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Rangel not corrupt, but 'sloppy'?


The Ethics Committee's staff counsel, who is acting as a prosecutor here, presented his evidence and an outline of the 13 counts against Rangel. Many witnesses who could have appeared in person submitted sworn affidavits.

Rangel is not present but his voice echoed in the room. The counsel, R. Blake Chisam, played clips on the TV screen in the hearing room of Rangel making a floor speech where acknowledged some of his alleged violations and stated that these are serious issues. Rangel appears emphatic and even apologetic.

Chisam asked the committee to act now by taking a vote on the facts as presented saying they are in many instances undisputed. Members of the committee were able to ask the counsel questions about the case.

North Carolina Democrat G.K. Butterfield, as a member of the panel, raised issues that sound supportive of Rangel. Butterfield was able to get Chisam to make an important statement that appears to support Rangel's claim that he was not personally enriched, "I see no evidence of corruption."

Chisam added, "I believe that the congressman, quite frankly, was overzealous in many things he did and at least sloppy in his personal finances."

Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) announced the committee will vote on the 13-count case against him with 550 exhibits and submitted testimony.A majority vote on each count must determine if there is "clear and convincing evidence."

The open hearing is over. The time of the vote is not yet clear. The committee will recess now to deliberate on the 13 counts.