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Panel: Rangel broke House ethics rules

Feb. 25, 2010 at 8:34 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A House committee has concluded Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., violated ethics rules, House sources said, but Rangel says he was not "found guilty of anything."

Citing sources, Politico reported Thursday the House Ethics Committee has determined the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee violated the rules when he traveled to the Caribbean on trips funded by corporate interests. Rangel told the Washington publication he was being "admonished" by the committee because at least two members of his staff were aware of the funding and he should have known about it.

Two House committees have been investigating Rangel since The New York Times reported he was renting four rent-stabilized apartments in New York, apparently at below market value -- which would violate House rules against members accepting gifts valued at greater than $50.

The ethics committee was looking into a complaint by a government watchdog group that Rangel and four House colleagues broke a House rule by accepting corporate-funded travel to a November conference in St. Maarten sponsored by Citigroup, the Times said.

"I'm satisfied that when you read the report, that you will see that I have not been found guilty of anything," Rangel told Politico.

He said the "critical part" of the ethics committee report is that the committee did not know all the facts about funding for the travel when it approved the trips.

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the House Republican Conference chairman, said Rangel should "step aside" as Ways and Means Committee chairman "until these matters are resolved."

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