Rangel says ethics panel ruled against him


Democrat Charles Rangel, the top tax writer in the U.S. Congress, was admonished on Thursday by a congressional ethics committee for taking corporate-funded trips to the Caribbean, a finding he said defied “common sense.”

The House of Representatives ethics committee concluded that Rangel broke the chamber’s gift rules in taking the trips but it did not immediately release its report. Rangel called a news conference after news accounts disclosed the findings.

Quoting from his copy of the report, Rangel said it found he did not know the trips in 2007 and 2008 were underwritten by corporations, but that two of his staffers did.

“Common sense dictates that members of Congress should not be held responsible for what could be the wrongdoing or errors of staff, unless there’s reason to believe that the member knew or should have known — and there’s nothing in the record to indicate the latter,” Rangel told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“I think right now I have to let the general community make its own judgment,” Rangel said.

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