Update: Panel recommends censure and payment of back taxes. Sanction less harsh than expulsion: Rangel will have to stand before his peers as the Speaker of the House reads him the riot act. Bonner has already done that – for a preview of Rangel’s reaction, see below:
Charlie Rangel’s only show of any expression during a brutal reading of his failures by Bonner, was to fervently nod with agreement during the brief time that Bonner devoted to Rangel’s voters’ right to know before the election that Rangel would be convicted of all but one of the ethical charges against him.
One can almost read Rangel’s readiness to place the blame on the Ethics Committee for failing to conclude the hearing prior to the election. Rangel has been quick to deflect blame away from his own actions. It appears that the Ethics Committee is not buying into it though it remains to be seen what the sanctions will be, if any, for Rangel’s grievous violations.
Before a meeting of the Ethics Committee, who will decide in closed session on sanctions for Representative Rangel, Representative Jo Bonner (R-Alabama) Ethics Committee Ranking Member, took the microphone to bitterly lampoon Rangel, condemning him for violating the honor of the House.
Charles Rangel has been found guilty on eleven counts of violating ethics rules. Once the full ethics committee recommends sanctions, the sanctions will then be voted on by the full House. This vote may signal the first impact of a house now controlled by Republicans with many representative sent there by a voting public not inclined to go easy on leaders who prove unworthy of the office.
Representive Charles Rangel (D-NY) was first elected in 1970 and in spite of looming ethical violation charges, was recently reelected for his 21st term in the midterm elections. Rangel, a Korean War Veteran, has served has the Ways and Means Committee Chairman, a very powerful position, since 2007.
Following is an excerpt transcribed from the C-Span 3 video of Bonner’s statement.
Now I don’t pretend to speak for Mr. Rangel’s constituents; they have reelected him, often without opposition – more times than many of the members of Congress have actually been alive.
Sadly, Madame Chair, it is my unwavering view that the actions, decisions and behavior of our colleague from New York can no longer reflect either honor or integrity.
As I noted earlier, I can’t speak for the people in Mr. Rangel’s district, but, I do know this:
- For the tenants that qualified for the rent stabilized apartment in New York or any American city, but couldn’t get one because a powerful man had four – there’s something wrong with that.
- For the small business woman who didn’t pay her taxes for seventeen years, and had the IRS breathing down her back, I can only imagine how she would have liked to have had the chance to help write the tax code of this country and make it less burdensome and simpler for everyone else.
- And for the still relatively new member of Congress, from California, who just a couple of years ago questioned whether or not it was appropriate to be building a monument to me, I will never forget the arrogance of the response. I was on the floor that day. ” I would have a problem if you did it,” Mr. Rangel said to Campbell on the House Floor on July 19, 2007, because I don’t think you’ve been around long enough to have your name on something to inspire a building like this.”
Would the results of the Ethics Committees findings have made a difference to the voters of Rangel’s district? Many think the members of that District deserve better.