Nov 16, 2010

Charles Rangel Guilty
 
 
Rep. Charles Rangel, once one of the most influential House members, was convicted Tuesday on 11 counts of breaking ethics rules and now faces punishment.

An ethics panel of eight House peers deliberated over two days before delivering a jarring blow to the 20-term New York Democrat's career. Rangel was charged with 13 counts of financial and fundraising misconduct.

The conviction also was another setback for Democrats who lost control of the House to the GOP in the midterm elections.

Rangel, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is not expected to resign. He is 80 years old and remains a dominant political figure in New York's famed Harlem neighborhood.

He was forced to step down last March as Ways and Means chairman when the House ethics committee, in a separate case, admonished him for taking two Caribbean trips paid for by corporations.

At his one-day trial on Monday, Rangel was reduced to pleading for a postponement – arguing that his lawyers abandoned him after he paid them some $2 million but could afford no more. The panel rejected his request, and Rangel walked out of the proceeding.

Only last spring, Rangel wielded significant power in the House from his position as the main writer of tax legislation. He was not present Tuesday when the verdict was announced.

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