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Monday, November 15, 2010

Charlie Rangel Whines Then Walks Out on His Ethics Trial

Two years after the scandal broke and after an extensive investigation into the dirty dealings of Charlie Rangel (D- NY) resulting in 13 ethics violations, finally the ethics trial begins.... without Rangel who apparently walked out after having his request for a delay denied.

He asked for a delay because he didn't have a lawyer and claims he has no money left for one.

Sounds like a personal problem to me.

Malkin lists the charges in this political theater show.

Count I: Conduct in Violation of the Solicitation and Gift Ban
Count II: Conduct in Violation of Code of Ethics for Government Service
Count III: Conduct in Violation of the House Gift Rule
Count IV: Conduct in Violation of Postal Service Laws and Franking Commission Regulations
Count V: Conduct in Violation of Franking Statue
Count VI: Conduct in Violation of House Office Building Commission’s Regulations
Count VII: Conduct in Violation of the Purpose Law and the Member’s Congressional Handbook
Count VIII: Conduct in Violation of the Letterhead Rule
Count IX: Conduct in Violation of the Ethics in Government Act (EIGA) and House Rule XXVI
Count X: Conduct in Violation of Code of Ethics for Government Service
Count XI: Conduct in Violation of Code of Ethics for Government Service
Count XII: Conduct in Violation of Code of Conduct: Letter and Spirit of House Rules
Count XIII: Conduct in Violation of the Code of Conduct: Conduct Reflecting Discreditably on the House

Via The Politico:

Rangel has been hit with a 13-count “Statement of Alleged Violation” following a two-year investigation, including allegations that he improperly solicited millions of dollars from corporate officials and lobbyists for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at The City College of New York; failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of income and assets on financial disclosure forms; maintained multiple rent-stabilized apartments in a luxury Harlem apartment building; and failed to pay income taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic.

The problem here is it is all for show because this trial is proceeding before the newly elected Republicans take over the House and Rangel has friends and allies among the Democrats that currently hold the majority in the lame duck session (the time between election and when the new majority takes over).

With that said, it is a very public show and you can watch it via C-Span.

More from The Hill, Wapo and USA Today.

While this political theater moves along, new accusations are hitting Rangel for using PAC funds improperly. (Source)

Congressman Charles Rangel, whose ethics trial starts tomorrow, appears to have improperly used political-action committee money to pay for his defense.

Rangel tapped his National Leadership PAC for $293,000 to pay his main legal-defense team this year. He took another $100,000 from the PAC in 2009 to pay lawyer Lanny Davis.

Two legal experts told The Post such spending is against House rules.

"It's a breach of congressional ethics," one campaign-finance lawyer said.

Washington, DC, political lawyer Cleta Mitchell said there is "no authority for a member to use leadership PAC funds as a slush fund to pay for personal or official expenses."

Next up on Nov. 29, 2010, a second ethics trial is scheduled for Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).