Rangel to give up gavel and take leave while ethics probe continues

By Michael O’Brien and Ian Swanson
The Hill
03/03/10

Rep. Charles Rangel announced Wednesday morning he is taking a leave of absence as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee pending the results of ethics investigations.

The veteran New York Democrat said he sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a letter requesting the leave. Rangel met with Pelosi to discuss the politically sensitive issue on Tuesday evening.

In the one-sentence letter, Rangel asked for the leave of absence from the chairmanship until the House ethics panel competes its reviews.

Rangel declined to take questions on the matter at his short press conference.

“I know that all of you have a professional obligation to ask questions,” Rangel said, adding he’s “afraid that if I went down that road it would distract” him from efforts on healthcare and job creation.

He also said that he had offered his resignation to Pelosi before.

“From the very, very beginning I have offered this to Speaker Pelosi,” he said.

The article continues at The Hill.

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