Charlie Rangels War: Rangel Negotiating or On Trial?

Apparently Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is trying to negotiate a way out of the thirteen ethics violations he is charged with, even as the trial is underway. Reports are varied. Some say he struck a deal, others say they don’t think so, but as news pops up by the minute, it seems today there is no deal.

Charlie Rangel

After pushing his opportunity to negotiate to the limits, House investigators “read out the thirteen alleged violations of ethics and federal law….” Here’s a synopsis:

The charges involve four areas: Mr. Rangel’s solicitation of contributions to a school to be named in his honor at City College of New York; his errors and omissions on his House financial disclosure forms; his acceptance of rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem, including one for his campaign office; and his failure to report and pay taxes on rental income on a beach villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.

To add to the confusion, Rangel was not present when his misdeeds were publicly named. If he has cut a deal, it is not clear how many of the thirteen charges he has agreed to acknowledge.

The Democrat was trying to thread the needle by admitting to misconduct while insisting it was not on purpose, sources said.

His attempts to save his own skin by dragging out the negotiations infuriated many of his Democratic colleagues, some of whom said he was operating under the delusion that he might recapture the Ways and Means Committee chairmanship he was forced to give up last spring.

“If he were to be cleared, then it might have been possible, even in a lame duck session after the elections, to get it back,” a source said, noting that Rangel always said giving up his gavel was temporary.

Rangel was hoping to convince probers that he did not deliberately avoid paying taxes, hide assets or trade legislative favors for donations to City College’s planned Rangel Center, the sources said.

Read background on Rangel’s culture of corruption here.