Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) will be tried on 13 charges of ethics violations in what could turn out to be an unpleasant public spectacle for Democrats right in the middle of the election season. The midterm campaign was already expected to be a tough one for the party, with the public in a grumpy, anti-incumbent mood. Charges were announced as Rangel’s lawyers said they were still working on some kind of settlement. Rangel has denied all charges, which include that he improperly solicited donations to build a school named after him, didn’t pay taxes on his Dominican villa, didn’t fully disclose everything on his financial forms, and improperly accepted a rent-stabilized Manhattan apartment. He will now be given several weeks to review the charges, putting the trial date in September, campaign crunch time. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Rangel’s trial is an example of Democrats’ fulfilling their promise to clean up Washington—even when offenders are Democrats.
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