The House voted 333-79 on Thursday to censure Representative Charlie Rangel for ethics violations, despite his desperate plea for a lessened punishment: “I brought it on myself, and I still believe that this body has to be guided by fairness, but nobody has ever suffered the humiliation of a censure when the record is abundantly clear [that there is] no evidence at all of corruption,” he begged, to no avail. Politico reports that Rangel “now finds his 40-year career tarnished” after Pelosi censured him, a public spanking in the form of an oral rebuke, the harshest form of punishment short of expulsion from Congress. Yep, the lady made him stand there and just take it. It sounds like it was almost barbaric:
“Pelosi called on the eighty-year-old to stand in the well of the House to be informed that he had been censured by his colleagues. Rangel stood, feet shoulder-width apart with one hand clasped over the other in front of his waist. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and New York delegations crowded into the first two rows behind him.”
Oh, no! What did they do? Did they stone him? Er, no: “The ordeal was over in about 45 seconds, bringing a surprisingly anti-climatic end to a long battle that cost Rangel $2 million in legal fees,” Politico reports. Here’s what went down:
“‘By its adoption of House Resolution 1737, the House has resolved that Rep. Charles B. Rangel be censured by the public reading of this resolution by the speaker, and that Rep. Rangel pay restitution to the appropriate taxing authorities for any unpaid taxes,’ Pelosi intoned. For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the ritual, that’s basically the end of the process for Rangel, who will return as a member of Congress in the next session.”
Oh, okay. Back to work then.
Check out this rather charming video below, in which Rangel keeps things in perspective by explaining that in no way was that worse than the time in Korea when he thought he was actually going to die:
House censures Charles Rangel by overwhelming vote [Politico]
House censures Rangel [CNN]