WASHINGTON (AP) — New York Rep. Charles Rangel, a longtime power in the U.S. House, violated its rules with financial misconduct, brought it discredit and will be punished, fellow lawmakers sitting as jurors ruled on Tuesday.
Protesting the enduring stain on his four-decade congressional career, the 80-year-old Democrat said he was treated unfairly for "good faith mistakes." His statement reflected the bitterness of an eight-month career slide, starting with an unrelated ethics ruling that forced him from his coveted chairmanship of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
The conduct often cited by critics was his failure to report income to the IRS from a unit he owned in a Dominican Republic resort — showing the chairman in charge of tax legislation shortchanged the IRS.
Rangel, a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, remains a political kingpin in New York's famed Harlem neighborhood and is unlikely to resign. He won re-election earlier this month.
Convicted on 11 of 13 charges of rules violations, his ordeal isn't finished.
The eight-member ethics panel that convicted him — four Democrats and four Republicans — now will write what is likely to be a stinging report to amplify its findings. Then, the full House ethics committee will conduct a hearing on the appropriate punishment for Rangel, the silver-haired, gravelly voiced and sartorially flashy veteran of 20 terms in Congress.
Possible sanctions include a House vote deploring his conduct, a fine and denial of certain privileges.
Rangel's downfall, in part, came in the way he solicited money for a New York college center designed as a monument to himself. There also was his decade of misleading annual disclosures of his income and assets and his use of a subsidized New York apartment — designated for residential use — as a campaign office.
The panel deliberated over two days before its chairman, Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, made a bare-bones statement announcing the findings — leaving a full explanation for the upcoming written report.