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Judgment day for Charlie Rangel

(This item has been updated.)

By Paul Kane and Ben Pershing
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) is headed for a legacy-defining moment Thursday, in which the 40-year veteran will either admit to a string of ethical misdeeds or force the preliminary phase of a historic trial on those charges.

With a 1 p.m. Thursday start time slated for the ethics committee's hearing, lawyers for Rangel, former chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, were talking with the non-partisan attorneys for the committee deep into Wednesday, hoping to reach a settlement that would come as a relief to the Democratic caucus. Either way, Rangel faces an ignominious day -- even a last-minute settlement would result in the release of new details about the allegations against him and some form of public admission by the lawmaker of his wrongdoing.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the full ethics committee and the eight-member adjudicatory panel overseeing the Rangel trial, told reporters that the hearing is expected to go on as scheduled. This suggests that either no deal has been reached, or, possibly, that they might announce a deal at the hearing.

One of the five longest serving lawmakers in the House, Rangel -- who co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus decades ago -- has gone from a beloved figure in his caucus to a political pariah in less than two years. An investigative subcommittee has been investigating allegations, at Rangel's request after published reports, that he inappropriately lived in rent-controlled apartments in Harlem; did not pay taxes properly on a villa in the Dominican Republic; shielded hundreds of thousands dollars in personal assets by not properly disclosing them on his annual forms; and used his congressional office to raise money for the wing of a New York college named after him.

At her weekly press briefing Thursday morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) deflected a question on whether the Rangel case would hurt Democrats in November and "stain" her legacy after she vowed in 2006 to "drain the swamp" of Republican misdeeds.

"We don't know what the committee will recommend," Pelosi cautioned, while defending her party's record on ethics matters.

"Drain the swamp we did, because this was a terrible place, and we have made a tremendous difference and I take great pride in that," she said, and noted that Democrats had already imposed on Rangel the "very serious penalty" of removing him from the Ways and Means Committee chairmanship.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also deflected questions about the Rangel matter, declining to address its impact until he knew precisely what the committee alleged. "We'll have to see how that plays out," Hoyer told reporters.

After reprimanding Rangel last spring for accepting corporate-financed travel, a punishment that prompted him to surrender the chairman's gavel, the ethics committee is expected to begin a rare trial of a fellow lawmaker in a below-ground hearing room inside the Capitol Visitors Center. Barring a settlement, Thursday's hearing will be before an eight-member panel serving as the judge and jury, made up of four Democrats and four Republicans who currently serve on the full Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, the formal name for the ethics committee.

The hearing will effectively serve as an arraignment, in which the prosecution -- a four-member team that was the investigative subcommittee -- presents the charges against Rangel. Rangel may or may not be there, but his legal team will be and is allowed to submit statements if it so chooses. A full report outlining the case against Rangel would be given to the public after the hearing. The full trial would resume in mid-September, after Congress returns from a nearly seven-week recess.

During Wednesday evening votes, Rangel brushed past reporters, declining to address the status of talks with his legal team. He told reporters that if he had reason to meet with them, he would. Late Wednesday, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), a politically vulnerable freshman, told Politico she would call for Rangel's resignation "if the serious charges against him are accurate."

She joined Rep. Walter Minnick (D-Idaho) in making that qualified call for resignation, with Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) the only Democrat to fully call for Rangel to step down ahead of Thursday's hearing. Lawmakers and party strategists have suggested that, so far, the Rangel case has been a largely inside-the-Beltway matter, allowing for many Democrats to donate Rangel's political donations to charity without having to make any further statement on his tenure in office. That sentiment was echoed by a pair of freshman Democrats from Virginia at a think tank symposium Wednesday.
"I think it's a sad and isolated case that will have a limited impact," Rep. Gerry Connolly said. "I don't think it's going to be a dispositive issue in the election."

"I was at several festivals this weekend in conservative-leaning counties and I didn't get asked a single time about it," Rep. Tom Perriello said.


By Paul Kane  |  July 29, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Next: Charlie Rangel and the case of the idle Mercedes

Comments

"I think it's a sad and isolated case that will have a limited impact," Rep. Gerry Connolly said. "I don't think it's going to be a dispositive issue in the election."

Connolly has experience with this sort of thing,so do some research on his 2004 Hit and Run charge, for which he was found not guilty, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A372-2004Oct26.html Seven witnesses, no guilty verdict the post wrote:

Judge Craig Johnston, ruling after a two-hour trial in General District Court with seven witnesses, acknowledged that Connolly's failure to realize that his red Toyota Camry had collided with a black Ford Explorer on International Drive the morning of May 14 "is perhaps subject to some incredulity on the part of many." He said "there was certainly good reason" for Fairfax police to charge Connolly. But Johnston said the prosecutor did not prove that the county's top political leader purposefully drove away to a meeting after the accident.

Connolly was reelected as County Chairman and was elected to congress, the ultimate teflon man!

In november though, he will need to run away from something far more daunting, his liberal voting record in Congress!

Posted by: fairfaxgoper | August 2, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I am glad I do not know those who believe "some" corruption is normal. I 'spect they know that if all corrupt officals were discharged or put out of congress
there wouldn't be anyone to misrun the country!

Posted by: gany1 | July 30, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I am glad I do not know those who believe "some" corruption is normal. I 'spect they know that if all corrupt officals were discharged or put out of congress
there wouldn't be anyone to misrun the country!

Posted by: gany1 | July 30, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"Charley Rangel is pretty amazing. He makes, what, 90K per year?"
Like all other Reps and Sens, Rangel makes a base salary of $174K + more as committee chairman. Like all other Reps and Sens, Rangel does not pay into the govt retirement plan and will retire w/a pension based on the last 3 yrs of his pay. Like all other Reps and Sens, Rangel has health coverage that so far exceeds what Obamacare will offer that if federal officials had to settle for Obamacare we'd see rioting in the halls of congess. Since the average American's salary in 2010 is computed to be $52k, this sound pretty sweet to me but it was clearly not enough for Charlie Rangel.

Posted by: billmarsano | July 30, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

CHARLIE RANGEL, AN HONORABLE DEMOCRAT. GLAD YOU DRAINED THE SWAMP, NANCY.

CHARLIE IS BEING SUPPORTED BY MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN HIS DISTRICT.

HARLEM: THE CHICAGO OF NEW YORK.

WE'LL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Posted by: barrysal | July 29, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Cain't you just see Nancy and her "Most ethecial Congress ever" now. You know they are having a heck of a time trying to figure out how to exonerate Charlie Rangle so they can keep Obama and his Socialist Liberal adjenda on track. If Charlies gets the boot it will throw them off course
trying to come up with excuses and then have to look further into Freddie Mac and Fanney May irrigularaties. They cannot accept the heat for that fiasco and its total failure and cost to the American Public/Tax Payers

Posted by: jmsmaxwell | July 29, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Pooh, pooh, pooh, it's no big deal. After all, look at the Republicans, and if you don't look at them, look at the cops who stray from the letter of the law.

NO BIG DEAL FOLKS, AT LEAST NOT FOR THEM, JUST FOR US. THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH ALMOST ANYTHING. BUT, IF YOU OR I DO THE SAME THING, WE'RE FACING JAIL TIME. TIME FOR A CHANGE.

SEE YOU AT THE POLLS!

NOVEMBER IS COMING!

Posted by: barrysal | July 29, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Pooh, pooh, pooh, it's no big deal. After all, look at the Republicans, and if you don't look at them, look at the cops who stray from the letter of the law.

NO BIG DEAL FOLKS, AT LEAST NOT FOR THEM, JUST FOR US. THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH ALMOST ANYTHING. BUT, IF YOU OR I DO THE SAME THING, WE'RE FACING JAIL TIME. TIME FOR A CHANGE.

SEE YOU AT THE POLLS!

NOVEMBER IS COMING!

Posted by: barrysal | July 29, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Rangel, Eric Holder, and Barack Hussein Obama have done more to set the black people back than anyone else in history. Guess it's Fox News and George W. Bush's fault.

Posted by: barrysal | July 29, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Rangel has served his African American constituents well, and some corruption is to be expected from him, for all he has suffered and worked for the black community. Its his right. I would vote for him again.

Posted by: pgr88 | July 29, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------------
"It's his right," to lie, cheat, and steal?? from the Taxpayers, when he's writing the tax laws??
That "has to be" the Black Perspective. Perhaps that attitude explains why there are no Black, First World Countries??
That attitude, is congenital.
Rangel should be in prison with Bernie Madoff.
I’d never vote for a known thief.
I consider a Bureaucratically entrenched Thief, more dangerous, and debilitating than a common thief, pickpocket, or burglar. They steal much more.
Dennis

Posted by: Shadowsmgc | July 29, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse


Charlie Rangel has served his African American constituents well, and some corruption is to be expected from him, for all he has suffered and worked for the black community. Its his right. I would vote for him again.

Posted by: pgr88 | July 29, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------------
"It's his right," to lie, cheat, and steal?? from the Taxpayers, when he's writing the tax laws??
That "has to be" the Black Perspective. Perhaps that attitude explains why there are no Black, First World Countries??
That attitude, is congenital.
Rangel should be in prison with Bernie Madoff.
I’d never vote for a known thief.
I consider a Bureaucratically entrenched Thief, more dangerous, and debilitating than a common thief, pickpocket, or burglar. They steal much more.
Dennis

Posted by: Shadowsmgc | July 29, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse


Charlie Rangel has served his African American constituents well, and some corruption is to be expected from him, for all he has suffered and worked for the black community. Its his right. I would vote for him again.

Posted by: pgr88 | July 29, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------------
"It's his right," to lie, cheat, and steal?? from the Taxpayers, when he's writing the tax laws??
That "has to be" the Black Perspective. Perhaps that attitude explains why there are no Black, First World Countries??
That attitude, is congenital.
Rangel should be in prison with Bernie Madoff.
I’d never vote for a known thief.
I consider a Bureaucratically entrenched Thief, more dangerous, and debilitating than a common thief, pickpocket, or burglar. They steal much more.
Dennis

Posted by: Shadowsmgc | July 29, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I like Rangel, he's tough, clever, and often amusing. But at what point in his long career did his strength turn to hubris? Was it quick, or like the proverbial frog in hot water, did it happen slowly, imperceptibly, until he finds himself cooked?

Posted by: Kelly14 | July 29, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Rep. Rangel shows some class and resigns his office.

Posted by: jhpbriton | July 29, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

the legacy ship has sailed. his arrogance when faced with luke russert will be the defining image of rangel.

Posted by: dummypants | July 29, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

He and Marion Barry should start a consulting firm.

Posted by: FLvet | July 29, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

First this guy is a founding father of the CBC. He has been in the House of 40 Years.

It is obvious that he has forgotten the word ETHICS, PRINCIPLES and VALUES. Let alone Duty, Honor and Country.

But then you take a look at the Democratic and Republican Leadership and he is no worse that Pelosi and the rest of her minions.

He definitely is not in the same league as Obama.

Therefore, because he is a member of the CBC and the Democratic party... He will walk.. meaning he will not be disgraced and kicked out of the house as he deserves. He should be dismissed on half pension with his medical care being in the Obama Care that he helped pass.

He is a prime example why we should have term limits and mandatory retirement at 75.

Posted by: miller515501 | July 29, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Rangel has served his African American constituents well, and some corruption is to be expected from him, for all he has suffered and worked for the black community. Its his right. I would vote for him again.

Posted by: pgr88 | July 29, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

TAX CHEAT reprobate rangel's lawyer: they don't want anything "...that would further damage his reputation..."

When you're the slime beneath the slime, the lowest of the low, the crud at the bottom of the barrel, how much further damaged could possibly be done to your reputation?

Settlement = COVER-UP to hide the full details from the American public before the Nov. campaigns, and make this massive d-crat socialist corruption issue just go away.

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | July 29, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

If you don't know already that the "fix" is in, Nancy Pelosi is laughing at you.

This is just a sideshow orchestrated and choreographed by the dems.

While everyone is chattering about poor old Charley, the dems are quietly cutting deals behind closed doors.

You are being deked.

Posted by: rogettastone | July 29, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

If Rangel was a Republican The Post would be screaming from the rooftops for his ouster. But since he's a Democrat he gets a pass.

Throw all the bumbs out of Congress. Republican and Democrat.

Posted by: kmp1 | July 29, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

You gotta feel for a guy who has served Harlem well for 40 years. Nevertheless, he's not nearly as much of a crook as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. was.
The funny thing is, Charlie could resign from Congress and walk away scot free from this, other than paying some IRS tax penalties.

Charlie needs to man up and resign.

Posted by: joy5 | July 29, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

if he admits to or is proven guilty he should loose his retirement and benefits jsut like some of the Bank CEO's that lost during the bailout. if he goes now before trial he can probaly keep all his perks but if he goes and is guilty he should loose those perks

Posted by: robertbeaver | July 29, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Charles Rangel's legacy has already been defined: it is one of flagrant abuse of power and callous indifference to basic moral standards.

There is nothing he can do to change his legacy now. All he can do retire quietly and spare his nation, his party and his community even more embarrassment.

Posted by: coastofutopia | July 29, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Most of us have to retire between 65-70. Why do these guys hang on till their 80 or more? The pay's not that great, they've got their pensions and benefits for life.
Give it up, Charlie...let someone else step in.

Posted by: Rivery | July 29, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

hang em high if found guilty if not cut em loose he starts racial be cause hes blaC HANG EM HIGH THE ROOSTR JIMMY

Posted by: jimmymishoe92 | July 29, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

hang em high if found guilty if not cut em loose he starts racial be cause hes blaC HANG EM HIGH THE ROOSTR JIMMY

Posted by: jimmymishoe92 | July 29, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

In Rep. Rangel's mind, he didn't do anything wrong. Taxes are meant to be paid by big, evil corporations and the wealthy ---of which he is neither--- so what's the problem? If Rep. Rangel is guilty of anything, he's guilty of simply following the liberal playbook.

Posted by: Regis09 | July 29, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The man is a crooked politian, not unlike hundreds of others. The only diference is that they can prove it. He should be having a bad day.
Just another nail in coffin of the respect and admiration we once had for our Washington officials...

Posted by: meaton11 | July 29, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The man is a crooked politian, not unlike hundreds of others. The only diference is that they can prove it. He should be having a bad day.
Just another nail in coffin of the respect and admiration we once had for our Washington officials...

Posted by: meaton11 | July 29, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse


Break out the pliers and blow torches.

Posted by: nuke41 | July 29, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse


Dims have been covering up for Charlie Rangel for the past two years. So why now? Maybe because they are going to lose control of the House and it would be even worse for Rangel the thief once the GOP is back in the majority.

96 days until Election Day. See you at the polls, Dims.

Posted by: screwjob18 | July 29, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse


Dims have been covering up for Charlie Rangel for the past two years. So why now? Maybe because they are going to lose control of the House and it would be even worse for Rangel the thief once the GOP is back in the majority.

96 days until Election Day. See you at the polls, Dims.

Posted by: screwjob18 | July 29, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The hearing won't happen today. Either they will give Rangle a postponement or there will be a settlement with a slap on the wrist for Rangle. If you kicked out all of the Congressmen who haven't paid their taxes you couldn't get a quorum.

Posted by: jdonner2 | July 29, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Rangel should do the honorable thing and resign! He will still get his salary for the rest of his life. But wait, why should we expect honor among thieves?

Posted by: DanDetroit | July 29, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Rangel should do the honorable thing and resign! He will still get his salary for the rest of his life. But wait, why should we expect honor among thieves?

Posted by: DanDetroit | July 29, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs." ~ Enoch (not Adam Clayton) Powell, British politician.

Posted by: WhateverHeSaid | July 29, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Charley Rangel is pretty amazing. He makes, what, 90K per year? Yet he can buy condos in the Dominican Republic and buy rent subsidized apartments and many other high return "investments". He should be a great investment adviser. Maybe he can work on that while in prison, where he belongs.

Posted by: ajmg1 | July 29, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that when someone is accused of wrongdoing their vacation home is invariably described as a "villa"?

Posted by: SouthernerInDC | July 29, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

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