Rep. Charles Rangel, the long-serving Democratic Congressman from Harlem, is reportedly still in talks with the House Ethics Committee to settle charges ahead of today's trial. However, there's a big sticking point: Rangel apparently doesn't want to admit he did anything unethical. A source told the NY Post, "He feels, I think very strongly, that he has not done anything that was wrong."
The exact charges have not been disclosed (that's for the trial, which involves four Democrats and Republicans as judges and would begin at 1 p.m.), but it's believed the charges are related to his four (!) rent-stabilized apartments, not reporting income and/or taxes on various properties and sales and preserving a tax loophole worth $500 million for an oil executive donating money to a CUNY graduate school named after him. The NY Times reminds us all Rangel has admitted that not reporting the income on his tax returns was a mistake, but "denied any wrongdoing for" his bounty of cheap apartments or trying to save an oil executive half a billion.
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer haven't commented directly about Rangel's troubles, but the Times says, "Representative George Miller of California, a close ally of Ms. Pelosi, urged Mr. Rangel to settle the case." And according to the Daily News, "Rangel's mindset was so far removed from his increasingly worried colleagues' perspective that until recently he even dreamed of recapturing the Ways and Means Committee chairmanship he was forced to give up last spring."
Rangel's fellows Dems are definitely hoping for a deal: A New York Democratic leader told the Post, "I don't wish ill on Charlie, but he has a tough decision to make. If it goes to trial, the Republicans will be against him and the Democrats would be reluctant to cut him a break. This is not a jury trial."