Ethics committee moves toward Rangel probe

September 18, 2008 4:12:05 PM PDT
Leaders of the House ethics committee said Thursday they plan to begin investigating some of the ethical issues surrounding Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Reps. Gene Green, D-Texas, and Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said they thought an investigative subcommittee should start work. Hastings said he would like the committee to hire a special counsel with expertise in tax and legal issues.

Rangel, D-N.Y., has asked the committee to investigate him on several fronts: for not reporting rental income on a Dominican Republic vacation house; for his use of three rent-stabilized apartments in his home district of Harlem; and for his use of congressional stationery to try to drum up private financial support for a college center named after him.

Also Thursday, the House voted 226-176 against a measure offered by Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, that called for Rangel to lose his committee post. An earlier House vote seeking to censure Rangel had failed by a wide margin.

In addition to trying to force Rangel off the committee, Republicans have tried to use Rangel's ethical and financial problems as a campaign issue against other Democrats running for Congress.