Rangel Found Guilty On 11 Counts; Up Next: Deciding On Punishment

Maybe it's just as well he ducked out of the hearing.

The ethics panel that has been reviewing the financial questions surrounding Rep. Charles Rangel found the Harlem Democrat guilty on 11 counts of violating House rules, noting that there was "clear and convincing evidence" of wrongdoing.

Rangel, who is 80 and has served in the House since 1971, has been under investigation for two years.  Last year he resigned, under pressure, as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Yesterday he made a brief and somewhat puzzling appearance before the panel, saying it was "unfair" he should have to defend himself without legal representation; he and his legal team parted ways last month.  The reviews of his performance were widely negative.

Up next:  the full ethics committee will decide punishment.  There seems to be little, if any, possibility that the sanction could reach an expulsion resolution; only two members of the House have been expelled since the Civil War.  More likely is some sort of reprimand or rebuke.

Rangel easily won re-election two weeks ago with about 80 percent of the vote.

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