TPM News

In an impromptu moving news conference after he walked out of his ethics hearing on Monday, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) told reporters he didn't think there was much he could say about the charges against him.

"I wish I could make a statement... I don't think there's anything that I can say," Rangel said in front of a row of cameras set up just outside the 3rd floor hearing room in the House Longworth Building.

Then he said a lot.

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Republican Joe Miller is still confident about his lead in uncontested write-in ballots in the Alaska Senate race against Sen. Lisa Murkowski, despite Murkowski's steady gains since the count started five days ago. "If current trends hold, Miller and Murkowski will likely end up in a dead heat in the uncontested ballot count," the Miller campaign said in a press release.

But even if his lead among the uncontested ballots gives Miller hope, the departure of half of his legal team from Juneau over the weekend could be a sign that the Miller team thinks a lawsuit over contested ballots will be unnecessary, and that Murkowski will win outright with uncontested ballots.

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After accusing the House ethics committee of denying his right to a lawyer, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) threatened to leave the hearing.

Rangel parted ways from his lawyers last month. He told the committee today that they quit, not sure he could pay the already $2 million legal bills he had racked up over the committee's two-year investigation. He also claimed the committee told him only two weeks ago that he could set up a legal defense fund to pay his lawyers, and that he didn't have enough time to create such a fund and hire counsel.

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By Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica

This article was co-published with the Washington Post. This is the first of two parts.

On a November night two years ago, a young American rabbi and his pregnant wife finished dinner at their home in the mega-city of Mumbai.

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Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is indeed representing himself during his ethics committee hearing.

He blamed the panel for him not having lawyers. He said the long investigation leading to the hearing -- two years -- racked up big legal bills for him, to the tune of $2 million. His lawyers, Rangel said, quit because they didn't think he could pay the increasing bills.

Rangel also claimed that the committee informed him that he could set up a legal defense fund only two weeks ago.

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Joe Miller has a new advisor to help him with his war on spelling in the Alaska Senate write-in count -- and it's Floyd Brown, the infamous conservative strategist behind the "Willie Horton" TV ad in the 1988 presidential campaign, the co-founder of Citizens United and the birther-friendly blogger.

Miller beat Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary, but now appears to trail her write-in campaign in the general election. Write-in ballots are currently being examined to see how many are for Murkowski.

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Last week, we noticed Fox News discussing the possibility of gold making a comeback as an everyday currency. Not the return of the gold standard, or investing in gold, but gold in your pocket, used to buy groceries or tip bartenders. You see, a quick switch back to the gold standard might be improbable, host Stuart Varney said, but what about the "creeping use of gold as a medium of exchange?"

One point of evidence that Varney pointed to in support of his pet theory is the impending arrival of gold vending machines to U.S. shores. Gold vending machines? Varney must have been referring to Gold to Go, gilded contraptions made by a German company named Ex Oriente Lux AG.

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Rep. Charlie Rangel's hearing before the House ethics committee begins today, two weeks after he overwhelmingly won re-election from his district in Harlem.

Rangel (D-NY) is charged with 13 ethics violations over allegations that he: (1) used official Congressional stationery and other resources to raise money for an educational center that bears his name; (2) that he made big mistakes on his financial disclosure statements; (3) that he illegally used a rent-controlled apartment for his campaign; and (4) that he failed to report taxable income from a rental villa in the Dominican Republic.

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Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-KY) is not backing down from his claim that President Obama was too hard on BP back during this summer's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On the campaign trail in March, Paul took heat for his statement that Obama's rhetoric toward the energy giant in the wake of the disaster off the Louisiana coast was "un-American." In what appear to be his first public comments about the spill since being handily elected Kentucky's new Senator, Paul took a similar line to the one he did as a candidate.

"I didn't like the language," Paul said in an interview on CBS' Face The Nation this morning. "I didn't think the president or his people should say something like 'putting a boot heel on the throat' of a business. I didn't like that."

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On Friday, the Tea Party Patriots lived up to just about every stereotype about the movement that its critics have about the tea party insurgency. In a single email, the Patriots acted paranoid, attacked fellow conservatives, alienated Republicans, sounded unhinged, got their facts wrong and had to sheepishly apologize to all involved. They also dished out the personal cell phone numbers of many incoming freshmen -- leading to a bombardment of calls from angry tea partiers.

Truly, it was a spectacular thing to behold. Suffice to say, it was probably not the way the tea party hoped to roll into DC.

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