New York Rep. Ran­gel to face trial be­fore House ethics panel

Austin American-Statesman - - FRIDAY BRIEFING - By Eric Lip­ton and David Kocieniewski

WASHINGTON — A House in­ves­tiga­tive panel has found “sub­stan­tial rea­son to be­lieve” that Rep. Charles Ran­gel, D-N.Y., vi­o­lated a range of ethics rules.

The find­ing means that the 80-yearold con­gress­man must face a pub­lic trial be­fore the House ethics com­mit­tee, the first mem­ber to be forced to do so since 2002, when for­mer Rep. James Traf­i­cant Jr., D-Ohio, was ex­pelled from Congress af­ter tak­ing bribes.

The in­ves­tiga­tive panel didn’t dis­close any de­tails about the pos­si­ble vi­o­la­tions.

But two Democrats with knowl­edge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said the com­mit­tee found ev­i­dence to sup­port ac­cu­sa­tions that Ran­gel wrongly ac­cepted four rent-sta­bi­lized apart­ments in Man­hat­tan and mis­used his of­fice to pre­serve a tax loop­hole worth half a bil­lion dol­lars for an oil ex­ec­u­tive who pledged a do­na­tion for an ed­u­ca­tional cen­ter be­ing built in Ran­gel’s honor.

The com­mit­tee also found ev­i­dence to sup­port a charge that Ran­gel failed to re­port or pay taxes on rental in­come from his beach­front Caribbean villa.

Ran­gel, who has dis­missed the ac­cu­sa­tions since they were first made in 2008, said Thurs­day that he looked for­ward to pub­licly re­but­ting them.

Ran­gel, who in March gave up his pow­er­ful post as chair­man of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee in re­sponse to a sep­a­rate ethics is­sue, has spent nearly $2 mil­lion fight­ing to clear him­self in the in­ves­ti­ga­tions as he seeks a 21st term this fall.

His of­fice said Thurs­day there was no pos­si­bil­ity he would with­draw from the race or re­sign. But his mount­ing prob­lems have be­come a li­a­bil­ity for Democrats as they seek to re­tain con­trol of the House. Repub­li­cans have crit­i­cized Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not mov­ing more swiftly and de­ci­sively to dis­ci­pline Ran­gel.

Alex Bran­don

Rep. Charles Ran­gel, D-N.Y., for­mer chair­man of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee, has spent nearly $2 mil­lion fight­ing to clear him­self in the in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

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