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Charlie Rangel: ‘Hell no, I won’t go’

By SUSAN CORNWELL
August 11, 2010

Rep. Charles Rangel (AP)

Democratic Representative Charles Rangel said on Tuesday he was not resigning in the face of ethics charges and asked for an expedited resolution of his case before he has to face voters in November elections.

“I am not going away. I am here,” Rangel said to some applause during a lengthy, rambling speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Rangel, formerly one of the House’s most powerful members as chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, apologized for any embarrassment he had caused lawmakers.

The House Ethics Committee charged Rangel with 13 violations last month, including omitting information on financial disclosure forms, using a rent-stabilized apartment for his campaign committee, and failure to report income from renting out his villa in the Dominican Republic.

Rangel denied he was corrupt and told House members that if they thought he should resign, they should just expel him.

“If it is the judgment of people here, for whatever reason, that I resign, then heck, have the Ethics Committee expedite this. Don’t leave me swinging in the wind until November,” he said.

“If I can’t get my dignity back here, then fire your best shot in getting rid of me through expulsion.”

Democrats have urged the New York lawmaker, one of the most senior members of Congress, to settle the charges to avoid an Ethics Committee trial they fear could hurt them in the November congressional elections where they are struggling to retain their majorities.

‘PROCESS IS MOVING FORWARD’

After Rangel’s speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a brief statement saying the Ethics Committee was the “proper arena” for such matters to be discussed. She noted the panel was independent and bipartisan — it has five Democrats and five Republicans.

“The process is moving forward in a way that will ensure that the highest ethical standards are upheld in the House of Representatives,” Pelosi said.

Rangel stepped down in March as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee after the ethics panel, in a separate case, admonished him for corporate-sponsored trips in 2007 and 2008, in violation of House gifts rules.

If convicted of the new charges, Rangel could again be admonished or censured. Expulsion would require the approval of the full House, which ethics experts have said seems unlikely.

Rangel complained the investigation had dragged on two years and he had spent $2 million in legal fees but a hearing had still not been set. One is expected in September.

“I’m 80 years old, I don’t want to die before the hearing,” Rangel said. Addressing some specific charges, including soliciting donations on congressional stationery, he said he made mistakes and broke some rules.

“There has to be a penalty for grabbing the wrong stationery and not really doing the right thing, but it’s not corrupt. It may be stupid, it may be negligent, but it’s not corrupt.”

“I apologize for any embarrassment that I’ve caused,” Rangel told the House.

He did not agree with those who thought President Barack Obama had been signaling he should quit. The president recently said the charges against Rangel were “very troubling” and that he hoped Rangel could end his career “with dignity.”

Copyright © 2010 Reuters

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7 Responses to Charlie Rangel: ‘Hell no, I won’t go’

  1. Jim0001

    August 11, 2010 at 11:51 am

    “The process is moving forward in a way that will ensure that the highest ethical standards are upheld in the House of Representatives,” Pelosi said.

    More change we can believe in from the most ethical administration in the history of our country.

    I don’t understand dignity when one is charged with not one but 13 ethics violations. It is a different world in the rarified stratosphere of Capitol Hill.

  2. AustinRanter - AKA Gregg

    August 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Hell, if for some weird reason I wound up in Washington (which would automatically indicate something amuck about my ethics) I seriously doubt that I would leave under the same circumstances as good old Mr. Rangles.

    It takes a special kind of person to be a member of the Washington Royalty. Being a less than ethical person is an essential characteristic necessary to endure and sustain one’s existence in Washington. At the very least a person has to know how to employ situational ethics.

    Washington is the land of enchantment, home to the American Royalty. It’s Shangri La.

    Given the way Washington works – I’d probably leave deep and long claw marks before I was booted out of Washington.

    At this point-in-time…with such a broken system, I believe that it’s impossible to become a part of the Washington Royalty and not be co-opted into the obvious corrupt lifestyles.

    I’m well aware that I’m not perfect. However, I prefer to live my life with some dignity and ethics. Hence, I know that would never wind up in Washington for any reason. I couldn’t wake up every day and look at myself in a mirror. I’d have to shudder in my own skin for even being associated with the less than ethical members of the Washington Royalty.

  3. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    August 11, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Fancy Pants Pelosi should have her head on the Chopping Block

  4. Jim0001

    August 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Butox would spew everywhere when this reptilian witch’s head explodes and Al Gore would write a book and global warming would destroy the planet….

    And it’s George Bush’s fault!!!!!

  5. griff

    August 12, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Are these assholes for real? Unbelievable!

  6. NightWisp

    August 13, 2010 at 12:02 am

    We have too many Congress Critters over 70 in office. Some even hit 100.
    Rangel is 80. We need an upper limit on age to serve the business of the people. Some of these guys are the walking dead. It is ridiculous that these people think they are royalty, above the law, and hold office until death. And then passes the office to the next generation. From the results of this Congressional session passed bills, it is obvious they are senile or demented.

  7. AustinRanter - AKA Gregg

    August 13, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Night…

    Limits on politicians, IMHO, should be nothing more than the poke on a card, the pull of a switch, the push on an icon on a computer screen.

    There’s little left to inspire We The People to be proactive in the political process. Right or wrong…left or right, there has to be some mechanism for We The People to have some element of control over government. The polling booth is our only true means of exercising not only a personal and collective voice of choice, but also the power to impose limits on politicians.

    But you say, “The American people fall short of actually using their power at the polls.”

    Yep, probably so. There’s been severe consequences.

    Maybe we’ll hit bottom hard eough to actually become change agents, to overcome being servants rather than masters to our governments.

    Maybe…just maybe….