Rep. Rangel to be Reprimanded
by Charles Lemos, Fri Jul 30, 2010 at 04:17:11 PM EDT
The ethics subcommittee panel investigating 13 charges of impropriety against Rep. Charles Rangel is recommending that he be reprimanded. Rep. Rangel still faces a September trial by an eight-member panel in September. The panel has the power to dismiss any of the allegations against him or to censure the veteran lawmaker who has represented his Harlem district for 40 years. The panel can also recommend expulsion.
A reprimand is less serious than a censure, which requires not only a vote but forces a member to appear at the front of the chamber while the speaker or another designated member reads the censure resolution.
More from The Hill:
Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), chairman of the ethics investigative subcommittee that announced the charges, told reporters Friday that his panel concluded Rangel should be reprimanded.
"The recommendation that we had was that he be reprimanded," Green said.
Such a punishment might be seen as a slap on the wrist to some. The subpanel could have recommended that Rangel be censured, or that he be expelled from the House. There was no recommendation for punishment listed in the lengthy report issued by Green's panel on Thursday.
Politico also offers some background as to why this scandal is not likely to cause the Democrats any lasting damage.
First, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other party leaders advising Democrats to stay calm – lawmakers say the dearth of calls for Rangel’s head reflects a mix of respect for both him personally and the institution. They see a veteran member of Congress, a war hero who has served the nation and Harlem in Washington, and don’t want to “jump on his bones,” as one Democrat put it.
“The process will work,” Pelosi said. “It’s bipartisan; the chips will have to fall where they may politically, but upholding the highest ethical standard is the highest priority for us.”
Second, Democrats believe the Rangel scandal isn't really hurting them all that badly back in their home districts. Some House Democrats think the media is overplaying the possible national implications of the case.
"I am not aware of anyone who is going to lose their election over this," said one senior Democrat. "Until it becomes a problem for other members, they will stick with Charlie."
And finally, in spite of the sordid nature of some of the Rangel allegations, the "Statement of Alleged Violations" released by a four-member investigative subcommittee on Thursday, didn't contain any new blockbusters. Members have been hearing about Rangel's ethics problems for two years, so the actual list of ethics charges had less impact because there were no surprises.
"This is a sad, individual tragedy," said one junior Democrat in a swing district. "But despite what the media is saying, this is not playing nationally, and there's no sign it will."