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Entries in Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (1)

Friday
Oct082010

Rangel, Waters Ethics Trials Set for Late November

Photo Courtest - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When the House of Representatives returns to Washington for a lame duck session after the Nov. 2 congressional midterm elections, one of the first orders of business will be settling the alleged ethics violations of embattled Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. and Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

Rangel, a 20-term lawmaker from Harlem, will face the ethics committee first in a proceeding formally called an adjudicatory hearing, on Nov. 15, the first day the House is expected back in session after the elections. Waters, who is seeking her 11th term this fall, is set to begin her hearing Nov. 29, the chairwoman of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct announced Thursday evening.

According to the statement released Thursday evening, the adjudicatory subcommittees will hold the hearings “to determine whether any counts in the Statement of Alleged Violation regarding Representative Rangel or Representative Waters have been proven by clear and convincing evidence.”

During these hearings, Rangel and Waters will be permitted to appear before the committee to defend themselves. Members of the adjudicatory subcommittees that separately investigated each lawmaker will then vote whether Rangel and Waters are guilty of their respective charges.

The announcement comes in response to a statement Sept. 28 by the five Republican members of the committee, who accused Chairwoman Lofgren and the majority members of the committee of stalling the proceedings until after the congressional midterm elections. Both Rangel and Waters themselves had also publicly called for the committee to begin their cases prior to the Nov. 2 election.

On Aug. 10, Rangel delivered a bold, emotional impromptu speech on the House floor, imploring his fellow lawmakers to expedite the hearing and give him a chance to clear his name.

Rangel, 80, who was formerly chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, stands accused of 13 counts of violating House rules and has denied any wrongdoing. He stands accused of failing to reveal more than half a million dollars in assets on financial disclosure forms; improperly obtaining four rent-controlled apartments in New York City; and failing to disclose financial arrangements for a villa at the Punta Cana Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic.

Perhaps the most serious allegations surround his fundraising activities for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York. Rangel allegedly used his status on the Ways & Means Committee to raise money for the center from corporations and foundations that had business before the House and his committee.

Among the charges Waters faces is that she allegedly broke House conduct rules for her role helping a minority-owned bank obtain federal bailout money during the financial collapse in September 2008. Waters' husband was a former board member of the bank and held more than $300,000 in stock at the time of the requested meeting.

“After an investigation that has lasted over a year, I am eager to have the opportunity to clear my name. I would have liked for this matter to be resolved before the election in November and have repeatedly called for a hearing to be scheduled as soon as possible,” Waters said in a statement Thursday to ABC News.

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