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House Deflects Effort to Reduce Rangel Sanction

Lawmakers blocked an attempt Thursday to lessen the House ethics committee’s recommended punishment of Rep. Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), defeating a procedural maneuver that would have circumvented a proposed censure of the senior Democrat.

Democrats split on the vote but only a handful of Republicans supported reducing his penalty, and the measure failed on a 146-267 vote.

The House is expected to immediately move to vote on whether to censure Rangel for his repeated violations of the chamber’s rules. If Rangel is censured, it would be the first time in nearly 30 years that a Member has received that punishment.

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 with the exception of expulsion.

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 Thursday for his colleagues to support a reprimand — a lesser punishment that would still require a House vote but not mandate a public lecture — on the basis that the ethics committee concluded his actions did not amount to corruption.

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