Rangel denounces ethics decision

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Tuesday said he was disappointed in the decision by the ethics panel Tuesday to convict him on 11 of 12 charges of violating the rules of the House. Here’s his statement:

“How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the ethics subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room?   I can only hope that the full committee will treat me more fairly, and take into account my entire 40 years of service to the Congress before making any decisions on sanctions.

“I am disappointed by the unfortunate findings of the ethics subcommittee.  The committee’s actions are unprecedented in view of the fact that they arrived at without rebuttal or counter evidence on my behalf.

“While I am required to accept the findings of the ethics committee, I am compelled to state again the unfairness of its continuation without affording me the opportunity to obtain legal counsel as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

“This unfair decision is the inevitable result of the committee’s insistence on moving forward despite the absence of any legal representation on my behalf.  The committee elected to reject my appeal for additional time to secure new counsel and thus acted in violation of the basic constitutional right to counsel.

“The Committee’s findings are even more difficult to understand in view of yesterday’s declaration by the Committee’s chief counsel, Blake Chisam, that there was no evidence of corruption or personal gain in his findings.

“From here forward, it is my hope that the full ethics committee will take into consideration the opinion of its chief counsel as well as the statement by Rep. Bobby Scott [R-Va.], a member of its investigatory subcommittee, who said that any failings in my conduct were the result of ‘good faith mistakes’ and were caused by ’sloppy and careless recordkeeping, but were not criminal or corrupt.’”

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