The House ethics committee’s chief counsel recommended Thursday that veteran Rep. Charles Rangel be censured for financial and fundraising misconduct as lawmakers neared closure on an embarrassing 2½-year-long scandal.
Chief counsel Blake Chisam called for the punishment despite the veteran New York congressman’s plea, in a prepared statement in advance of the hearing, for “a drop of fairness and mercy.”
If Chisam’s recommendation is carried out, it would be the most serious punishment short of expulsion that could be meted out by the House. Chisam and Rangel argued their positions at a public hearing on sanctions, where the 80-year-old congressman acknowledged making mistakes in handling his finances and said he wasn’t there to “retry this case.”
He did say he wished the committee would weigh, in considering its vote on punishment, how the House had handled previous cases involving lawmakers who were enriched by activities they undertook that were judged to be in violation of the chamber’s rules.
Rangel on Tuesday was found guilty of 11 of the 13 charges of ethics violations against him by a panel of four Democrats and four Republicans.