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Rangel Seeks Grass-Roots Support Against Censure

Rep. Charlie Rangel urged his supporters Wednesday to flood the Capitol’s switchboard in opposition to the House ethics committee’s proposal to punish him.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct voted Nov. 18 to recommend censuring the New York Democrat for his repeated violation of House rules. The full House is expected to vote on the punishment as early as Wednesday.

“I am truly sorry for mistakes and would like your help in seeing that I am treated fairly,” Rangel wrote in an e-mail issued by his campaign committee. “Please call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to urge your Member of Congress to speak against the sanction resolution and encourage them to vote against the censure on the House floor.”

Rangel has also added a section to his website outlining his opposition to the censure and arguing for the House to issue the lesser sanction of a reprimand, which would still require a House vote but would not include a public lecture for the senior Democrat.

“I have posted material on my website which shows that the recommendation for censure is excessive and that my lapses do not rise to the level of transgressions of those censured in the past,” Rangel wrote. “I have spent my entire life standing up for those in need and now I am asking that you please stand with me in this hour of need.”

If lawmakers opt to override the ethics committee’s recommendation and issue a lesser punishment, the effort would involve a motion to recommit, a procedural maneuver made immediately before the final vote.

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.

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