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Ethics panel says Rep. Charles Rangel broke the rules

WASHINGTON — Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, the most powerful tax-writing lawmaker in Congress and a 40-year veteran of Capitol Hill, acknowledged Thursday that an ethics panel had found that he broke House rules by accepting Caribbean trips from a corporation.

At least four other members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were also on the 2007 and 2008 trips were exonerated by the panel.

The finding is certain to jeopardize Rangel's chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The committee found that the financing of the Caribbean trips was improper for all the lawmakers involved but that only Rangel, 79, was aware that a corporation that routinely lobbied Congress picked up the tab.

The committee decided against issuing formal charges against Rangel that could lead to punishment such as a censure.

The ethics committee will issue its findings in a report scheduled to be made public today.

Additional ethics investigations of Rangel's finances and fundraising are still under way.

An inquiry ends: The House ethics committee has ended an investigation of five lawmakers, including Florida Republican Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, who steered government money and contracts to favored companies and also got campaign contributions from them. The panel says it found no violation of House rules. The other four lawmakers are Democrats.

Patriot Act extended

Key provisions of the nation's primary counterterrorism law would be extended for a year under a bill passed by the House Thursday evening after Democrats retreated from adding new privacy protections.

The House voted 315 to 97 to extend the USA Patriot Act, sending the bill to President Barack Obama. Without the bill, the provisions would expire Sunday.

The Senate approved the extension Wednesday.

The three sections of the Patriot act that would stay in force:

• Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones.

• Allow court-approved seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.

• Permit surveillance against a so-called lone wolf, a non-U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.

Ethics panel says Rep. Charles Rangel broke the rules 02/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:05pm]
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