WASHINGTON – People familiar with the talks say representatives of New York Democrat Charles Rangel and lawyers for the House ethics committee have reached a plea deal in his ethics case. However, committee members have not agreed to the settlement.
It was not immediately clear how many of the 13 charges of ethical violations Rangel agreed to accept.
The ethics panel that will judge Rangel's conduct held its first meeting Thursday.
Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the panel, said that Rangel had been given the opportunity to negotiate a settlement during the investigation phase.
However, he said, that phase is now over and "we are now in the trial phase."
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House investigators on Thursday alleged 13 violations of congressional ethics and federal law by veteran New York Rep. Charles Rangel.
The charges include failure to report rental income from vacation property in the Dominican Republic and failing to report more than $600,000 income on his congressional financial disclosure statements.
The charges were read in a public session of the House ethics committee after lawyers for Rangel, 80, failed to nail down a last-minute deal to avoid a public congressional trial.
Rangel did not attend the session at which the allegations were read. They set the stage for a trial expected to be held in September. Democrats had hoped to avoid such a public confrontation as November midterm elections approach.
The alleged violations include using congressional letterhead to solicit donations for a center for public service to bear his name on the New York campus of the City College of New York.
He was also accused of accepting a rent-stabilized property in Manhattan for his campaign office and initially not paying federal taxes on the Dominican Republic property.
Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on a panel that will try Rangel, said that the Democrat had been "given the opportunity to negotiate a settlement during the investigation phase."
However, he said, that phase is now over. "We are now in the trial phase," he said.
"We live at a time when public skepticism about the institutions in our country is very high," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the ethics committee chair.
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