House Ethics Panel Rebukes Rangel over Gifts

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The House ethics committee says Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., violated House rules by accepting money for trips.

A report released Thursday says the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee broke the rules when he took corporate money to pay for trips to the Caribbean.

But Rangel protested the report's findings, describing them as "disturbing." The tax writing lawmaker said he would have more to say about the matter after talking with his lawyer.

"Common sense dictates that members of Congress should not be held responsible for what could be the wrongdoing or mistakes or errors of staff unless there is reason to believe the members knew or should have known," Rangel said a Thursday night news conference.

The committee, however, disagreed saying that if Rangel didn't know about the source of funding, he should have because his staff did.

"Representative Rangel was responsible for the knowledge and actions of his staff and the performance of their official duties," the report said.

The case has raised doubts about the senator's chances for re-election in November.

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