So Rep. Charlie Rangel was unable to finalize any sort of settlement today before the House ethics committee revealed and read the violations (13!) against him, publicly. Does this mean the window has closed, and a trial's inevitable?
The charges involve four areas: Mr. Rangel's solicitation of contributions to a school to be named in his honor at City College of New York; his errors and omissions on his House financial disclosure forms; his acceptance of rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem, including one for his campaign office; and his failure to report and pay taxes on rental income on a beach villa he owns in the Dominican Republic.
No one seems to really know if this means that Rangel has abandoned the opportunity to reach a settlement, or if that's even possible anymore since, as one giddy Republican on the ethics committee said, "we are now in the trial phase."
The Wall Street Journal, however, is sticking with its reporting that a deal has, in fact, been hammered out — the problem is that one of the five Republicans on the committee would have to agree to it:
It is not known whether the Republicans on the ethics committee think the plea deal includes a tough enough penalty for Mr. Rangel. At least one of the five Republicans on the panel must vote with all five Democrats to approve any settlement.
Ha! Good luck getting that to happen. This is pure election-season gold for Republicans. See you at the trial in September, everybody.
[Image via AP]