House panel to try Rangel on ethics violations

July 22, 2010 10:24:27 PM PDT
After a two-year investigation a House panel has found that Congressman Charles Rangel violated ethics rules.

The panel of two Democrats and two Republicans handed the investigation up to another committee that will now hold a public hearing on Capitol Hill next week.

"I have looked forward for over two years asking them to look at this and throw out what I believe has no substance," Rangel said Thursday night.

The allegations include how Rangel got four rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem at a price well-below market value.

He's accused of hiding an investment account worth a half-million dollars.

He supposedly provided favors to an oil company in exchange for a million-dollar donation to a new school at City College named after Rangel.

He also failed to report income or apparently pay taxes on a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic

"I don't have any fear politically or personally with what they have come up with," Rangel said.

Despite the investigation, Rangel, who just turned 80, remains popular in Harlem as he runs for re-election this fall.

"We call him the Lion of Lenox Avenue and that's how I think Harlem and the rest of the world should remember him. His days are not over yet. He very much has a future and we look forward to sharing that future with him," Assemblyman Keith Wright said.

This is the first time in eight years the House Standards Committee has taken such drastic action. Further hearings could lead to anything from a reprimand to expulsion from the House.

Rangel led the tax-writing Ways and Means panel until he stepped aside last March after the ethics committee criticized him in a separate case - finding that he should have known corporate money was paying for his trips to two Caribbean conferences.