Yesterday, the adjudicatory subcommittee trying Rep. Charles Rangel on ethics charges announced that they had found the congressman guilty on 11 of 13 charges. Rangel was acquitted on one count and another count was deemed to be redundant to another charge.
According to a report on the guilty charges released by the subcommittee today, Rangel was acquitted on Charge III, which states:
“[Rep. Charles Rangel] solicited contributions for the [Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Policy at the City College of New York] and the Rangel Center did receive contributions. [Rep. Rangel] has a personal interest in the Rangel Center in that it will provide him with an office, and allows him to perpetuate his legacy, including the storage and archiving of his papers.”
The subcommittee determined that there was not enough evidence to convict on this particular count. This is the one count that directly relates the part of committee counsel Blake Chisam’s testimony that was seized upon by the media and Rangel’s office. Chisam stated that Rangel was “sloppy,” but he “[saw] no evidence of corruption.”
Corruption requires an individual to act in a manner that would further their own personal gain, whether that be position or wealth. This charge was the only one that hewed closest towards stating corruption on Rangel’s behalf. With Chisam’s statement that there was no proof for personal gain, the corruption charge was not going to stick.
The other charges, particularly in totality, are serious in and of themselves. Rangel displayed a decades-long disdain for ethics and disclosure rules. The House must act to ensure that members of Congress don’t think that they are above the rules that are enacted to maintain the public trust.