House Censures Charlie Rangel

Late today the House of Representatives censured Charlie Rangel for a series of ethics violations:

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) faced the censure of his colleagues Thursday, the culmination of a two-year investigation of one of the most legendary figures on Capitol Hill for the past 40 years.

On a vote of 333 to 79, the House overwhelmingly approved the censure resolution condemning Rangel for a string of rules infractions that included 17 years of unpaid taxes on property in the Dominican Republic, more than $500,000 in undisclosed financial assets and inappropriately raising millions of dollars from corporations with business before his committee for a New York City college.

Censure represents the second highest form of congressional punishment, and it required Rangel – the 80-year-old former chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee – to march into the well of the chamber as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) read the resolution rebuking him in front of the entire chamber.

After the public rebuke — which took Pelosi just a few seconds — Rangel gave brief remarks, striking a somewhat defiant tone and reiterating his previous claims that he never tried to “enrich myself”.

“I know in my heart I’m not going to be judged by this Congress,” he said, ending by telling his colleagues that, despite the censure, he still has not “had a bad day since” 60 years ago when he was nearly killed on the Korean War battlefied.

Several dozen of Rangel’s closest friends fell short in their effort to reduce the sanction to a reprimand, which would not have required the public rebuke by Pelosi. That amendment received 146 votes.

The historic proceedings began shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, with the House chamber nearly full. The first speaker was Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House ethics committtee, which investigated Rangel and recommended he receive Congress’s second-most severe punishment.

“We found his actions, and accumulations of actions, reflected poorly on the institutions of the House,” Lofgren said, with Rangel sitting 10 feet away. Lofgren noted that Rangel has served for years in Congress, and before that was decorated for heroism in combat during the Korean War. But, she said, “that service does not excuse the fact that Rep. Rangel violated laws. He violated regulations. He violated the rules of this House.”

I had this naive hope that Rangel would resign. Yea that was a dumb thought.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Drew says:

    Has Nancy finished draining the swamp, yet? 

  2. Terrye says:

    He had it coming,

  3. james says:

    Has any lifer finished service with out a cloud of repudiation.

  4. Linda says:

    Pelosi looked heartbroken as she issued the slap on the wrist.
    Rangel apologized… for getting caught.
    Dems applauded…. because now it’s over and they can get back to business as usual.
    Rangel fudges on his taxes, uses his rent controlled apartment for campaign purposes, uses official letterhead to beg for money for a college, and uses his PAC money to pay legal fees, and that’s all fine and dandy.
    Not so, if you’re a Republican… and the Dem thought police are around….
    Trent Lott said he was proud his state voted for Strom Thurmond and wished the rest of the country had done so as well (in 1948, mind you. It was a different time, back then), and it’s “Off with his head!” How dare someone honor Thurmond, who was retiring from the Senate, and turning 100 years old.Why, evil ol’ Thurmond was a [wait for it] racist!
    Al Gore (remember him) wanted Lott censured for a comment! Thoughtless or not, it was a comment, not a crime, and the Dems wanted blood. Jesse Jackson wanted Lott to resign.
    And Robert Byrd was a member of the KKK, but that was okay, because he was an ol’ country boy Democrat who was just tryin’ to get elected.No one called for his resignation…

  5. AllenS says:

    I believe that Martha Stewart was sent to prison for far less than what Rangel did.

  6. joe buzz says:

    So, he gets to keep his job, salary and retirement but doesnt have to do anything?
    Nice gig.

  7. bandit says:

    79 votes <i> against </i>!