Charles Rangel to Insist He's Not That Bad
I am not a crook, Rep. Charles Rangel of Harlem hopes to tell the House of Representatives in "a last stand to salvage his reputation." Rangel plans to ask the ethics committee for time on the floor in order to explain that his 11 counts of financial and fundraising "misdeeds" are not as bad as his punishment makes it seem. The committee voted that Rangel be censured (one step below expulsion) though the 80-year-old insists that should be reserved for "bribery, accepting improper gifts, personal use of campaign funds and sexual misconduct." All he wants is a chance to explain. And that's when he can whip up the waterworks. Who can resist a crying octogenarian?
From the Associated Press via the New York Post:
The ethics committee, in explaining its recommendation, agreed in a report that the discipline usually is reserved for lawmakers who enrich themselves. In Rangel's case, the committee said, its decision was based on "the cumulative nature of the violations and not any direct personal financial gain."
Rangel wants a "reprimand" instead of a censure. What's the difference?
A censure goes beyond the vote and requires the disciplined member to appear at the front of the chamber -- called the "well" -- and receive an oral rebuke from the speaker that includes a reading of the resolution.
A reprimand is simply a vote of disapproval. It can be a separate resolution or a vote to adopt the ethics committee's findings. The punished lawmaker is not required to stand in the well.
In other words, politicians are big babies with bigger egos. Oh, and they get away with everything.