The House ethics committee has found that one of Congress's most powerful black lawmakers violated House rules, but didn't know it.
Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Charlie Rangel (D, New York) violated House rules by failing to properly disclose financial details of trips to the Caribbean, according to senior congressional officials on Thursday. The ethics panel determined that the Harlem Democrat didn't inform the ethics committee of the corporate funding for jaunts to Antigua and St. Maarten that took place in 2007 and 2008. However, the panel also said that while Rangel's staff knew that the Carib News junkets were paid for by companies, Rangel himself did not know.
Five other members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were on the trips —Reps. Bennie Thompson, Yvette Clarke, Donald Payne, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Donna Christensen — were exonerated, although all of the lawmakers will have to pay for the cost of the trips. Rangel will be admonished today.
This isn't the end of Rangel's headaches relating to ethics. The ethics committee is still investigating a variety of issues related to the Congressman's personal finances.
For more details, see CNN's report.
Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.