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Rangel Reverses Course on Ethics Investigations

POSTED: 03:11 PM ET, 07/24/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) has reversed course on two ethics investigations filed against him, telling the House committee he chairs that he wants to be fully vetted.

The House Ways and Means Committee chairman acknowledged yesterday that he hoped his personal entreaties to foundations and corporations would bring in donations to an academic center that bears his name, The Post's Christopher Lee reports.

In a letter to the House ethics committee, Rangel confirmed that he sent at least 150 letters on congressional stationery to philanthropic and business leaders as part of his efforts to support the new Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York.

The congressman will separately ask the panel to look into his rental of four New York apartments at below-market rates, The New York Times reports. City and state guidelines require such dwellings to be used as a primary residence. Rangel has said that he would give up one apartment that he uses as a campaign office.

The congressman said last week that his living arrangements were a "personal issue" that the ethics panel should not examine. A spokesman said yesterday that Rangel had decided to clear the air.

Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, opined in Roll Call that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct -- the body that would investigate Rangel -- is not functional enough to perform a thorough audit. Rather, Ornstein called for a new, independent ethics commission to look into the Rangel cases.

By Derek Kravitz |  July 24, 2008; 3:11 PM ET
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