Since the settlement talks between the House Ethics Committee and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) have either fizzled out or are too preliminary to be binding, the House rolled out the ethics charges against the long-serving Congressman. Politico reports, "The headliner allegations are that he improperly solicited money from corporate officials and lobbyists for the Charles B. Rangel Public Policy Center in New York, that he failed to disclose hundreds of dollars of income and assets on financial disclosure forms, that he maintained multiple rent-stabilized apartments in violation of New York City rules and failed to pay income taxes on a Dominican island resort home."
According to the Washington Post, the settlement talks failed. Plus Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said before announcing the charge, "Mr. Rangel... was given opportunities to negotiate a settlement under the investigation phase. We are now in the trial phase." But the Wall Street Journal says, "The settlement proposal is preliminary and could still be rejected by the 10-member ethics committee, which must approve or reject the agreement by a majority vote. That vote could take place Thursday afternoon."
And the NY Times says that Rangel's lawyers still hope to strike a deal, but "the two sides were unable to reach an agreement because Mr. Rangel would not agree to acknowledge that he misused his position as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in early 2007 by helping to preserve a tax break for an oil executive who pledged $1 million to help build the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York."
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California), who was on the investigations committee, said, "We are neither accusers nor defenders of our colleague, Mr. Rangel. We are here impartially. ... Our task is to determine whether Mr. Rangel's conduct met that standard" of upholding the public trust. If the trial continues to move forward, it would be the first trial of a House member since 2002, when James Traficant, Democrat from Ohio, was expelled for corruption.