WASHINGTON – Embattled Rep. Charles Rangel has ordered his 1972 silver Mercedes-Benz to be towed from a House of Representatives parking garage, FOX News has learned, following criticism that he was storing the car there in violation of congressional rules.
The vehicle, which does not run and is under a registration that expired four years ago, had been covered with a tarp in the garage across the street from the Capitol building -- even though the House prohibits the storage of inoperable vehicles. The House also requires up-to-date license plates to be displayed on parked vehicles, but Rangel's had no license plates.
FOX News learned that Rangel had the Benz towed Thursday afternoon to a service center in Arlington, Va., to be, in the words of his Chief of Staff George Dalley, "diagnosed."
Dalley said they asked for the car to be towed since they weren't in compliance with House rules.
The New York Post first reported Thursday that the car was stashed in the garage, quoting aides who said it had been there for years.
The questions over the Benz is just the latest ethical bind Rangel has faced.
Rangel, a New York Democrat, has asked the House ethics committee to investigate him on several fronts: for not reporting rental income on a Dominican Republic vacation house; for his use of three rent-stabilized apartments in his home district of Harlem; and for his use of congressional stationery to try to drum up private financial support for a college center named after him.
Leaders of the ethics committee said Thursday they plan to begin investigating some of the ethical issues surrounding Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
Reps. Gene Green, D-Texas, and Doc Hastings, R-Washington, said they thought an investigative subcommittee should start work. Hastings said he would like the committee to hire a special counsel with expertise in tax and legal issues.
Also Thursday, the House voted 226-176 against a measure offered by Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, that called for Rangel to lose his committee post. An earlier House vote seeking to censure Rangel had failed by a wide margin.
In addition to trying to force Rangel off the committee, Republicans have tried to use Rangel's ethical and financial problems as a campaign issue against other Democrats running for Congress.
FOX News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.