Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel, reeling under charges of ethics violations, is hosting a fundraiser and birthday party tonight, with stars such as Dionne Warwick performing and New York City's billionaire mayor on the confirmed list.
Warwick and Chuck Jackson will headline the event, while a number of high-profile New York Democrats have not confirmed they'll attend event though their names are on the invitation. They include Sen. Chuck Schumer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is running for governor.
By 11 a.m., a preliminary schedule of the event released by the Daily News indicated both Schumer and Cuomo would be in attendance, along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Gov. David Paterson, who's slated to be the master of ceremonies.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent, is expected to attend, the Observer reported today. But last week, he played coy about the invite.
“I don't know whether Charlie Rangel's going to have a fundraiser,” he told reporters during a Q&A at the opening of a new playground near South Street Seaport. “I don't know what the facts are. We'll just have to wait and see," he said.
The Aug. 11 event to be held at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan comes a day after Rangel took to the floor of the House of Representatives where he refused to step down and denied he is guilty of any ethics violations.
"I am not going away" the Democrat told colleagues. He said he had made mistakes but that he is not corrupt. He said "I'm not asking for leniency. I'm asking for exposure of the facts.''
He's facing 13 counts of wrongdoing, including providing official favors in return for donations, hiding income and assets, and failing to pay taxes. Expulsion would be the harshest penalty.
Rangel's predicament comes as Democrats and Republicans head into mid-term elections. New York's Rangel, 80, is a former chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.