Panel: Rangel Guilty of 11 Ethics Violations

BREAKING: Rangel guilty of 11 ethics violations, a House Ethics subcommittee announced late this morning.

The subcommittee will now deliberate on how to punish the 20-term lawmaker. The facts of the case were accepted without dispute by the subcommittee members after Rangel walked out of the hearing.

The ranking Republican on the subcommittee, Michael McCaul, said he hoped this would help usher in “a new era of ethics.”

During the proceedings on Monday, Rangel told members of a bi-partisan House Ethics committee he can no longer afford to retain his legal team after spending more than $1 million on legal bills. He also complained about Congressional rules barring lawmakers from accepting pro-bono services, under the federal law banning gifts to lawmakers.

Then, he excused himself and walked out. His call to delay the hearing until he can raise money for a legal defense were denied.

The 20-term Democratic Congressman from Harlem faced charges of not properly accounting for his financial assets, failing to pay taxes on rental income he owned in the Dominican Republic and using Congressional stationary to solicit money for a school to be named in his honor. Rangel had already admitted some wrongdoing but insisted they were mistakes and not done intentionally.

UPDATE: Governor Paterson's office is declining to comment on the matter, for now. I've reached out to a number of other people. Among them was Rep. Jerry Nadler of Manhattan's West Side.

Through a spokesperson, Nadler said, "I'm very saddened to hear the news. Charlie Rangel has been a great asset to Harlem, New York, and the country for decades, and this is an unfortunate mark on his important record of service."