Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) did not have a good day yesterday.
The House ethics committee ruled on Monday that there was evidence to support 13 counts of misconduct by Representative Charles B. Rangel, and began considering whether to formally convict and recommend punishment against him.
The ruling came after a dramatic and puzzling appearance by Mr. Rangel, 80, in which he protested that he could no longer afford to pay his lawyers, and indignantly walked out of the proceedings, calling them unfair.
Committee members were unmoved. Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, noted dryly that Mr. Rangel, a Harlem Democrat, was responsible for paying his lawyers and that he had been advised by the committee beginning in 2008 to form a legal defense fund to do so.
With Mr. Rangel absent, the panel listened to its chief counsel as he methodically presented the evidence against Mr. Rangel, which was based on 549 exhibits, dozens of witness interviews and thousands of pages of financial documents. Members then met in executive session and later announced they had found the facts in the charges against Mr. Rangel to be “uncontested.”
One of the reasons Mr. Rangel left the hearing was because he said he couldn’t afford a lawyer. [Rimshot]
I know he’s done a lot for his district and provided a voice for the under-represented, but now he’s just an embarrassment to himself and his constituency.