After years of questions about his four (!) rent-stabilized apartments, not reporting income and/or taxes on various properties and sales, using House letterhead to solicit donations for a CUNY graduate school named after him, and more, the House of Representatives will be taking Rep. Charles Rangel (D), the longtime Congressman from Harlem, to trial over alleged ethics violations.
The charges won't be announced until next week, but the NY Times reports that "the committee found evidence to support accusations that Mr. Rangel, 80, 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 Mr. Rangel’s honor. The committee also found evidence to support a charge that Mr. Rangel failed to report or pay taxes on rental income from his beachfront Dominican villa." So, basically it's all the stuff that's been snowballing down the hill since 2008 (but what about the poorly designed websites he paid his son for?)
Rangel put on his game face while speaking with reporters yesterday—even taking umbrage with NBC/MSNBC's Luke Russert for asking him whether he was worried about losing his job (Rangel didn't quite answer that, but say that line of questioning was very unlike NBC; clip below)—and said, "I feel extraordinarily good that my supporters of 40 years will be able to evaluate what they’ve come up. This is it, this is what I’ve been waiting for, and we’ll see what happens." However, Citizens for Responsible Ethics' Melanie Sloan told the Post, "It's very bad news for Mr. Rangel. This means they found some very bad stuff. To me, this is a step toward expulsion."
Politico reports that the trial is happening because settlement negotiations went nowhere: "The negotiations were designed to avoid the spectacle of a trial by his peers for Rangel, but talks apparently broke down when the parties in the discussions - Republicans and Democrats on the ethics committee, and Rangel himself - couldn’t reach an agreement."
Rangel is up for re-election this fall; there's a primary on September 14.