Harlem Democrat Charles Rangel says he will not step down as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, even though the ethics committee found that he violated House rules by accepting two corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean in a report released Thursday.
Rangel said Friday that the ethics report "exonerates" him because it says there is no evidence that he knew the trips were sponsored by corporations. The report said his staff knew who paid for the trips. Some Democrats have asked Rangel to step down from his powerful post, according to a Politico report
“The citizens of his home state sent him here, that's their decision," said Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Mississippi), who lead the charge in asking Rangel to relinquish his post. "But members of the [Democratic Caucus] made him chairman of that committee, and he should step down until all this is resolved.”
Despite the ruling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood by Rangel on Friday, telling reporters that he did not violate House rules by accepting the trips.
"What I understand -- and I haven't seen the report ... [is] that he did not violate the rules of the House and I think that's an important statement," Pelosi said, in an article published by Talking Points Memo.
"They did not take action against him," she added. "They just said he did not willfully break the rules."