Charlie Rangel Censured: ‘I Brought it on Myself’

December 2, 2010

(ChattahBox Political News)—Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), just had one of the worst days of his professional life. Despite last minute pleas for a lesser punishment of a reprimand, backed by a handful of supporters, including one Republican from his home state, Rep. Peter King, his colleagues overwhelmingly voted for censure, in a vote of 333-79. Only 77 of his Democratic colleagues voted against the censure motion, and that has to hurt. The 40-year House veteran and Korean war hero apologized to the “august body” that he loves so much, and he admitted making “serious mistakes.” “I brought it on myself,” said Rangel, but he also sought a more equitable punishment based on precedent, pointing out his lack of corruption and direct financial gain. But that was not to be, and Rangel’s long and respected career will now be tainted with a censure, a rare rebuke, just one step away from expulsion that has only been handed down 22 times, until today.

The New York Times reports:

“Despite impassioned last-minute pleas for mercy from Mr. Rangel and a half-dozen of his colleagues, the House voted 333-79 for censure, the sternest punishment it can administer short of expulsion.”

“Moments after the vote, Mr. Rangel rose from his seat, walked to the well of the House, between the members and the speaker’s podium, where he stood alone as the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, seeming at times uncomfortable, read the one-paragraph resolution censuring him for 11 violations of Congressional ethics rules.”

“Mr. Rangel asked for a minute to address his colleagues after the censure  was read. “I know in my heart I am not going to be judged by this Congress,” he said. “I’ll be judged by my life in its entirety.”’

Rangel’s wrongdoing amounted to tax evasion and fundraising improprieties that alone, would not have warranted a censure, but the cumulative nature of the offenses and his senior position did him in.

It’s a sad day for Charlie Rangel and a sad day for the House of Representatives.

Ironically, a number of Republicans serving on the Ethics panel, including Reps. Jo Bonner (AL) and Michael McCall (TX) rose to speak passionately against Rangel’s wrongdoing, citing the public trust and credibility. But wouldn’t you know, as soon as the Republicans take control in January, they plan to eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics, by quietly de-funding it.

The OCE reviews complaints and decides whether they should be referred to the House ethics committee for further action. So, if the OCE is wiped out of existence, any and all ethics investigations will in effect, cease to exist.

Nice, huh? So much for the GOP’s pledge for ethical transparency.


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