Skip to main content

Obama wants Rangel to end career with dignity

By the CNN Wire Staff
Rep. Charlie Rangel is accused of violating House rules on receiving gifts.
Rep. Charlie Rangel is accused of violating House rules on receiving gifts.
  • Obama said he hopes that U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel can end his career with dignity
  • The president calls the allegations "very troubling."
  • Ethics subcommittee has recommended Rangel be reprimanded

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama hopes embattled New York congressman Charlie Rangel can end his career with dignity.

"I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served his constituents very well. But these allegations are very troubling," Obama said on Friday in an interview with CBS News' Harry Smith.

"He's somebody who's at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I'm sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity. And my hope is that it happens." Obama added.

Obama commented Friday just hours after a subcommittee of the House ethics committee recommended that the Harlem Democrat be reprimanded.

Video: Black leaders investigated
Video: Ethics charges plague Dems

A reprimand would be a relatively light punishment, compared with censure and expulsion.

The recommendation was made to the ethics committee before Thursday's public hearing detailing charges against Rangel. The full committee and the House would have to approve any sanction against Rangel.

Asked about the recommendation, Rangel initially told CNN on Friday that it's "untrue." Rangel's attorney, however, later said that the embattled congressman "misspoke" and the possibility of a reprimand "was one of a number of issues addressed in settlement discussions."

The full committee has accused Rangel of 13 violations of House rules involving alleged financial wrongdoing and harming the credibility of Congress.

Among other things, Rangel has been charged with using his influence to solicit donations for a college policy center bearing his name from corporate heads and others with business before the powerful House Ways and Means Committee that Rangel chaired until forced to give up the leadership position earlier this year.

Other charges involve alleged income tax and financial disclosure violations, as well as improper use of government mail service and letterhead. An ethics committee trial of Rangel is still set to be held, most likely in September, barring a settlement between Rangel and the committee members.