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Rangel Recommendation: Censure

The House ethics committee’s top counsel Thursday recommended a censure of Rep. Charlie Rangel after an adjudicatory panel ruled earlier this week that the New York Democrat repeatedly violated the chamber’s rules. The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct must determine whether to accept the punishment and is meeting later Thursday to decide.

Rangel was found to have misused federal resources to solicit donations for a City College of New York center named in his honor, used a rent-stabilized apartment for his campaign office, failed to pay taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic and filed inaccurate financial disclosure forms.

An adjudicatory subcommittee on Tuesday ruled against Rangel on 11 of 13 charges leveled by an investigative panel earlier this year.

“A reprimand would not be inconsistent with the precedent,” said ethics committee chief counsel Blake Chisam, who acted as a prosecutor during an Rangel’s adjudicatory hearing earlier this week.

But Chisam, echoing a report authored by the House ethics subcommittee that tried Rangel’s case earlier this week, cited the New York lawmaker’s senior status in recommending a more severe punishment.

“We cannot ignore the fact that respondent was, at relevant times, either the chairman or ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee,” Chisam said.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the House has opted to censure Members 22 times for a variety of offenses including bribery, gift rule violations, misuse of campaign funds, payroll fraud and sexual misconduct with House pages.

When a lawmaker faces censure, the resolution includes a verbal admonition, which may be administered by the Speaker reading the resolution to the Member at the bar of the House.

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