Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who faces an ethics trial next month, has parted ways with his lead defense attorneys in the case, according to several sources familiar with the matter.
It is unclear what, if any, impact this will have on the Rangel trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 15. It is also not clear whether Rangel decided to get rid of his attorneys or if they left of their own volition.
Whatever the case, Rangel’s lawyers were not underpaid. During his August 10 House floor speech, when he wasn’t criticizing NLPC, Rangel complained that he “paid close to two million dollars” to his legal team.
So much for draining the swamp. Several sources report that the House will not try Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) until after the November 2 elections. Rangel won the Democratic primary for his seat yesterday, barely achieving 50% of the vote against five challengers. During his House floor speech on August 10 when he was not attacking NLPC, Rangel pleaded for an expedited hearing on the 13 charges leveled against him by the Ethics Committee. This followed months of maneuvering by Rangel to delay the investigation.
Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), issued a statement yesterday in response to the controversy swirling around the awarding of 23 scholarships by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) to relatives and associates. The statement read, in part:
Neither the Foundation nor the CBC will allow unethical behavior in the awarding of scholarships or any programs that are designed to benefit the community.
I will not allow the absence of integrity to invade the Foundation nor the scholarship program…
Payne had nothing to say about his participation in a 2008 Caribbean junket that he knew was funded by big companies like Citigroup in violation of House Rules.
David Kocieniewski reports in the New York Times that former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau (at right with Rangel) owned stock in Nabors Industries at the time he introduced the company’s CEO Eugene Isenberg to Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). Isenberg made a $1 million pledge to the so-called Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York (CCNY) while Rangel helped preserve a tax break for Nabors worth hundreds of millions.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), charged with violating House ethics rules, said today on ABC’s Good Morning America that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is "not very tight, they don't do very good work, rather sloppy work."
Former Murtha crony Paul Magliocchetti was indicted yesterday on 11 counts. The indictment was not unexpected and relates primarily to Magliocchetti’s rather hamhanded manuevers to evade campaign contribution limits by having family members, employees and friends make contributions for which they were paid back.
The indictment certainly relates the PMA “pay to play” scheme, but it does not address the underlying possible crimes by members of Congress who secured earmarks for PMA clients in return for campaign contributions and other benefits. It is not known to what extent, if any, the Justice Department has sought a plea bargain with Magliocchetti in return for information about members of Congress. Maggliocchetti’s son Mark is cooperating with prosecutors but it is not known if his information goes beyond his father to members of Congress.
Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) was defeated in a Democratic primary yesterday. Kilpatrick was one of six members of Congress investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee for accepting a corporate-sponsored Caribbean junket in November 2008. I attended the event in St. Maarten before organizers had me detained by the Police Korps of St. Maarten. The investigations were launched on the basis of my photographs, audio recordings and other evidence of sponsorship by companies like Citigroup.
After being charged with violations of House Rules by the House Ethics Committee today, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) got downright testy with MSNBC reporter Luke Russert when asked if he was going to keep his job. Rangel asked him who he was with and then disparaged the network by saying "it just shows what happened to a channel that did have some respect."
Former Mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 18 months to five years in prison two weeks ago for violating probation. Kilpatrick was on probation for lying under oath in 2008 about a text messages to and from his then Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
His mother, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick (D-MI), has been luckier. She was cleared by the House Ethics Committee in February after taking part in a Caribbean junket, the same 2008 trip for which Charles Rangel was admonished, costing him his chairmanship of the Ways and Means committee.
It was revealed Friday that former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) spent over $70K in campaign funds in the days immediately preceding and following his resignation amid sexual harassment allegations in early March.
According to Federal Election Commission filings, Massa cut a check for $40K to his chief of staff the day after he announced he was resigning. FEC filings also reveal that Massa made a $31,896.42 payment to GMAC for a “campaign car lease” just a few days earlier. Because the money was not being spent on a re-election effort, the former congressman may have violated campaign finance rules barring politicians from spending money on personal items that are unrelated to their campaigns.