By Heather Grossmann
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — Embattled Harlem Rep. Charlie Rangel has been charged by a House Committee with multiple ethics violations, his office confirmed Thursday.
Rangel, 80, has been under investigation for months because of allegations he violated House gift rules when he took corporate-sponsored junkets to the Caribbean, did not pay taxes on his vacation home in the Dominican Republic and engaged in improper fundraising, among other accusations.
"It's very bad news for Mr. Rangel," said Melanie Sloan, of Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington, which called for him to resign.
"This means they found some very bad stuff," Sloan told the New York Post. "To me, this is a step toward expulsion."
When asked if he would defend himself at trial, Rangel responded with his trademark vigor and defiance.
"You bet your sweet a--," Rangel told the Daily News. "If I can testify, I will."
The ethics committee sent a letter to its chair earlier Thursday of a "statement of alleged violation," indicating that there is evidence Rangel violated ethics laws. A judiciary committee will now determine whether the charges are "proved by clear and convincing evidence," according to a letter from the ethics committee.
A public hearing on the matter will be held July 29 to hear the evidence and specific findings.
"Now the facts are going to get out and I think that's good," Rangel told the News. "I don't have any fear at all politically or personally what they come up with....So this is it, it's what I've been waiting for."
The congressman, who has been in office since 1971, was forced to step down as chairman of the Ways and Means committee after the House officially reprimanded his for taking the Caribbean junkets.
The committee and Rangel's attorney were not able to come to an agreement on a settlement to end the case, sources told the AP.
A spokesman for Rangel said that the congressman was pleased that the two year process was "starting to come to a conclusion" and that he was looking forward to the exact allegations made against him becoming public.