WASHINGTON

Republicans block plea deal for New York Rep. Rangel

House investigators accused veteran New York Rep. Charles Rangel of 13 violations of congressional ethics standards on Thursday, throwing a cloud over his four-decade political career and raising worries for fellow Democrats about the fall elections.

The allegations – which include failure to report rental income from vacation property in the Dominican Republic and to report more than $600,000 in assets on his congressional financial disclosure statements – came as attorneys for Rangel and the House ethics committee worked on a plea deal.

One was struck, people familiar with the talks said, but Republicans indicated it was too late.

The deal will have little meaning if the committee members don’t approve it, and Republicans said at the proceeding they were insisting on going forward with a trial. The panel is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

SAN DIEGO

Sherrod to sue blogger who made her appear racist

Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said Thursday she will sue a conservative blogger who posted a video edited to make her appear racist.

Sherrod was forced to resign last week as director of rural development in Georgia after Andrew Breitbart posted the edited video online. In the full video, Sherrod, who is black, spoke to a local NAACP group about racial reconciliation and overcoming her initial reluctance to help a white farmer.

Speaking Thursday at the National Association of Black Journalists convention, Sherrod said she would definitely sue over the video that took her remarks out of context. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has offered Sherrod a new job in the department. She has not decided whether to accept.

Sherrod said she had not received an apology from Breitbart and no longer wanted one. “He had to know that he was targeting me,” she said.

Breitbart has said he posted the portion of the speech where she expresses reservations about helping the white farmer to prove that racism exists in the NAACP, which had just demanded that the tea party movement renounce any bigoted elements. Some members of the NAACP audience appeared to approve when Sherrod described her reluctance to help the farmer.

BATTLE CREEK, Mich.

Company received warning before oil pipeline leaked

A Canadian company whose pipeline leaked hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into a Michigan river was warned by government regulators in January that its monitoring of corrosion in the line was insufficient.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration told Enbridge

Energy Partners Chairman Terry McGill in a Jan. 21 letter that its corrosion monitoring in Line 6B, the line that ruptured, did not comply with federal regulations.

According to the warning, Enbridge was implementing an alternate way of monitoring corrosion and had detailed to regulators the steps it was taking to track corrosion in the meantime.

But the agency warned the company in the letter that it was not using a sufficient amount of certain chemicals used to protect pipe interiors, not using proper monitoring equipment to determine it those chemicals were working, and not examining its monitoring equipment at least twice a year.