‘More Bad News’ For Rangel as Ethics Committee Confirms Probe of Caribbean Junket

Rangel photoJohn Bresnahan reports in Politico today:

Already embroiled in an ethics probe now entering its tenth month, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, received more bad news Wednesday night as the House ethics committee announced it would look into Caribbean trips taken by the veteran lawmaker and four other Democrats.

In a statement released late Wednesday night, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), the chairwoman and ranking member of the ethics committee, announced that the panel had voted to create a four-member investigative subcommittee to determine whether the trips violated House gift rules.

Click here to download a one-page pdf of the Commitee’s statement. NLPC exposed this Citigroup-funded junket to the sunny island of St. Maarten that took place the weekend after the election in 2008. I attended in order to document violations of House Rules that prohibit corporate sponsorship of travel and hospitality.

On May 22, the House Ethics Committee asked me to provide photographs, audio recordings and other materials related to the trip by the following five House members: Charles Rangel (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Donna Christensen (D-VI).

Politico continues:

In their statement, Lofgren and Bonner said the ethics panel had voted Wednesday to adopt a resolution “establishing an investigative subcommittee to investigate officially-connected travel that was sponsored, funded and organized by an organization knows as Carib News or Carib News Foundation.”

Lofgren and Bonner acknowledged that the ethics committee had begun informally looking into the trips recently, but their statement was the first official acknowledgment by the ethics panel that it would take up the matter.

Susan Crabtree reports in The Hill today that “the ethics committee also is examining a 2007 trip to Antigua and Barbuda.” From her story:

Rangel, his chief of staff George Dalley and Christensen, Thompson, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), who chaired the ethics panel at the time, participated in the 2007 trip to Antigua and Barbuda.

photo: AP/Wide World