The House ethics committee voted on Thursday to recommend long time Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel be censured. The decision comes after Rangel was found guilty on Tuesday of 11 counts of ethics violations. The punishment is the second most serious sanction that the panel could have recommended, short of expulsion, one that The Hill notes has only been given to 22 House members in the history of the chamber.
The punishment amounts to what’s basically a public shaming by Congress, but the vote to finalize it probably won’t happen until lawmakers return from Thanksgiving break. A majority of House members could vote to uphold the sanction, or opt for a lighter one.
Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that the once visibly defiant Rangel is working on diminishing reserves.
“I don’t know how much longer I have to live but it will always be to help people, and I thank God for what he has given to me,” Rangel said between tears on Thursday, according to The Hill.
After apologizing for any embarrassment and re-iterating his belief that he did nothing wrong, Rangel lashed out at the media.
“What the press has done to me and my family is totally unfair and they will continue to call me a crook and call me corrupt,” he said.
The panel also ordered Rangel to pay restitution of any unpaid taxes, reports The Hill. The 20-term lawmaker angrily balked at any suggestions of corruption from GOP lawmakers, saying that while there were some problems with his initial statement to the committee, he “had no intent to evade or avoid the law.”