- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2010

A House panel has set a Monday morning date to hear the ethics case against New York Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel, former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and long one of the most influential black lawmakers in Congress.

The 9 a.m. Monday session announced by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct will come on the first day lawmakers arrive back in Washington to begin the lame-duck legislative session following the November mid-term elections. Mr. Rangel, who easily won re-election in his Harlem district to a 21st term Nov. 2, has insisted he is innocent of the charges and has rejected offers to settle the charges.

The ethics case — and one still pending against another top black Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Maxine Waters of California — proved an embarrassment to the party in an election where congressional Democrats suffered heavy losses.

Committee Chairwoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat, announced last month that hearings into the two cases would be held during the lame-duck session.

Mr. Rangel, who recently fired the attorneys representing him and could defend himself at Monday’s hearing, is accused of 13 violations of congressional ethics, including failing to disclose at least $600,000 in assets and income in a series of inaccurate financial-disclosure reports to Congress and using a rent-subsidized New York apartment for a campaign office, when it was designated for residential use. The hearing could reportedly last several days.

Mrs. Waters’ case, relating to charges she improperly aided a bank with ties to her husband, is tentatively scheduled to start Nov. 29.

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