Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York’s 15th congressional district, who was recently re-elected, was found guilty of 11 ethics violations on Tuesday. The House Ethics Committee is currently holding a hearing by which they’ll hand down his punishment. There have been some pretty harsh words for Rangel so far: “Mr. Rangel can no longer blame anyone other than himself for the position he finds himself in…. Mr. Rangel should only look into the mirror if he wants to know who to blame.”
Via NY1, “The 80-year-old is not expected to be expelled, but will likely be censured or face a public reprimand.”
Once the decision is reached in the committee, the decision will go to the full House of Representatives for a vote. Rangel has also been given 30 minutes to speak, though it’s not known whether he’ll use it.
We’ll continue to update as the hearing continues…
1:21 p.m. The committee’s lawyer, R. Blake Chisam, wants the committee to censure Rangel. The committee wants to know if they should consider Rangel’s walk-out while determining his punishment…
1:27 p.m. Chisam says three counts — the financial disclosure, nonpayment of taxes, and the solicitation count using Congressional stationery — had the most impact on his decision to recommend censure.
1:31 p.m. The committee has gone into a closed session to vote on Rangel’s punishment.
2:43 p.m. And we’re back. The committee is discussing what precedent finding censure would set or follow. However, Chisam says there’s “really not a case in the committee’s past that you can line up well with this case.”
2:48 p.m. Rep. George Butterfield (D-NC) says he is “greatly troubled” that Rangel hasn’t had a lawyer in the case. He has also spent four minutes lauding Rangel’s career in Congress.
2:49 p.m. Butterfield says censure should be reserved for respondents who have enjoyed personal financial gain. Says this is not a corruption case.
2:53 p.m. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) says, “The sanction is gonna be serious, whatever it is.”
3:01 p.m. Rangel, looking solemn (the Daily News says he was “weeping”) addressed the committee again. He apologized for “any embarrassment I’ve caused you” and said he “never intended to enrich myself.”
3:04 p.m. The committee has once again gone into a closed session.
6:09 p.m. After deliberating for nearly three hours, the House ethics committee says it will recommend censure for Charles Rangel.
The New York Times says the full House “will have to vote on the censure resolution,” and that House speaker will get to publicly berate him in front of the nation’s other 434 congressmen. Haha.
Rangel, looking rather dejected (which seems appropriate) asked that the record show he was not corrupt. The committee says it will publish a full report on its decision on its website.