Politico reports that Rep. Charles Rangel is running out of options to avoid having to face the House ethics committee:
New tinges of partisanship gripped the ethics process, recipe making it appear far less likely that Rangel can find a settlement that suits both him and the panel’s Republican contingent.
The New York Democrat’s legal team has been working with the panel’s lawyers to strike an agreement that would save Rangel and House Democrats the pain of a public “trial” but also force Rangel to confess to some of the allegations that he mishandled his personal finances and abused his office.
Yet Republicans have the trump card: Any deal would have to win support from at least one GOP member of the panel, try and the minority party is concerned that Democrats have sought to short-circuit the process by negotiating with Rangel without any Republicans present.
Rangel said Tuesday that he’s still trying to find common ground but also that he anticipates the opening session of the congressional ethics trial to go forward on Thursday.
“People are trying to avoid the [spectacle] of a hearing and, to me, it makes sense, and I’m not participating in it but my lawyers are, so if they can do anything to pierce the cloud of doubt with the truth, however it’s done,” he said. “When we were doing congressional conferences, there was [an] expression that said until everything is agreed upon, nothing is agreed upon. So that’s the way it is, and as far as I know, the schedule … is still on.”
A 40-year House veteran whose ethics troubles forced him out of the Ways and Means chairmanship earlier this year, Rangel is facing slowly building pressure from his fellow Democrats — including two who have called for his resignation — to cut a deal or cut his ties to Congress before Thursday’s ethics subcommittee “trial” begins.
Absent a decision to resign or to admit to most of the allegations against him, Rangel is now headed for a painful process that will start Thursday with the publication of the official charges that he broke House ethics rules — a Statement of Alleged Violation — and seems likely to drag into September or October.