- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 10, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — A combative Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, told the House on Tuesday he’s not resigning despite 13 charges of wrongdoing, and he demanded the ethics committee not leave him “swinging in the wind.”

Mr. Rangel, who is 80, spoke without notes in an extraordinary, often emotional 37-minute speech that defied his lawyers’ advice to keep quiet about his case. Mr. Rangel, a 40-year House veteran, had a sharp message in dismissing fellow Democrats who — worried about election losses — want him to quit,

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

Expulsion is the harshest penalty that can result from an ethics case. It would be highly unlikely in Mr. Rangel’s case because the former chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee is not accused of corruption.

Mr. Rangel was interrupted by applause twice, including when he said: “I am not going away. I am here.”

Mr. Rangel — who represents New York’s 15th Congressional District, which includes Harlem, Washington Heights, Morningside Heights, and part of Queens and the Upper West Side of Manhattan — acknowledged he made mistakes, but said he was not corrupt.

“I’m not asking for leniency. I’m asking for exposure of the facts,” he said in demanding that the ethics panel expedite the hearing of his case.

Mr. Rangel noted that the committee is scheduled to convene Sept. 13, the day before his primary, but that the main part of his ethics trial would not come until later in the fall.

“Don’t leave me swinging in the wind until November,” he demanded.

 

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