April 17, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Rangel Paying Out Huge Legal Bills

During the 2008 cycle, Rangel’s various committees reported spending more than $224,000 on legal fees, nearly $187,000 of which was spent after July 2008.

While the Ways and Means chairman continues to rack up legal bills, it is unclear when the ethics committee will conclude its inquiries.

The House ethics panel does not comment on its investigations, and a Zuckerman Spaeder attorney did not return a telephone message Wednesday.

According to records maintained on the committee Web site, other probes of rules violations in the past decade have taken as little as two months and as long as two years to complete.

Both Rangel and his office have previously predicted a prompt conclusion of the investigation of the chairman’s finances, most recently in late May, when Rangel said he expected to be called as a witness in the inquiry.

According to current and former House aides familiar with the ethics committee’s process, such an interview is indicative of the end of an investigation.

But Rangel has little ability to push the committee to finish its investigation.

Ken Gross, an ethics attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, noted that while any Member under investigation can speed the process merely by being cooperative — giving the committee documents or otherwise complying with its requests — there are numerous other factors that could impede an inquiry.

“It may have different tentacles to it that are out of your control,” Gross said.

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

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