Today a House ethics subcommittee found Democratic Representative Charlie Rangel guilty of violating several House conduct rules. The House Committee on Standards and Official Conduct convicted the Representative from New York on 11 of 13 separate violations. Read the 13 original charges [.pdf] against the Representative. Rangel, who was first elected to the House in 1970, will now go before the entire House for a vote on the punishment the House subcommittee recommends. The recommended punishment could be anything from a fine to expulsion from the House.
Though expulsion is unlikely and Rangel is expected to only receive a public reprimand. Yesterday, Rangel walked out of the first day of public hearings after he declared he required more time to attain counsel. Despite Rangel’s exit, the hearing continued and weighed the evidence against Rangel. The chief legal counsel against Rangel testified the Representative had not made “corrupt” decisions, but merely “sloppy and overzealous” decisions. Additionally, Rangel acknowledges he made ethical errors, but at the same time he argues he did not intend to violate House rules. Earlier this year, Rangel stepped down from his post as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee because of the allegations. While expulsion of the Representative is unlikely, it will be interesting to see the degree of condemnation that Rangel receives from not only Republicans, but especially Democrats.
The House subcommittee will determine Rangel’s recommended punishment in a hearing scheduled on November 18th at 12pm.