Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel speaks to reporters during a news conference, Friday, July 23, 2010 in New York. Rangel, once among the most powerful members of Congress, will face a hearing on charges of violating House ethics rules after a panel of his peers formally accused him of wrongdoing Thursday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Rep. Charles Rangel says his lawyers are still working to try to “avoid the spectacular of a hearing” that would further damage his reputation and threaten his 40-year House career.
The New York Democrat, speaking to reporters in the Capitol Tuesday afternoon, said that he is not personally involved in such talks with the ethics committee about coming to some sort of agreement to avoid Thursday’s initial hearing on allegations that he broke ethics rules. But he says his lawyers are involved. And to Rangel, such talks "make sense."
“This has all been a nightmare and I always did want from the very first day I referred it to the ethics committee for it to be resolved in any way that was fair an equitable,” Rangel said to a group of reporters off the House floor.
"[I]’m not participating in [talks] but my lawyers are so if they can do anything to pierce the cloud of doubt with the truth, however its done," Rangel said.
The 39-year veteran of Congress said he wasn’t wed to cutting a deal to avoid the Thursday ajudicatory hearing, because he does not yet know what his options are.
“I wish this thing never happened,” Rangel said, referring to the host of ethics complaints against him. “I wish there was no Thursday but the situation being what it is, it’s one step at a time. So compared to being lynched, I’d rather go through Thursday.”
The former Ways and Means committee chairman said he has read the statement of alleged violations that the committee drafted — a document that will be central to the remainder of the ethics proceedings. He said “as long as alleged, what the hell, they can have an imagination.”
But should Thursday’s initial adjudicatory hearing go on as planned, Rangel said he will be there.
“If there’s alleged violations against me, Rangel will be heard,” he said, before walking toward the House floor.