Long-awaited Charlie Rangel trial is now underway
The House Ethics Committee is kicking off its long-awaited trial of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) this morning. Rangel, who has served his Harlem district for 20 terms, faces 13 counts of violating congressional ethics rules that range from failure to disclose and pay taxes on personal assets to use of official stationery to raise money for a nonprofit center that bears his name.
The charges against Rangel have been known for months, but the Adjudicatory Subcommittee — which is charged with weighing their merit — was delayed until after the midterm elections. Republicans, eager to use Rangel’s ethics woes as evidence that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had not “drained the swamp” of corruption in Washington as she had promised, pushed for the trial during the summer months. Democrats, meanwhile, wanted no such thing, and managed to delay the trial phase of Rangel’s case until this morning. The Sunlight Foundation has a live feed — and live commentary — of the proceedings here.
Despite the 13 ethics charges hanging over his head, Rangel beat an array of Democratic primary challengers for his seat in September and then cruised to re-election with 80 percent of the vote on Nov. 2.