Embattled Congressman Charlie Rangel spoke at a small business forum at Columbia and afterwards spoke briefly with reporters, saying he was dismayed by press accounts that referred to him yesterday as “defiant.”
“I would just to refer you to http://www.rangel.house.gov. On that would be my response to the allegations, and I am amazed that having the chance to respond to such negative allegations would be considered to be defiant, because even I wouldn’t like me if there was truth to the wild distortions of the truth that have been made publicly.”
Rangel was asked about today’s New York Times story, which said that it was common for lawmakers to seek university endowments in their name financed by corporations with business before Congress.
“I knew that there was nothing wrong in doing it. I had no idea that so many members did have institutions. It wasn’t my idea to put my name on it. The general thinking at the time was that my name would attract more donors in order to do it. But the sole idea was to make certain that students, especially minorities would be able to have access to the value of public service,” he said. “The whole idea of the name wasn’t for me. I think there are some allegations that I would have an office, a luxurious office, and a place to store my papers. The truth is that no one discussed any office with me…I need an office like I need a hole in the head.”
Rangel reiterated that he was looking forward to a public trial before the House Ethics Committee in order to clear his name.
“I have been so willing to settle this thing, but some of the charges are so embarrasing that it seems to me the only way to clear the air is to make them public,” he said.
Rangel was asked by the Daily News‘ Kate Lucadamo about news reports that both Chuck Schumer and Andrew Cuomo were considering skipping his birthday fundraiser next week. He said he had not heard those news reports to be true, and said if people were so interested in his fundraiser, they should just go to it.
“I really don’t want to discuss this with the press. It’s a strong personal and political relationship and I don’t really think it’s newsworthy for me to talk about my fundraiser unless you are anxious to get tickets, and then I would ask you to go to http://www.charlierangel.org and get a couple of tickets.”