November 17, 2010

Rangel found guilty on 11 of 13 ethics charges

Judging by his actions thus far, the only person likely to be surprised by this verdict will be Rangel himself:

A House panel on Tuesday found Representative Charles B. Rangel guilty of 11 counts of ethical violations, ruling that his failure to pay taxes, improper solicitation of fund-raising donations and failure to accurately report his personal income had brought dishonor on the House.

After a public hearing Monday that was truncated by Mr. Rangel walking out in protest, an adjudicatory subcommittee of the House ethics committee deliberated for four hours before finding him guilty of all but one of the 13 counts against him.

(Two other counts, involving Mr. Rangel’s misuse of House franking privileges, were merged into one.)

The panel will meet again to decide the appropriate punishment for Rangel. That recommendation will then be voted on by the entire House. Insiders believe he will face either a reprimand or censure.

A more interesting question is what happens next for Rangel. He easily won re-election just two weeks ago, he probably won't face expulsion from the House and he represents one of the most heavily Democratic districts in the United States. Given that his constituents easily re-elected him despite the ethics cloud hanging over his head, does anybody believe this development will cause them to look for someone new next election? As long as Charlie Rangel keeps running, he will probably keep winning.

Keeping reading and we'll let you know what the panel recommends.