Unless something dramatic happens between Charlie Rangel's lawyers and the Ethics Committee between now and September, the 10 term congressman is likely to go on trial for 13 ethics violations:
After eleventh-hour settlement talks broke down, the committee announced that it had found "substantial reason to believe" that the New York Democrat had violated House rules or federal laws by soliciting donations from people with business before his committee to fund a center named in his honor at City College of New York, not paying taxes on a Caribbean home, improperly using a rent-stabilized apartment in New York as a campaign office, and not properly disclosing more than $600,000 in income and assets.
"These actions, if proven, would demonstrate that Mr. Rangel violated multiple provisions of the House rules and federal statutes. . . . We can never forget that public office is a public trust," said Rep. Michael McCaul (Tex.), a former federal corruption prosecutor and the top Republican on the ethics subcommittee hearing Rangel's case.
Rangel did not appear at the hearing, but his attorneys issued a 32-page rebuttal. Rangel denied that donors for the college wing were targeted based on their business before his committee and said he had received no personal benefit from the college.
He also said he "acted promptly to correct unintentional mistakes" in filing financial disclosure forms. He said he paid the "maximum rent" for the Harlem apartment and "received no special benefits" for the unit.
That's Charlie's story and he's sticking to it.
Expect censure, not expulsion. This is not the days of Adam Clayton Powell where the Democrats dared do the right thing and ejected the swaggering and corrupt Powell from the House. The Harlem congressman - the same seat now held by Rangel - didn't try to hide his malfeasance and gloried in the attention he received because of it.
In these times, Rangel is safe because of the terror felt by Democrats in dealing forcefully with an African American powerhouse (see Burris, Roland in the senate). After a while, I guess racial pandering becomes something of a habit.