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Rangel Rejects Ethics Panel's Findings

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Harlem Democrat Charles Rangel, the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, says he will not give up that post after an ethics panel admonished him on Friday.

Rangel claims the panel's report actually "exonerates" him because it says there's no evidence that he knew the trips were sponsored by corporations. The report says Rangel's staff new trips to the Caribbean that he took in 2007 and 2008 were paid for by corporate sponsors.

Rangel says he truly doesn't understand why the committee singled him out when four other representatives who also took those trips were exonerated. Rangel says the trip was approved ahead of time by the very panel that now says he broke the rules.

Rangel still faces inquiries into other, more serious accusations: failing to disclose income from a villa in the Dominican Republic, questions over his fundraising for a center to bear his name at City College, and failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in income on ethics statements.

According to the Associated Press, Rangel was often testy at a press conference called today to respond to the report issued by the panel on Friday.

Asked if he planned to remain committee chairman in light of the admonishment, Rangel responded: "Why don't you ask me am I'm going to stay chairman of the committee in light of the fact that we're expecting heavy snow in New York?"