House Ethics Committee members are now deliberating the 13 counts of ethics rules violations against New York Congressman Charles Rangel. Rangel surprised the committee by walking out after stating he didn’t have any legal representation. A law firm that had been preparing Rangel’s defense suddenly quit the case a few weeks ago after Rangel had spent nearly two million dollars on them.
The committee decided to go ahead with the hearing anyhow since hundreds of pieces of evidence had already been submitted. After determining that there were no genuine material issues with the facts in the case, Committee Chair Representative Zoe Lofgren of California announced the committee would go into executive session to consider and vote on each of the counts against Rangel. Should the committee find Rangel violated the ethics rules, it will hold a full separate hearing on possible sanctions.