Rangel Officially Requests Ethics Probe

Posted July 23, 2008 at 3:18pm

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) formally requested Wednesday that the House ethics committee determine whether he violated the chamber’s rules when he issued nearly 100 letters on official stationery to assist a fundraising effort for a City College of New York center bearing his name.

In a four-page letter hand-delivered by an aide, the New York lawmaker detailed his actions in June 2005 and defended his decision to use official letterhead.

“Was my hope that these meetings would result in making financial donations to this important project with such an important public purpose?” Rangel wrote. “Of course. But I genuinely believed that by not soliciting or making any reference to donations using my congressional letterhead and merely facilitating meetings to discuss this project, I was not violating House Ethics Rules concerning the use of congressional letterhead.”

Rangel’s office said he intends to call for a second inquiry later this week, examining the lawmaker’s lease of three rent-controlled apartments as his primary residence in New York.

Rangel had initially dismissed suggestions that he ask the ethics panel to examine his living arrangement, but spokesman Emile Milne said Wednesday: “He thought about it some more and decided the best way to clear all of this up is to have that body look into it.”