"Even though they are serious charges, I'm prepared to prove that the only thing I've ever had in my 50 years of public service is service," Rangel told reporters Thursday night. "That's what I've done and if I've been overzealous providing that service, I can't make an excuse for the serious violations."
The allegations include failure to report rental income from vacation property in the Dominican Republic, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income and assets on his financial disclosure statements.
Other charges focused on Rangel's use of congressional staff and stationery to raise money for a college center in New York named after him; accepting favors and benefits from the donors that may have influenced his congressional actions; use of a subsidized New York apartment as a campaign office instead of a residence, as required; and misuse of the congressional free mail privilege to solicit donations.
In New York's Harlem, where Rangel is the only congressman most residents have ever known, two people reflected different opinions of the veteran lawmaker, who has mid-September primary opponents.
David Hendrickson said Rangel should step down.
"He's seen his day. He's either not in touch with the community or insulated himself so that he doesn't have to be in touch with the community," Hendrickson said.
Michael Austin said it was unfortunate that Rangel's career had been clouded by the allegations. "I think he's been a wonderful congressman throughout the years," Austin said, adding that he would vote again for Rangel "based on his previous record."