Congressman Charles Rangel has issued his reply to the Ethics subcomittee’s guilty verdict this morning, and the first sentence is this:
“How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the Ethics Subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room?”
Rangel deplored the decision to proceed with the charges despite the fact he was without counsel, and said he was “disappointed” by the ruling.
“I can only hope that the full Committee will treat me more fairly, and take into account my entire 40 years of service to the Congress before making any decisions on sanctions,” he wrote.
Rangel also pointed out that the chief prosecutor, Blake Chisam, said that there was no evidence of corruption, or personal financial benefit on Rangel’s part. The release, posted on Rangel’s website, even includes a video clip of that exchange.
Here is the video, followed by the full statement:
Congressman Charles B. Rangel released the statement following the decision made by the Adjudicatory Subcommittee, on November 16, 2010.
Lawmaker Cites Committee Chief Counsel’s Declaration That
There Was No Evidence of Corruption or Personal Gain
How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the Ethics Subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room? I can only hope that the full Committee will treat me more fairly, and take into account my entire 40 years of service to the Congress before making any decisions on sanctions.
I am disappointed by the unfortunate findings of the Ethics Subcommittee. The Committee’s actions are unprecedented in view of the fact that they arrived at without rebuttal or counter evidence on my behalf.
While I am required to accept the findings of the Ethics Committee, I am compelled to state again the unfairness of its continuation without affording me the opportunity to obtain legal counsel as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.
This unfair decision is the inevitable result of the Committee’s insistence on moving forward despite the absence of any legal representation on my behalf. The Committee elected to reject my appeal for additional time to secure new counsel and thus acted in violation of the basic constitutional right to counsel.
The Committee’s findings are even more difficult to understand in view of yesterday’s declaration by the Committee’s chief counsel, Blake Chisam, that there was no evidence of corruption or personal gain in his findings.
From here forward, it is my hope that the full Ethics Committee will take into consideration the opinion of its chief counsel as well as the statement by Rep. Bobby Scott, a member of its investigatory subcommittee who said that any failings in my conduct were the result of “good faith mistakes” and were caused by “sloppy and careless recordkeeping, but were not criminal or corrupt.”