facts were clear: Mr. Rangel violated numerous House rules and federal laws,” she said. “Whether these violations were deliberate or inadvertent, the American people deserve to be represented by members of Congress who adhere to the highest ethical standards. Mr. Rangel should resign.”
[Source: The Hill]
H/t beloved fellows Steve & Tina.