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House Censures Rangel for Ethics Violations

The House voted Thursday to censure Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) for his repeated violations of the chamber’s rules, marking the first time in nearly 30 years that a Member has been censured on the floor.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct voted Nov. 18 to recommend censure, a lecture on the House floor that is the chamber’s most stringent form of punishment short of expulsion.

More than 100 Democrats and a handful of Republicans voted to reduce Rangel’s punishment from censure to reprimand, but that motion was defeated. In the final vote that followed on censure, fewer Democrats sided with Rangel, and the House approved the penalty on a vote of 333-79.

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.

The New York Democrat acknowledged his wrongdoing, but he campaigned in the days before the House vote for his colleagues to support a reprimand — a lesser punishment that would still require a House vote but not mandate a public dressing-down — on the basis that the ethics committee had not deemed his actions corrupt.

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