New York Representative Charles Rangel went to the House floor Tuesday to plead his innocence in his battle against ethics charges. In his daring speech, Rangel charged that the ethics committee had yet to give him a firm date for the start of the hearing that would amount to a trial. “Don’t leave me swinging in the wind until November,” Rangel said.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina spoke to MSNBC about the fellow Democrat.
He has been around a long time. The members on both sides of the aisle in this body will give him due reference to various things. And I hope it will be over with shortly.
Rangel says the accusations have been very expensive for him and painful as well. Clyburn attributes Rangel’s situation to a change in the House ethics rules.
I don’t know exactly what has been going on but I know the process is new. That’s what’s causing a lot of ill feelings. If you’ve been doing something for 39 years the same way in Charlie’s case and suddenly things change then you don’t know how things will be interpreted.
The 80-year-old Rangel mentioned the charges against him and rejected them—ethics committee charges related to tax violations and rent-controlled apartments.
Some of Rangel’s supporters in the Congressional Black Caucus questioned his timing in giving the speech, which interrupted proceedings on a vote to save teachers’ jobs, a vote which pulled House members back from a six-week recess.
Black Democratic Representative John Lewis of Georgia told the New York Daily News, “I would have been quiet.”