Theodore's World: House Ethics Committee Recommends "Censure" for Charlie Rangel

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November 19, 2010

House Ethics Committee Recommends "Censure" for Charlie Rangel

House Ethics Committee Chief Council recommending that Democrat Rep. Charlie Rangel be “censured” by the full House of Representatives for having been found guilty of eleven ethics violations.

Rangel will be required to go to the well of the House Chamber and face a vote of censure – with the censure resolution being read aloud while he is before his colleagues.

Ethics chief counsel recommends censure for Rangel

Chief counsel Blake Chisman called for the punishment despite the veteran New York congressman's plea, in a prepared statement in advance of the hearing, for "a drop of fairness and mercy."

If Chisam's recommendation is carried out, it would be the most serious punishment short of expulsion that could be meted out by the House. Chisam and Rangel argued their positions at a public hearing on sanctions, where the 80-year-old congressman acknowledged making mistakes in handling his finances and said he wasn't there to "retry this case."

Rangel spoke calmly without notes as he faced the committee. He repeatedly denied he was corrupt or crooked, sparking a clash with Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas.

In the most dramatic clash of the proceeding, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, questioned the assertion of Rangel the former chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee — that he wasn't corrupt.

"Failure to pay taxes for 17 years. What is that?" McCaul asked, referring to Rangel's shortchanging the Internal Revenue Service on rental income from his villa in the Dominican Republic.

McCaul also noted the committee's finding that Rangel solicited donors for the Charles B. Rangel Center at City College of New York from donors who had business before the Ways and Means Committee.

After an investigation that began in summer 2008, Rangel was convicted Tuesday by a jury of his House peers on 11 of 13 charges of rules violations.

He was found to have improperly used official resources — congressional letterheads and staff — to raise funds from businesses and foundations for the Rangel Center. A brochure with some of Rangel's solicitation letters asked for $30 million, or $6 million a year for five years.

He also was found guilty of filing a decade's worth of misleading annual financial disclosure forms that failed to list hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets, and failure to pay taxes on his Dominican unit.

Chisam said donations to the Rangel Center were going poorly, then spiked after Rangel rose to the top of the Ways and Means Committee. He noted the center would benefit minority students and asked, "What kid of example is that of what public service ought to be?"

Chisam asked what a neighbor of Rangel would think after she was evicted from her apartment in Harlem's Lennox Terrace, for violating terms of her lease — and then learning Rangel was allowed to convert a residential-only unit into a campaign office. Others were evicted for similar offenses, the committee found.
"How would that influence her faith in government?" Chisam asked.

And Chisam asked how a waitress struggling to pay her taxes on income and tips would feel about Rangel not paying taxes on rental money from his vacation villa.

Rangel brought in Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, to give a testimonial for the congressman to the panel. Lewis called his colleague "a good and decent man" and said Rangel had worked tirelessly to advance civil rights.

Before Chisam commenced his remarks, Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., told committee colleagues that Rangel needed only to "look in the mirror to know who to blame" for his predicament.


Wild Thing's comment........

His constituents don't care about ethical concerns. If he were a serial rapist they would still vote for him .

My understanding of censure is it is a slap on the wrist and not a real punishment, a condemnation and has no direct effect on the validity of the member, nor are there any other particular legal consequences.


Posted by Wild Thing at November 19, 2010 04:47 AM


It's just comforting to know that if it had been any one of us, our property and assets would have been confiscated by the IRS. Our wages would have been garnished and we most likely would be facing prison time. Just think, the IRS would have done this under laws created by Charley Rangel himself who seems to be exempt from those same laws.

Has anyone read where he has to pay the back taxes?

Posted by: BobF at November 19, 2010 09:38 AM

I think censure is more of an embarrasment than anything else. Maybe it keeps him from a committee chairmanship? Anyway, Rangel gets away with a lot more than any John Q Citizen can get away with.

Posted by: TomR, armed in Texas at November 19, 2010 10:01 AM

"Censure is more of an embarrasment than anything else."

Guys like Charlie Rangel, don't get embarrased, they thrive on this stuff. It is just another evidence of how he is being victimized because he is, " A Man of Color."

The telling thing about all of this is that his constituents are still in overwhelming support of the man.

What are the results? Very little,he will lose his Committee chairmanship, anyway, due to the Republican Majority. Otherwise he still will get his perks and priveledges. Life goes On.

Posted by: Sean at November 19, 2010 10:18 AM

Well after the new congress is seated he won't have a Chair, he should have bench in holding.

Posted by: Mark at November 19, 2010 07:01 PM

You are all the best, I love looking forward to what you think on the various posts. Thank you all so much.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 20, 2010 12:27 AM

Censure is a way of the Democrats to hold on to his seat without an intraparty fight. They are hoping a Republican with voters who are offended by thieves and crooks will take a run at Charlie so they can roll out an ad campaign that Republicans are racists and are trying to lynch a black man.
Who knows it might work with some Obama voters while they stand in soup lines these next two years.

Posted by: Avitar at November 21, 2010 08:48 AM