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Rangel faces a House ethics committee hearing

From Deirdre Walsh and Brianna Keilar, CNN
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Rangel to face ethics hearing
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: House ethics committee appoints eight-member panel to consider Rangel allegations
  • Rangel says he welcomes the chance to face charges in a trial-like hearing
  • Veteran Rep. Charles Rangel faces a House ethics committee hearing
  • Rangel stepped down as Ways and Means chairman earlier this year due to ethics questions

Washington (CNN) -- The House Ethics Committee will hold a formal hearing on alleged violations by Rep. Charles Rangel, the New York Democrat forced to step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this year over ethics questions.

In a document issued Thursday, the panel appointed an eight-member adjudicatory subcommittee to determine if allegations against Rangel "have been proved by clear and convincing evidence."

A formal hearing will be a trial-like session involving formal charges with lawyers for the House acting as prosecutors and Rangel's lawyers defending him.

There was no immediate information available on the possible charges Rangel faces. According to the ethics committee document, the subcommittee that will hold the formal hearing will have its first organizational meeting on July 29.

Video: 'I look forward to responding'

In comments to reporters, Rangel said he welcomed the news and wanted to testify in his defense.

"It gives me an opportunity to respond to my friends and constituents who have supported me for 40 years," Rangel said. "All I've been able to give them is 'trust me.' "

Now, he said, the facts will come out. However, Rangel said he has yet to see any formal charges against him.

"Until they go public, I can't go public," Rangel said, later adding: "There is no report. They gave this thing that said the report would be issued" on July 29.

Rangel temporarily stepped down as Ways and Means chairman following the announcement of an ethics investigation of several allegations, including failure to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic.

The congressman has also admitted a failure to report several hundred thousand dollars in assets on federal disclosure forms.

In addition, he is under scrutiny for the purported misuse of a rent-controlled apartment for political purposes, as well as for allegedly preserving tax benefits for an oil-drilling company in exchange for donations to a project he supported at the City College of New York.

The House ethics committee previously admonished Rangel for violating rules on receiving gifts. Specifically, the committee found that Rangel violated House gift rules by accepting reimbursement payments for travel to conferences in the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.

Rangel, who has served 20 consecutive terms in the House, has several challengers in the Democratic primary for the November mid-term congressional election.

He said Thursday that he hoped the matter could be concluded in time for the September primary election.

The adjudicatory subcommittee that will consider Rangel's case comprises four Democrats and four Republicans, according to the ethics committee document.

It said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, is the panel's chairperson.

Other Democratic members are Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, Rep. Kelly Castor of Florida and Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont. The four Republicans are Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Rep. Gregg Harper of Mississippi.

CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

 
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