A House investigative committee has charged Rep. Charlie Rangel, the former chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, with ethics violations. The panel's actions sends the case to a trial on the allegations. A separate ethics panel will decide whether the alleged violations can be proved by clear, convincing evidence, with its first meeting set for July 29.
Rangel, first elected in 1970, is one of the most influential black lawmakers in Congress. He led the committee until he stepped aside last March after the ethics committee criticized him in a separate case. (See that summary here.) Sources said the committee and Rangel's attorney attempted unsuccessfully to negotiate a settlement. Among the sources of trouble: Rangel has admitted that he failed to pay taxes on a Dominican Republic villa. (Read more Charles Rangel stories.)