UPDATE 1: Rangel has been found guilty of all 13 ethics charge against him. No word yet from the Rangel camp.
After Congressman Charlie Rangel stormed out of his own ethics hearing on Monday for failing to raise enough money in his defense fund, the committee went on without him, unfazed. Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, noted that Rangel was aware of his need for a lawyer since 2008.
There was a surprisingly positive moment (relatively speaking) for the beleaguered Congressman, when the top ethics committee lawyer Blake Chisam made the distinction to call Rangel sloppy, but not corrupt.
"I see no evidence of corruption," he said.
"It's hard to answer the question of personal financial benefit... I think the short answer is probably no. Do I believe that based on the record that Congressman Rangel took steps to benefit himself based on his position in Congress? No. I believe that the congressman, quite frankly, was overzealous in many of the things he did. And sloppy in his personal finances."
However Rangel's good fortune would not last. The House ethics committee ruled that there was evidence to support 13 counts of misconduct. Among the more serious charges are, according to the New York Times:
That he solicited donations for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College from people with business before the Ways and Means Committee.
Rangel' s committee was instrumental in extending a lucrative tax break to Nabors Industries, an oil drilling company, while the congressman was asking its chief executive for a1 million donation.
that Mr. Rangel had accepted rent-stabilized apartments from a Manhattan developer
Other records released undercut Mr. Rangel's claim that he had been unaware that he had earned rental income from his Dominican villa.