From NBC's Sarah Blackwill and Mark Murray
Talking to reporters today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was her understanding that House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D) didn't violate the rules of the House, after Rangel was admonished by the House Ethics Committee. *** UDPATE *** A Pelosi spokesman calls First Read to stress that Pelosi said Rangel didn't "willfully" break the rules. See below.
"What I understand, and I haven't seen the report... All I saw was the press release where they said that he did not violate the rules of the House," Pelosi said. "And I think that's an important statement that they made... So there's more to Mr Rangel's situation and we'll look forward to hearing from the committee."
More from Pelosi: "Obviously, they have other issues to deal with, but I thank them for taking this action. I hope that they will have other actions soon. But they did not take action against him. They just said he did not willfully break the rules. But we'll just see what happens next -- what comes out of the Ethics Committee next."
In fact, the report concluded that Rangel's staff knew that he was accepting privately funded travel, and that Rangel "was responsible for the knowledge and actions of his staff in the performance of their official duties."
The Report further finds that Representative Charles B. Rangel violated the House gift rule by accepting payment or reimbursement for travel to the 2007 and 2008 conferences. The evidence shows that members of Representative Rangel's staff knew that corporations had contributed funds to Carib News specifically for the 2007 and 2008 conferences. This information was not provided to the Standards Committee when he sought and received approval from the Committee to accept these trips. The Committee does not find sufficient evidence to conclude, nor does it believe that it would discover additional evidence to alter its conclusion, that Representative Rangel had actual knowledge of the memoranda written by his staff. However, the report finds that Representative Rangel was responsible for the knowledge and actions of his staff in the performance of their official duties. It is the intention of the Committee that publication of this Report will serve as a public admonishment by the Standards Committee of Representative Rangel.