Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) held a press conference today in his Harlem office to mostly brush off reporters’ questions about the ethics allegations against him.
“My lawyers are gonna kill me,” he began, “because they say the best thing in my best interest is not to make any comment. … I don’t know how to say no comment.”
The House ethics committee announced yesterday that it is charging Rangel with unspecified ethics violations. The charges will be announced next Thursday at the panel’s first public meeting on the subject.
The trial-like proceedings against Rangel are expected to begin Sept. 13, the day before Rangel’s primary and two months before the general election.
“I want to make sure before this election that people know who Charlie Rangel was, and is, and is proud to be,” he said.
Rangel spent most of the press conference explaining why he couldn’t tell the press more, but promised that next Thursday, he’d be able to talk about the investigation for the first time since it began two years ago.
Rangel has been investigated for a slew of charges: That he improperly rents four rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, that he preserved a tax break for a big donor to City College’s Rangel Center, that he used Congressional letterhead to do fundraising for the center. The ethics committee admonished him earlier this year for accepting corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean.
Rangel has also had to file amended financial disclosure forms and pay $10,000 in back taxes after failing to report assets, including a rental villa in the Dominican Republic.
At the press conference, Rangel also said he apologized to MSNBC reporter Luke Russert for berating him yesterday.