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Rangel Sues Boehner to Reverse U.S. House Ethics Censure

U.S. Representative Charles Rangel sued House Speaker John Boehner and six other lawmakers, saying evidence was withheld from a House probe that led to Rangel’s censure for several ethics violations.

The House was “knowingly deceived” by members of the ethics committee, including fellow Democrat Zoe Lofgren, Rangel, a New York Democrat, claims in a complaint filed today in federal court in Washington. The committee withheld a memo by former committee staff warning that the proceedings against him had been tainted by misconduct, Rangel alleged.

“The suppressed material would probably have led to a different outcome,” Rangel’s lawyer, Jay Goldberg, said in the complaint. Rangel alleges that “had he known the facts,” he would have “made a motion to dismiss by reason of wrongdoing.”

Rangel, a former Ways and Means Committee chairman, was censured by the House in December 2010 for violations including using a rent-controlled apartment as a campaign office, using congressional stationery and staff to seek donations for an academic center named for him at City College of New York, filing erroneous financial-disclosure statements and failing to pay taxes on rental income for 17 years.

The Federal Election Commission last year fined Rangel $23,000 over the rent-controlled apartment. The FEC said the use of the apartment was a campaign contribution in excess of legal limits and should have been reported by Rangel’s campaign committee and his leadership political action committee.

Duncan Neasham, a spokesman for Lofgren, of California, said in a phone interview that he had not seen the complaint and declined to comment immediately. Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Rangel v. Boehner, 13-cv-00540, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net; Andrew Zajac in Washington at azajac@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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