Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) allegedly told a group of Harlem district leaders last weekend that he previously agreed to sign a plea deal and settle with House investigators on several ethics charges. However, the 20-term Democrat indicated that Republicans refused to approve the deal and instead pushed for a public trial.
Last month Rangel was officially charged with 13 separate ethics violations for allegedly failing to disclose income and other financial assets, as well as soliciting donations for a private building using his congressional authority. Various media outlets suggested at that time that Rangel refused to make a deal with House investigators and encouraged an ethics committee trial.
However, the New York Daily News reported that Rangel told a group of local leaders on Saturday that he welcomed the possibility of making a deal and avoiding a public circus.
"He said he had signed an agreement. He was ready to go but I guess politics came into play," said State Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Manhattan).
Neither the House Ethics Committee nor Rangel confirmed or denied the report, citing legal restrictions that bar them from commenting.
The New York Democrat acknowledged on Monday that he still hoping to make a deal but is "not very optimistic" that it will happen, according to The Associated Press (AP).