Rep. Rangel stepping down as chairman

By WKTV News

WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Charles Rangel stepping down temporarily as House Ways and Means Committee chairman.

Rangel made the announcement to reporters on Capitol Hill today, saying he would not answer any questions. He said, "I hope you don't mind. I don't take questions."

He said that "from the very, very beginning, I had offered" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to step down from the post.

He said he leaving "to avoid my colleagues having to defend me" during the campaign season.

The House ethics committee last week said Rangel violated congressional gift rules by taking trips to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008 that had corporate sponsors. The New York Democrat told ethics investigators that he did not know the trips were paid by corporations.

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