This afternoon the House Ethics committee released hundreds of pages of documents, along with their formal report recommending censure for Charlie Rangel based on the 11 violations that the longtime Congressman was found guilty of earlier this month.
In arguing for censure, the report stated: “The eleven violations committed by Representative Rangel on a continuous and prolonged basis were more serious in character, meriting a strong Congressional response rebuking his behavior.”
A full House vote is expected today or tomorrow, but according to some Congressional staffers, the House leadership is likely to want to schedule the vote as soon as possible so that they can take back the news cycle with issues more favorable to them.
According to sources, Rangel is trying to negotiate how the House resolution will proceed, and his supporters hope that he will be given equal time to address the charges before the full House. Rangel is expected to admit wrongdoing, but argue that his deeds warrant a reprimand, not censure. A censure resolution would force Rangel to stand in the well of the House while the resolution is read against him.
Allies of Rangel’s are pushing back against a censure vote, arguing that censure would set too harsh of a precedent for future members of Congress, since Rangel’s misdeeds did not benefit him personally. Currently, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, national civil rights groups, and local Harlem electeds like Assemblyman Keith Wright and Councilmember Inez Dickens have been reaching out on Rangel’s behalf.
Overturning the censure recommendation by the House ethics committee would be something of an extraordinary step for Congress. But supporters of Rangel are hoping that between the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the New York delegation, including Republicans like Peter King, there remains enough goodwill from Rangel’s 40 years in Washington to stave off a vote for censure.