Politics

Pelosi Surprised at Ethics Committee's Judgment on Rangel

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says she was a little surprised that the House Ethics Committee admonished House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) for accepting trips to the Carribean, even though he didn't know the travel was paid for by outside groups.

The committee issued a "public adominition" of Rangel, even though the Ethics panel approved the trip, based on information provided to them by two of the Congressman's staffers.

One of those aides no longer works for Rangel. Sources familiar with the situation tell Fox that aide is Rangel's former Chief of Staff George Dalley, who resigned last year.

"I think it's quite a statement to say that lawmakers can be held accountable for what their staff knew," said Pelosi.

Pelosi also indicated that Rangel should not step aside from his committee chairmanship. The Ethics Committee is still reviewing a host of allegations involving Rangel. They range from his taxes to his use of Congressional stationary to raise money for City College of New York. Pelosi said "we'll just see what happens next.

Pelosi has steadfastly waited on the Ethics Committee to complete its probes of Rangel before taking any potential action against him.

"Every member is entitled to have his day (before the Ethics Committee)," Pelosi said. "They said he did not knowingly violate the rules."