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Rangel convicted on 11 of 13 counts

Mirror Founder

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 327

Report this Nov. 16 2010, 2:47 pm

I imagine that he would also face charges for tax evasion...



http://thehill.com/homenews/house/129407-house-ethics-panel-convicts-rangel-on-multiple-counts


[quote]House ethics panel convicts Rep. Rangel on 11 of 13 counts
By Susan Crabtree and Jordan Fabian - 11/16/10 11:55 AM ET


Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), once one of the most powerful members of the House, was convicted Tuesday on 11 counts of violating House ethics rules and now faces punishment.


Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the adjudicatory subcommittee and the full House ethics committee, announced the decision late Tuesday morning following an abbreviated public trial and nearly six hours of deliberations.


"We have tried to act with fairness, led only by the facts and the law," Lofgren said. "We believe we have accomplished that mission."


The full ethics panel will now convene a sanctions hearing to recommend a punishment, which ethics experts say will most likely be a reprimand or formal censure. The ethics committee Tuesday afternoon had yet to announce when the hearing would occur.


Serious sanctions — including formal reprimand, censure or expulsion — require a vote on the House floor. Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote, while a reprimand, which Rangel refused to agree to in July, or a censure would need just a simple majority. The ethics panel could also impose a fine and deny some of Rangel’s House privileges.


But Rangel, 80, is certainly not expected to lose his job. The silver-haired 20-term veteran, known for his gravelly voice, humor and sartorial splendor, is still beloved by many of his House colleagues. And in the lame-duck session, Democrats still hold the majority.


Either reprimand or formal censure carry no immediate, tangible consequence for Rangel, who easily won reelection this month, but the sweeping guilty verdict delivers a damaging blow to his reputation and 40-year political legacy.


Years of negative publicity and his drawn-out defense pushed the specter of the trial into the 2010 campaign season, angering House Democratic leaders and forcing some of Rangel's colleagues to return campaign contributions from him. Earlier this year, he was stripped of his powerful Ways and Means gavel after an initial investigation into a corporate-funded trip to the Caribbean concluded he should have known that his aides were trying to evade ethics rules.


Asked if he had any reaction to the panel's decision, Rangel initially told reporters, "Nope, none,” adding that he first saw the ruling on television.


Later, in an official statement, Rangel slammed the ethics subcommittee's "unprecedented" decision, saying his due process rights were violated because the panel ruled without him having legal representation.


"How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the ethics subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room?" Rangel said. "I can only hope that the full committee will treat me more fairly, and take into account my entire 40 years of service to the Congress before making any decisions on sanction."


Rangel also lamented the lack of a system to appeal the House ethics panel’s decision.


“While I am required to accept the findings of the Ethics Committee, I am compelled to state again the unfairness of its continuation without affording me the opportunity to obtain legal counsel as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution," he said.


The decision comes one day after the panel rejected an emotional plea by Rangel to delay the trial because he lacked counsel. Rangel’s team of attorneys told him they could no longer represent him in mid-October, and Rangel said he could not afford to hire a replacement right away after incurring nearly $2 million in legal fees over the past two years.


The adjudicatory panel, which operated as a jury of his peers, found that Rangel had used House stationary and staff to solicit money for a school of public policy in his name at the City College of New York. It also concluded that he solicited donors for the center with interests before the Ways and Means Committee. Members of Congress are allowed to solicit money for nonprofit entities — even those bearing their names — as long as they do not use congressional letterhead or office resources to do so.


The ethics panel split 4-4 on a charge that Rangel violated the gift ban because the plans for the center included an office and the archiving of his personal and professional papers.


The panel also found Rangel guilty of using an apartment in Harlem zoned for residential use as his campaign office, failing to report more than $600,000 on his financial disclosure report and failing to pay taxes on rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.


Two counts charging him with improper use of the Congress’s free franking mail privilege were combined into one.


Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, applauded the decision and called on Rangel to resign.


"All of Mr. Rangel's theatrics aside, the facts were clear: Mr. Rangel violated numerous House rules and federal laws," she said. "Whether these violations were deliberate or inadvertent, the American people deserve to be represented by members of Congress who adhere to the highest ethical standards. Mr. Rangel should resign."


Democracy 21’s Fred Wertheimer said the committee’s findings demonstrate the need for new ethics rules prohibiting members of Congress to solicit money to finance institutes or centers in their name. He urged the House to promptly adopt new ethic rules barring the practice.


“There are inherent conflict-of-interest and appearance problems when Members solicit money for entities named to honor the Members,” he said. “Members of Congress should be prohibited from soliciting money to build monuments to themselves.”


—This post was last updated at 2:28 p.m.[/quote]

Corwin8

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 8468

Report this Nov. 17 2010, 8:12 pm

"All of Mr. Rangel's theatrics aside, the facts were clear: Mr. Rangel violated numerous House rules and federal laws," she said. "Whether these violations were deliberate or inadvertent, the American people deserve to be represented by members of Congress who adhere to the highest ethical standards. Mr. Rangel should resign."


This statement says it all. But Rangle is still acting like the arrogant prick he always seems to be. If anyone here had been charged with some of the crimes he's guilty of, we'd be doing hard time at a big 'ole federal 'pound you in the ass' prison. But not Charlie.

Let the bridges I burn light the way. You are special, just like everybody else. Calling an illegal alien an ‘undocumented immigrant’ is like calling a drug dealer an ‘unlicensed pharmacist’

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Nov. 19 2010, 6:11 am

This story is interesting in that in demonstrates the willingness of the Democratic Congress to discipline one of its own.


Contrast this with the Republicans who allowed Dick Cheney to collect war profits, disguised as "deferred compensation" from Haliburton,  after he urged the Bush administration to engage in war. No doubt had the Democrats tried to impeach Cheney, the Republicans would have cried partisan politics and would now be trumping up impeachment charges against Obama as "pay back". 


I could go on with other examples, but I think you get the picture.


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

covertness

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POSTS: 95

Report this Nov. 19 2010, 7:01 am

Please. If you or I had done what Rangel did we'd be in jail. Discipline my fourth point of contact.

And Cheney got rid of his Haliburton shares before he became VP. Don't see how he could collect anything from them. Put down the Kool-Aid sport.

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Nov. 19 2010, 5:55 pm

Quote: covertness @ Nov. 19 2010, 7:01 am

>Please. If you or I had done what Rangel did we'd be in jail. Discipline my fourth point of contact. And Cheney got rid of his Haliburton shares before he became VP. Don't see how he could collect anything from them. Put down the Kool-Aid sport.


Cheney "had received $398,548 in deferred compensation from Halliburton while Vice President."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halliburton


Ummm...you do understand what deferred compensation is, don't you?


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

UNTRugby

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Report this Nov. 19 2010, 6:11 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Nov. 19 2010, 6:11 am

>>Contrast this with the Republicans who allowed Dick Cheney to collect war profits, disguised as "deferred compensation" from Haliburton,  after he urged the Bush administration to engage in war. 


Are you suggesting that a man worth 100 million dollars would influence a war just to get 400k from deferred compensation?

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Nov. 19 2010, 6:21 pm

Quote: UNTRugby @ Nov. 19 2010, 6:11 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Nov. 19 2010, 6:11 am

>

>>Contrast this with the Republicans who allowed Dick Cheney to collect war profits, disguised as "deferred compensation" from Haliburton,  after he urged the Bush administration to engage in war. 
Are you suggesting that a man worth 100 million dollars would influence a war just to get 400k from deferred compensation?


 


Good point maybe I should have mentioned the "unexercised options for 233,000 shares of Halliburton stock" that he owned.


  


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1004-26.htm


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

UNTRugby

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1212

Report this Nov. 19 2010, 6:40 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Nov. 19 2010, 6:21 pm

Quote: UNTRugby @ Nov. 19 2010, 6:11 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Nov. 19 2010, 6:11 am

>

>>Contrast this with the Republicans who allowed Dick Cheney to collect war profits, disguised as "deferred compensation" from Haliburton,  after he urged the Bush administration to engage in war. 
Are you suggesting that a man worth 100 million dollars would influence a war just to get 400k from deferred compensation?

 

Good point maybe I should have mentioned the "unexercised options for 233,000 shares of Halliburton stock" that he owned.

  

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1004-26.htm



thats still only another 3 million. thats like if i asked you to go kill someone for a big mac that you wont receive until 4 years later

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Nov. 21 2010, 5:23 am

Since when do we have to prove that the greedy  are logical?


I mean this is like arguing that Al Capone would have never sold that extra bottle of beer because he was already so rich.


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

UNTRugby

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1212

Report this Nov. 21 2010, 5:53 am

Quote: caltrek2 @ Nov. 21 2010, 5:23 am

Since when do we have to prove that the greedy  are logical?


You have to prove that your argument is logical. The point being Cheney didnt influence the war becuase of minor profits he influenced the war becuase thats who he was.

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Nov. 21 2010, 7:57 am

Yes, and Al Capone was Al Capone, and Charlie Rangel is Charlie Rangel.  Seriously, are you proposing that it was right for these conflicts of interest to occur because Dick Cheney was Dick Cheney?


Yes, no double standard there.


 


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

UNTRugby

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1212

Report this Nov. 21 2010, 8:57 am

Quote: caltrek2 @ Nov. 21 2010, 7:57 am

Yes, and Al Capone was Al Capone, and Charlie Rangel is Charlie Rangel.  Seriously, are you proposing that it was right for these conflicts of interest to occur because Dick Cheney was Dick Cheney?

Yes, no double standard there.

 



Im proposing Rangel did what he did for money and Cheney did what he did becuase that was his political stance.

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Nov. 21 2010, 9:26 am

Well, I'm proposing that the law be applied equally to all concerned, whatever their political motiviations.


It is virtually impossible to determine a persons intent. All we can judge on his behavior. Clearly, the conflict of interest invovled in Cheney's behavior was way beyond what reasonable people should be expected to tolerate. But then, when are Republicans ever reasonable.


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

UNTRugby

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1212

Report this Nov. 21 2010, 9:47 am

Quote: caltrek2 @ Nov. 21 2010, 9:26 am

Well, I'm proposing that the law be applied equally to all concerned, whatever their political motiviations.



except these are different situations and different laws. There is actual proof Rangel broke the law and only speculation about Cheney and Cheneys offense is shady at best but hardly an impeachable offense

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Nov. 21 2010, 10:13 am

Hardly an impeachable offense?


 


More Republican double standards at work:


 


 


http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/news/cheneyemails.html


 


WASHINGTON, June 15 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- Newly-released government documents indicate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) may have publicly lied about Vice President Dick Cheney's role in awarding a $7 billion no-bid Iraqi oil reconstruction contract to Halliburton in the weeks preceding the March 2003 invasion, the conservative activist group Judicial Watch disclosed today.


 


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is currently investigating possible criminal behavior in the way the Pentagon has awarded contracts to Halliburton. USACE demoted its highest-ranking civilian employee for blowing the whistle on improper and potentially illegal contracting practices committed by Halliburton and the Pentagon.


 


Greider Article


Amid all his other troubles, Vice President Richard Cheney is now stalked by a ghost from his past--the Richard Cheney who for five years was CEO of the Halliburton Company. When he left Halliburton in 2000 to become George W. Bush's running mate, the Republican ticket was touted as two tough-minded business executives running against wimpish politicians. "The American people should be pleased they have a vice presidential nominee who has been successful in business," Karen Hughes, Bush's then-communications director, enthused.


About the Author



William Greider


William Greider, a prominent political journalist and author, has been a reporter for more than 35 years for newspapers...


A rather different story is told by a class-action investor lawsuit against Halliburton, recently revived after languishing for four years. It describes Cheney as not much different from other corporate titans ensnared by accusations of fraud. Brushing aside facts and subordinates' warnings, CEO Cheney made a series of daring but wrong decisions that were disastrous for the company. The managerial incompetence was compounded by fraudulent accounting gimmicks that concealed the company's true condition. Cheney, however, relentlessly issued bullish assurances, hiding the losses and pumping up the stock price.


Eventually, the truth caught up with the company--its stock tanked--but Cheney was already off to Washington, $40 million richer and running the country. He sold his shares at the top. HAL, the Halliburton stock symbol, began falling a few months after his resignation, from $53 to an eventual low of $8. By then Bush/Cheney were rolling out another bold venture--the invasion of Iraq.


A pity voters didn't know this side of the story back in 2000. Cheney's performance as CEO predicted his subsequent behavior as Veep: the willful ignorance and bullying manipulation of policy, the arrogance that led the country into deep trouble. The corporate scandal seems like old news now, since the basic facts were first revealed four years ago by the New York Times--generating a flurry of investor lawsuits. But the story has new life. The injured investors are now represented by William Lerach, the ferociously successful plaintiff lawyer who has won billions in securities litigation against major corporations and Wall Street banks, from Enron to Citigroup.


Lerach has reformulated the Halliburton complaint to pointedly portray Cheney and "Cheney's team" as the wrongdoers who fabricated and deceived. Cheney himself is not named as a defendant, but he faces a different kind of exposure--grilling under oath by Lerach, a tenacious trial lawyer deeply loathed by corporate and financial interests. (Full disclosure: Lerach's current firm was among the sponsors of a conference I addressed earlier this year.) "There's not any question we will get to that point," Lerach says with relish. "We can't know whether it will be three months or three years from now, but we know Cheney and Halliburton will fight furiously to keep Cheney from being deposed."


Lerach might ask Cheney, for instance, about the weird bookkeeping HAL adopted in 1998--a change that converted unpaid bills into revenue. The oil industry was in the low-price doldrums of the 1990s, and Halliburton bid low to win huge fixed-price contracts on massive construction projects. But these projects predictably produced huge cost overruns, and customers refused to pay for them. Without bothering to inform shareholders, HAL solved the problem by booking these unpaid claims as "revenue," wishful thinking that boosted profits and the stock price.


Lerach could also ask Cheney why he lowballed the losses HAL faced from burgeoning asbestos lawsuits. Cheney personally negotiated the purchase of Dresser Industries--the deal was closed on a quail-hunting expedition--but he neglected to account for the enormous asbestos liabilities Halliburton would inherit. Cheney's company reported a trivial exposure of $23 million, worst case $60 million. The right number was $4.4 billion. Or what about the $180 million in "improper/illegal payments" in Nigeria to win a contract to build a liquid natural-gas plant? Bribing a foreign government to win business is against US law. "There was an awful lot of chicanery and dishonesty at the top of that company when Cheney was CEO," Lerach observes. "It is fair to ask, If Cheney didn't know, why didn't he know? What was his salary for?" Lerach even asserts that Cheney knew he was in trouble at Halliburton and sought the vice presidency to exit before messy facts became known. Lerach has filed a motion to insure that the discovery process is kept open for public scrutiny.


The case is legal hardball at a very high level and has accumulated numerous oddities along the way. Why was Cheney not named as a defendant while other Halliburton executives were? The original lawyers decline to explain, but others surmise that, as a matter of strategy, naming Cheney would have lowered the odds of success. As a sitting Vice President in time of war, Cheney was riding high on war fervor. He might have fought subpoenas all the way to the Supreme Court. In any case, the statute of limitations now prevents his inclusion. Another oddity is how quickly the original plaintiff lawyers, Schiffrin & Barroway, rushed to settle the case for a meager sum. They negotiated a settlement of $6 million when the victimized investors, including many pension funds, had lost an estimated $3.1 billion. For no obvious reason, Richard Schiffrin also met privately with Cheney's personal lawyer, even though Cheney was not part of the case.


The settlement was delayed when the presiding federal judge had to withdraw, belatedly revealing that his children owned Halliburton stock. His replacement, Judge Barbara Lynn, observed sharply that the lawyers would collect a third of the $6 million settlement. Thousands of injured investors would get pennies.


By the summer of 2004 the accumulated oddities provoked an uproar in the courtroom. One lead plaintiff, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, protested that its lawyers had been kept in the dark while the settlement was negotiated and that the outcome fell far short of a just amount. Schiffrin found himself before Judge Lynn, arguing the weakness of his clients' claim. "What made your case so bad so fast?" she asked him. "That's what I don't understand.... I find this proceeding peculiar because...all the sudden the great case becomes positively rank."


The judge tossed out the settlement. This could hardly harm aggrieved investors, she explained, since they weren't getting much anyway. That decision set the stage for Lerach's firm to take control of the case and to push the claims much more ambitiously.


Trial lawyers like Lerach have an obvious incentive to create well-publicized cases. Damaging revelations turn up the heat of public opinion and push defendants toward settling for bigger dollars. Halliburton says it intends to defend "vigorously" and dismisses Lerach's accusations as meritless--but that's what defendants usually say at this point.


Lerach has an additional motive. A high-profile case against the Veep could help protect him against retribution by Congress. The US Chamber of Congress and financial forces are building bipartisan support for another legislative assault on trial lawyers in financial cases, crippling the ability of pension funds, universities and foundations to win redress. Lerach is the prime target. And his former firm, Milberg Weiss, is under indictment for allegedly paying clients to act as lead plaintiffs in class-action suits.


Halliburton, meanwhile, is back on top. HAL soared on booming oil prices to $82 (before dropping back a bit), helped by the notorious no-bid contracts to rebuild war-ravaged Iraq. Cheney, one might say, did his part. War and rumors of war in the Middle East produce rising oil prices. Noncompetitive contracts eliminate the problem of cost overruns, since US taxpayers will pick up the tab. It seems the era of corporate corruption did not end with Enron, WorldCom and the other scandals. It relocated to Washington.


 


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

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