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Rangel Seeks Leniency From Ethics Committee

Should the committee urge censure against Rangel, he could become the 23rd lawmaker to be censured by the House. Chisam stated that since the ethics committee’s creation 43 years ago, the panel has recommended censure only three times.

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.

The ethics committee recessed Thursday afternoon to allow Members to take part in a vote on the House floor. The committee is expected to reconvene publicly before its Members move to an executive session to make their determination.

During his opening remarks, Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), the panel’s ranking member, criticized Rangel’s decision not to participate in the adjudicatory proceedings Monday, asserting the Democrat “was showing so little regard and respect, even for the institution that he has claimed to love.”

Rangel made a brief appearance before the adjudicatory hearing Monday, but he boycotted the proceedings after the panel rejected his requests for a postponement.

“I know and I believe we all know that it should not take either a law degree or a legal dictionary to ”distinguish “between right and wrong,” Bonner said.

Bonner also criticized the ethics committee for failing to schedule Rangel’s ethics trial prior to the November general election.

“In my mind, the most unfair thing of all was that his constituents were denied an opportunity ... before they, the voters of the 15th district of New York, had an opportunity to choose their Representative earlier this year,” Bonner said. “It is my view that the committee failed the people of the 15th district of New York for this reason alone.”

Rep. John Lewis appeared at the hearing to speak on Rangel’s behalf.

“I don’t know the facts in this case. I’ve known Mr. Rangel for more than 50 years,” the Georgia Democrat said, recalling Rangel’s work in during the civil rights era.

“He has always been a champion for those who have been left out and left behind,” Lewis said. “Charlie Rangel is a good and decent man. I know this man.”

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