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May 17, 2010

The question for Rep. Rangel: what’s in the ethics committee report?

By CREW Staff

Roll Call caught up with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) to talk about his future and his current status. The Congressman, who lost the chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee because of his ongoing ethics scandal, knows one thing for sure: The Ethics Committee report will determine his future:

Asked about his future in Congress last week, Rangel said it is somewhat out of his hands.

“The answer to your question is what’s in the ethics committee report,” he said. “That’s the whole thing. I could have 10 different answers for you depending on what they say.” “They’ve spent a lot of time verifying the allegations, going all over the country where there are witnesses, and so I’m anxious. It’s been 18 months. ... Whatever comes out of that committee will severely impact my political career,” Rangel said.

And with that ethics inquiry hanging over him, Rangel doesn’t want to stir up trouble by talking about taking back the gavel. “I stepped aside pending the report of the ethics committee. What else can I say, you know? I don’t want to start a fight with members of the committee who would like to be the chairman of the committee, so it speaks for itself,” Rangel said. “I didn’t quit. I know you might want a quote. I’m not going to give a quote. ... I don’t want to read, ‘Rangel intends to fight the committee for the chairmanship.’”

Asked again about his desire to return as chairman if he is exonerated, however, Rangel said, “You don’t have to be a scholar to figure that out.”

So, Rangel waits for the Ethics Committee to determine his future. And, the rest of us wait to see what action, if any, the Ethics Committee takes in his case.

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