CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Sat. Nov. 20, 2010: Congressional friend of the Caribbean, Congressman Charles Rangel, has offered an e-apology to friends, constituents and subscribers to his newsletter.
The email sent on Friday was headlined `My Heartfelt Apologies,` and included a letter from Rangel apologizing `for the embarrassment I have brought upon you.`
`I truly believe public officials have a higher responsibility than most Americans to obey the rules because we write them. There is no excuse for my acts of omission. All of this has been brought upon me as a result of my own mistakes,` Rangel said, a day after the House Ethics Committee recommended he be censured for breaking several house rules including tax evasion.
However, Rangel included a video clip from Blake Chisam, the top ethics committee lawyer, with a quote stating, `I see no evidence of corruption.`
And he insisted in his letter: `There has never been any corruption or personal gain in my actions, as the Committee`s chief counsel noted. Neither has there been any intent on my part to violate the House rules.`
The congressman also stressed his commitment to his constituents and `our cause and to our community,` which he said `remains as strong as it ever has been.`
A eight member lawmaker sub-committee on Tuesday refused to be swayed, rejecting Rangel’s appeal for an extension and instead reached a unanimous verdict on 10 of the 13 counts, including, that the 80-year-old congressman mproperly used his congressional staff and official letterhead to raise seven-figure donations from corporate charities and chief executives for a college wing named in his honor; violated New York City rules by housing his political committees in his rent-controlled apartments in Harlem; did not pay taxes on a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic; and did not properly disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal financial assets.
Two charges – involving violations of postal service laws and House mail privilege statutes – were merged into one, which the panel concluded had `clear and convincing evidence` that Rangel violated rules.
Rangel had released a statement Tuesday blasting the decision. `How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the Ethics Subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room?` it said. `I can only hope that the full Committee will treat me more fairly, and take into account my entire 40 years of service to the Congress.`
Rangel earlier this year was forced to give up his powerful Ways and Means Committee Chairmanship post after being admonished by an ethics panel for taking corporate trips to the Caribbean to conferences organized by the New York Carib News paper, in violation of House rules.
The congressman was a regular at the conferences and is a friend of many Caribbean leaders. He was this year honored by the Jamaican government and has in the past hosted Caribbean leaders in New York for a conference on the Caribbean and its Diaspora.