Anticipating another investigation following allegations of wrongdoing, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he was starting a legal defense trust to cover the cost of legal bills.
Earlier this month, Rangel was formally censured by the House of Representatives for violating rules of conduct, including failure to report income on a vacation house in the Dominican Republic, improperly using a rent-controlled apartment as a campaign office and having his congressional office raise money for a university center named after him.
Rangel was re-elected for the 21st straight term despite the ethics investigation and likelihood of censure at the time of the November election.
Earlier in December, the Federal Election Commission reported receiving a new complaint that Rangel violated election laws by using campaign monies to pay for his legal defense costs. The group that filed the complaint, the National Legal and Policy Center, was responsible for the complaint that led to the charges brought against Rangel by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in July.
“The repeated filings of allegations, no matter how unsubstantiated, by the (National Legal and Policy Center), a politically-motivated right wing group dedicated to eviscerating civil rights and labor union protections, have led me to this action,” said Rangel in a prepared statement.
The NLPC’s complaint alleges that Rangel used almost $400,000 in funds from his National Leadership PAC, violating the Federal Election Campaign Act. The organization said that monies from the PAC are designated for contributions to other candidates, and cannot be used for legal expenses related to their official actions.
Rangel’s new fund called the Charles B. Rangel Legal Expense Trust was approved by the House ethics committee. Contributions of up to $5,000 can be made by supporters each year.
“I continue to draw satisfaction from the recently concluded ethics committee investigations that established that, while I committed serious violations of the rules of the House, none of those violations included corruption, intent, self-dealing, self-enrichment or quid pro quos involving any official action,” Rangel said.
“I am confident any continuing or subsequent investigations will find a similar lack of any intent to violate any rules or any actions designed in any way to personally benefit me or my family,” he said.