UNITED STATES: Congresswoman pleased with Ethics panel ruling- Caribbean Daily News
NEW YORK, CMC – Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke says she has been vindicated by a review of the United States House of Representatives’ Ethics Committee on a trip to the Caribbean in 2007.
“I am pleased that the House Ethics Committee concluded that I committed no wrongdoing and followed the proper procedures surrounding a trip that I took to the Carib News Foundation Conference in 2007 (in Antigua),” Clarke told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
“It is unfortunate that these allegations have taken attention away from the substance of the annual conference, which provides a platform for CARICOM (Caribbean Community) nations to maintain an open dialogue with the Unites States,” added the representative for the 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, the largest district of Caribbean immigrants in the US.
The Ethics Committee on Thursday admonished Harlem Democratic Congressman Charles B. Rangel, a strong advocate for the Caribbean, for violating Congressional gift rules by accepting corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.
The committee said Rangel, who heads the House of Representatives’ powerful Ways and Means Committee that writes tax policy, was among a half dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus who accepted trips to attend business seminars in Antigua and Barbuda in November 2007 and St. Maarten in November 2008.
The Ethics Committee said the trips were organized by the New York-based Carib News Foundation, a charity affiliated with the weekly Carib News newspaper.
But, according to an ethics complaint filed by the National Legal and Police Center, a Washington-based conservative advocacy group, the conventions were underwritten by corporations like Pfizer, Verizon and AT&T, and that the sponsorship was “widely noted” at the events.
While the committee’s findings, released on Thursday night, admonished Rangel, it said it had no evidence that he knew of the sponsorships.
The committee said that Clarke “did not knowingly violate any provision of the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation or other standard of conduct applicable to her conduct in the performance of her duties or the discharge of your responsibilities with respect to her travel to attend the 2007 Multi-National Business Conferences hosted by the Carib News Foundation.”
A defiant Clarke told CMC that as long as she represents the 11th Congressional District of New York, she will continue to travel to the Caribbean to “actively engage those nations in an open and productive dialogue with the US.”
“As a senior Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I recognize the complex and significant security issues facing our ‘third border’, including drug and human trafficking, terrorism, and civil unrest.
“I understand that we must employ a consistent and productive dialogue with Caribbean nations in order to adequately address the international security challenges that face our Western Hemisphere,” she added.