A House ethics subcommittee announced Tuesday that it found Congressman Charles Rangel guilty of nearly all ethics violations against him.
It took the bipartisan panel of four Democrats and four Republicans less than 24 hours to come to the decision.
The subcommittee found the veteran Harlem Democrat guilty of 11 of 13 charges against him by "clear and convincing evidence."
"None of members of this committee are volunteers,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, chair of the ethics committee. “This has been a difficult assignment, time consuming, and we have approached our duties diligently, and that includes every member of this subcommittee. We have tried to act with fairness, led only by facts and law."
"Sitting in judgment of fellow member, a colleague is very difficult task but I believe you, madam chair, and all the members of this subcommittee have handled yourselves in a very nonpartisan, professional manner and dignified manner which I hope will restore credibility to the House of Representatives,” said Congressman Michael McCaul, the ranking member of the committee.
There is little transparency to the deliberations process, as committee members are forbidden to discuss what occurred.
The case will now go on to the full House Ethics Committee for a hearing on an appropriate punishment for Rangel – including the possibilities of censure, reprimand, fines or denial of House privileges.
The full House of Representatives will then vote on the committee's recommendations.
"Never in my wildest dreams that any lawyer ever conceive that a hearing would be a package of allegations without witnesses," Rangel told reporters. "I will ask anybody, anywhere that I can, does this sound like it is has a scintilla of due process?"
The 20-term Harlem Democrat was found guilty of using a rent-stabilized apartment for campaign activities, failing to pay taxes on rental property in the Dominican Republic and improperly using congressional letterheads to raise funds for a City University center to be built in his name.
Rangel was neither present during the ruling nor the hearing. He had little comment as he left his office after the decision to attend a black caucus meeting.
However, he released a statement slamming the process as unfair and the findings as "unfortunate."
"How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the Ethics Subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room?" asked Rangel in the statement. "I can only hope that the full Committee will treat me more fairly, and take into account my entire 40 years of service to the Congress before making any decisions on sanctions. I am disappointed by the unfortunate findings of the Ethics Subcommittee. The Committee's actions are unprecedented in view of the fact that they arrived at without rebuttal or counter evidence on my behalf."
Rangel went on to say, ""From here forward, it is my hope that the full Ethics Committee will take into consideration the opinion of its chief counsel... that any failings in my conduct were the result of 'good faith mistakes' and were caused by 'sloppy and careless record keeping, but were not criminal or corrupt.'"
He made a brief but dramatic appearance before the committee Monday. Arguing for a postponement so he could set up a legal defense fund, Rangel said he was not given enough time to prepare.
"I am so proud of my record in the Congress. I love this Congress, I love this country. I think I am entitled to more,” pleaded Rangel.
After Lofgren reminded Rangel that he had months to prepare, the congressman headed for the exit. The committee then began deliberations after agreeing that the facts in the case were so clear that witnesses were not necessary.
Meanwhile, fellow Democrats from New York -- including Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez -- rallied around Rangel on Tuesday.
"I love Charlie Rangel," Velazquez said.
"I have tremendous respect for Charlie Rangel and his service to this country. I feel very sorry for him," said Congressman Joseph Crowley of Queens and the Bronx.
"At moments like this what you do is I think, think of the 40 years of service and think of all the good things that he did," said Congressman Jose Serrano of the Bronx.
Rangel's constituents in Harlem who spoke with NY1 mostly supported their representative, but some said that the congressman deserved to be punished for wrongdoing.
"I think that he's a good congressman, I think he needs to continue to be a congressman. He's done a lot of right for the people of Harlem," said one local.
"He should get the same penalty as anyone else. I'm sure a freshly-appointed congressman would definitely be expelled from his position, so it should happen to Charlie as well," said another.
"Well, if they found him guilty, he got what he deserved. That's it, I can't say any more," said a third.
In the wake of the ethics controversy, Rangel stepped down as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.