The U.S. House ethics committee submitted its report on Representative Charles Rangel of New York to the full chamber today, paving the way for a vote by lawmakers on whether to censure him for ethical violations.
The ethics panel, comprising five Democrats and five Republicans, voted Nov. 18 to recommend that Rangel be censured. The committee also recommended that Rangel, a Democrat re-elected earlier this month to his 21st term, pay back taxes on rental income he earned from a villa in the Dominican Republic.
A House vote is expected this week.
An ethics subcommittee found that Rangel committed 11 violations of House rules by 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, failing to pay taxes for 17 years on rental income, and using a rent-controlled apartment as a campaign office.
The report by the full committee said the violations were committed “on a continuous and prolonged basis” and warranted “a strong congressional response rebuking his behavior.”
If the House approves, Rangel, 80, would become the first of its members to be censured since Representatives Gerry Studds, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Daniel Crane, an Illinois Republican, were censured in 1983 for sexual misconduct with House pages.
Under censure, Rangel would stand on the House floor as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, reads the resolution outlining his transgressions.
Some lawmakers say Rangel should receive a reprimand, a less-severe penalty. Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, the House’s third-ranking Democrat and a member with Rangel of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he opposed censuring his colleague.
“A reprimand would be more appropriate,” he told reporters today.
Rangel apologized to the committee on Nov. 18, even as he argued that he did “nothing corrupt” and didn’t profit from his actions. The panel’s chief counsel, Blair Chisam, told the subcommittee earlier this month that he didn’t believe Rangel “took steps to enrich himself.”
Rangel gave up the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee in March after the ethics panel said he broke House rules by accepting corporate-sponsored travel.