House members are scheduled to vote on Thursday on whether or no Congressman Charlie Rangel, New York Democrat, will be censured. Mr. Rangel, former chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, who was found guilty by the House ethics committee of 11 violations, should be censured.
National Public Radio reports:
The panel voted to recommend to the House that Rangel be censured, which means a public shaming on the House floor. But the House hasn’t censured anyone since 1983. Even reprimands, the next harshest punishment, have become few and far between.
It’s a process members detest, which is why many have wished Rangel would resign, getting them off the hook for having to judge their colleague.
“So there you are, and you’re judging your colleague’s conduct, and the whole world is watching,” said former Rep. Dan Glickman (D-KS). “And it’s a very personal, wrenching experience. You wish you were someplace else.”
But former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) says he saw the cases through the eyes of a prosecutor, which he has also been. “It’s a necessary part, a very essential part, of maintaining to the greatest degree we can, the credibility of the House and the confidence that the American people need to have in it,” Barr said.
If the House votes to censure Congressman Rangel, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, will have to engage in the difficult task of reading aloud Rep. Rangel’s violations in the House chamber as Mr. Rangel stands in the House well:
If a majority of the House votes to censure Rangel, he will have to stand in the well, the open area at the front of the chamber, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi reads an account of his wrongdoings, which include omissions from his financial disclosures, failure to pay tax on some income, and abuse of the New York City rent-stabilization laws. Rangel also hit up businesses for charity contributions when they had interests pending at the Ways and Means Committee.