The House ethics committee has concluded that Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., broke House rules, the Associated Press is reporting. Having served in Congress for almost 40 years, Rangel's a senior Democrat who wields a great deal of influence from his post as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
So far, there are few details on what, exactly, the ethics panel found, or whether Rangel will face any sanction. But if this is more than a slap on the wrist, it could end up being a real headache for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Republicans are bound to make an issue of Rangel's transgressions -- they've already pushed once for him to give up his chairmanship -- but Pelosi will get pressure to fight back from the Congressional Black Caucus, as Rangel is a founding member.
The ethics committee reportedly found specifically that Rangel violated House rules by accepting trips to the Caribbean that were paid for with corporate money. He's got other ethical clouds hanging over his head, though -- among other things, there are problems with his financial disclosure statements, his use of multiple rent-stabilized apartments, even possible tax evasion.