Lofgren, Rangel Not in Settlement Talks

Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:26pm

House ethics Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is not involved in negotiating a potential settlement with Rep. Charlie Rangel over charges that the New York Democrat violated House rules, according to a source close to Lofgren. Rangel said Tuesday that he did not know whether his attorneys were still in discussions over a possible deal.

A source close to Lofgren said Tuesday that although Rangel has approached Lofgren in recent days, she has refused to discuss the ethics case with him.

“She has never once planned to negotiate … any kind of agreement with Mr. Rangel,” the source said. “She has in every instance refused to discuss the substance and will not do so.”

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, also known as the ethics panel, announced late last week that an investigative subcommittee had found substantial reason to believe that Rangel broke House rules. The announcement followed a nearly two-year investigation into allegations involving his personal finances, fundraising efforts and other issues.

A special adjudicatory panel is set to organize Thursday and is expected in September to review the matter in a proceeding similar to a trial.

Outside of the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday, Rangel said he did not know whether his attorneys were in negotiations with the ethics panel over a settlement, which could include a public apology or other sanctions.

“I don’t know. I hope so,” he said, responding to an inquiry about an earlier Associated Press report that discussions continue between Rangel’s lawyers and ethics committee professional staff.

A source close to the negotiations told Roll Call on Monday that the talks are ongoing.

“We’re still open to resolving this before Thursday,” the source said.

Even if Rangel and ethics committee attorneys do reach an agreement before Thursday, however, the adjudicatory panel — which is led by Lofgren and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) — would still have to approve any settlement.