Rep. Charles Rangel and lawyers for the House Ethics Committee have reportedly reached a plea deal Thursday in the New York Congressman’s ethics case, according to the Associated Press. However, a settlement has not been reached.
The panel released 13 counts of alleged violations by Rangel. The charges center on four areas: solicitations and donations to the Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York; errors and omissions on financial disclosure statements; use by his campaign committees of rent-stabilized residential apartments; and failure to report and pay taxes on rental income from a Dominican villa. Rep. Gene Green, chairman of the panel’s investigative subcommittee, suggested during the public meeting that additional charges regarding storage of a vehicle in the House parking garage could follow.
Rangel did not appear at the meeting, but did submit a written response.
The charges are the result of 21 months of investigation, more than 160 formal requests for documents; 28,000-plus pages of documents and testimony; and more than 60 investigative subcommittee meetings.
Rangel “was given opportunities to negotiate a settlement under the investigation phase,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas ) said in his opening statement. “We are now in the trial phase.” While the eight lawmakers on the panel spoke fondly of Rangel, McCaul also pointed out, they have an obligation to the American people, whose opinion of Congress is at an all-time low, “to protect the integrity and accountability of the House.”
Republican members of the committee still have to agree to any deal settlement, and with midterm elections only a few months away, the GOP is hardly in the mood to turn down political gift as juicy as an ethics trial.
“Sixty years ago I survived a Chinese attack in North Korea and as a result I haven’t had a bad day since,” Rangel told a scrum of reporters before the hearing. “But today I have to reassess that statement.”
View the opening statements and the charges here.