After nearly two years of investigation, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) will face a public hearing before the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in the start of a House process to determine if he violated ethics rules and, if so, to impose sanctions on the 20-term congressman.
The committee, more often referred to as the Ethics Committee, issued a statement on July 22 outlining a list of alleged violations submitted by its investigative subcommittee. Based on the committee’s rules, a trial will be required to determine Rangel’s guilt on any or all of the violations. A public hearing is set for July 29 at 1 p.m. to determine the time and place of the trial.
The Associated Press reported that Rangel’s attorney had been negotiating with the Committee to settle the case, but an agreement could not be reached.
The Committee did not detail the alleged violations in their statement, but the AP, citing unnamed sources, said the trial will look at Rangel’s use of official office stationary to raise funds for a building for the City College of New York; his use of four rent-subsidized apartments in New York, one as a campaign office; and his failure to report income on his financial disclosure forms.
The ethics investigation has not slowed down Rangel’s run for his 21st term in the Senate, and support for his candidacy is reportedly strong. New York Sen. Bill Perkins, a representative for Harlem, told the AFRO, “Obviously the community support he’s getting, he’s earned.”
Perkins cited the work Rangel has done in the Congress and his status as a war hero, having served in the Korean War. He added that, so far, the only information on possible ethics violations has come from the media. “In this democracy,” he said, “you’re innocent until you are proven guilty.”
He noted that Rangel seemed to welcome the trial as a sign that the process of determining his guilt or innocence is moving forward. “Frankly, for all of us,” said Perkins, “let’s clear the air and move on.”