NPR logo Rep. Charles Rangel Charged With Breaking Ethics Rules


Rep. Charles Rangel Charged With Breaking Ethics Rules

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel. Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP hide caption

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Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel.

Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

Rep. Charles Rangel, (D-N.Y.) was formally charged with breaking House ethics rules on Thursday by a committee of colleagues who police the activities of House members.

Rangel had chaired the important House Ways and Means Committee which writes the nation's tax laws until earlier this year.

But after questions were raised about whether he had crossed a line in using his powerful position to his own benefit as well as those of causes he supported, he stepped down from the chairmanship.

In March when Rangel gave up the post, the New York Times reported:

Mr. Rangel, for decades an institution both on Capitol Hill and in New York politics, said he was leaving the post to prevent Republicans from forcing his fellow Democrats to vote on ousting him from the position after he was admonished by the House ethics committee last week for accepting corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean.

The ethics panel is still investigating more serious accusations regarding Mr. Rangel’s fund-raising, his failure to pay federal taxes on rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic and his use of four rent-stabilized apartments provided by a Manhattan real estate developer.

“In order to avoid my colleagues having to defend me during their elections, I have this morning sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking her to grant me a leave of absence until such time as the ethics committee completes its work,” Mr. Rangel said.