After Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) left his own ethics hearing today, the ethics committee’s chief counsel — who’s the de-facto prosecutor in the case, as the New York Times puts it — submitted almost 600 exhibits as evidence, including the lengthy floor speech Rangel made in his own defense in August.
In that speech, Rangel said he may have been “stupid” and “negligent,” but never “corrupt.” The chief counsel for the committee, Blake Chisam, argued that the speech was an admission that Rangel did the things he’s accused of: filing inaccurate tax returns, improperly using a rent-controlled apartment and fund-raising for CCNY’s Rangel Center.
Chisam argued that there are no questions of fact in the case, and moved that the committee vote to agree that there are no factual questions.
As Chairman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) pointed out, there are two types of questions the committee is considering: questions of fact, and questions of law. She adjourned the committee into executive session to discuss Chisam’s motion that there are no questions of fact; that the actual events in the case happened as described in the charges.
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The committee is expected back some time after 1 p.m. ET. If members agree on Chisam’s motion, they still must decide whether Rangel broke ethics law.
Because Rangel is not at the hearing and has no legal representation, there is no defense in the case.