The House voted Thursday to censure former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., for violations of ethical rules.
The 333-79 vote against the longtime Harlem congressman marked the first time in three decades that the House has censured one of its members. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the resolution censuring Rangel after House ethics committee chair Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said they found “his actions, and accumulation of actions, reflected poorly on the institutions of the House,” according to the Washington Post.
Rangel was charged with a number of violations, including failure to disclose rental income on a vacation property that he owned in the Dominican Republic, and to pay taxes on it until it was reported by the media and he hired a forensic accountant to clean up his financial disclosures and taxes (see Ethics Panel Recommends Censure for Rangel).
“I have made serious mistakes,” said Rangel. “I do believe rules are made to be enforced. I do believe that we in the Congress have a higher responsibility than most people. I do believe that senior members should act in a way, as a model, for new and less experienced members. I do believe that there should be enforcement of these laws. There should be sanctions. But if you’re breaking new grounds, I ask for fairness.”
Rangel was defended after he spoke by two of his colleagues, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Peter King, R-N.Y. They urged their colleagues not to vote for censure, with King comparing it to “life in prison.” The House voted for censure after approximately an hour of debate among the members.
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