WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Charles Rangel, who has spent half of his 80 years as a member of Congress, says he looks forward to fighting ethics charges. Other Democrats won't be so pleased.
The ethics trial sought by the New York congressman and former Ways and Means Committee chairman will coincide with campaign season. Democrats will have to defend their party's conduct. If enough of them lose, the party could cede control of the House.
Republicans are already going negative, reminding voters that Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to "drain the swamp" of ethical misdeeds in Congress.
Rangel had a choice.
His lawyer had been negotiating with the House ethics committee to settle his case. But to end it, Rangel would have had to accept the allegations. Rangel had been willing to accept some, but that didn't satisfy the committee, according to a person familiar with the talks but not authorized to be quoted by name.
"I look forward to airing this thing," Rangel, who is tied for fourth in House seniority, told reporters Thursday, insisting the allegations against him have no substance.
"I am pleased that, at long last, sunshine will pierce the cloud of serious allegations that have been raised against me in the media," he said.