Monday, November 15, 2010

Ethics panel finding hints at guilty verdict for Rangel

From The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 16:
WASHINGTON—A House ethics panel sitting in judgment of Rep. Charles Rangel agreed Monday to all of the prosecution evidence against him, despite his attempt to delay the case by walking out for lack of a lawyer.

In retreating from the trial on its first day, the New York Democrat said he could no longer afford a lawyer and that it was unfair to make him proceed without one.

The panel's finding to accept as fact the case's details doesn't by itself represent a guilty verdict, but it strongly suggests the panel will find he violated House ethics rules. Lawmakers will reconvene Tuesday morning.

The hearing is a rarity and represents a public test of Congress's ability to police itself; Mr. Rangel's case is the first to be heard under tougher rules adopted two years ago. Almost as soon as it closes the Rangel file, the committee will take up the ethics trial of another lawmaker, Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.).


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