House veteran faces misconduct censure

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The Independent US

One of the most likable veterans in Congress would become the 23rd House member in US history to be censured if the House of Representatives goes along with a recommendation of its ethics committee.

House members face the solemn task of disciplining one of their own when Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat, is reproached for financial and fundraising misconduct.

It will be one of the more unpleasant jobs in the waning days of the 111th Congress because Mr Rangel, from Harlem, is legendary for his friendliness and for greeting anyone he passes at the Capitol.

The normally self-confident 80-year-old, newly re-elected and with 40 years of House service behind him, was reduced to pleading with the ethics committee on Thursday to refrain from calling him corrupt.

The ethics committee deliberated for about three hours before voting 9-1 to recommend a resolution of censure, plus a requirement that Mr Rangel pay taxes he owes on income from a holiday home in the Dominican Republic.

If the House agrees to a censure resolution, Mr Rangel would stand before his colleagues at the front of the chamber – known as the well – where the resolution of censure would be read by the Speaker. The House has the option of changing the punishment to a reprimand, which avoids the oral rebuke at the well.