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Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 12/ 5/2010

Charlie Rangel: Censure was 'embarrassing and painful experience'

By Felicia Sonmez

In his first national television interview since being censured by the House last week, New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel acknowledged that he made some missteps throughout his 40-year career in Congress but maintained that he did not deserve the punishment meted out to him by his peers.

The former House Ways and Means Committee chairman, who was found guilty of violating 11 congressional ethics rules related to his personal finances and fundraising for a New York academic center that bears his name, told CNN's Candy Crowley that he may have been "sloppy" in his bookkeeping and "overzealous in trying to raise money to try to get kids an education," adding that he "relied too heavily" on his chief of staff and accountant. But he reiterated that he was not guilty of corruption.

"I broke the laws, serious rules that are set up by the House to protect members and to protect the House," Rangel said. "But the whole idea of corruption has been just laid to rest, the question of self-enrichment."

Rangel on Thursday became only the 23rd sitting member of congress in the body's history to have been censured by his peers. The punishment is the most severe the House can dole out short of expelling a member. But while many of those to have been censured before Rangel often resigned their seats or otherwise showed remorse, Rangel has remained defiant.

He called Thursday's censure vote an "embarrassing and painful experience" and renewed his argument that the vote was dictated by political pressures, "especially at a time when the reputation of the Congress is at an all-time low."

"If you do anything to look like you're going easy on anybody in Washington, I can understand that feeling back home," Rangel said. "But I can tell you that, individually, whether it's Republicans or Democrats, they knew that what I had done did not reach the level of a censure."

Asked whether there might have been racial undercurrents involved in the censure vote, Rangel demurred. "That's the last thing in the world that I would want to discuss because God has been very good to me," he said.

Rangel last month won election to a 21st term, winning 80 percent of the vote in his heavily-Democratic district.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 5, 2010; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

'embarrassing and painful experience'
Wow. What's he gonna say after the castration?

Posted by: FireWashington | December 6, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Rangle admits he broke the rules, many of which are also felonies, and feels that to tell him in public that he broke the public trust placed in him as a congressman, is too harsh? Since when is tax evasion not "self-enrichment" or receiving special privileges in exchange for the good will of a congressman not corruption?

Posted by: plysle | December 6, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I still can't make any sense out of the Rangle defense that he did not gain financially by his actions. What does not paying your taxes mean? Is that not financial gain? This guy must think people are really stupid or he's so out of it he doesn't have a connection to reality.

Posted by: inewsmaster | December 6, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

What Crock. Censure does little but embarrass the crook. He continues in office, instead of impeachment, we, the people, will pay him a rich retirement, and he will join the speaking circuit. Censure did nothing for justice. The guy is a thief and liar. Why is he not in jail, at a minimum for defrauding the public?? The Capital continues its course as a circus of clowns and we the people enjoy the entertainment and encourage it by re-electing and enriching the clowns. We've done "it" to ourselves.

Posted by: Sakievich | December 6, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The poor man is delusional

Posted by: lltroy | December 6, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Poor Baby he should be in jail.

Posted by: pryxp1 | December 6, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Felicia, are you serious about this article?. Carlos Rangel is a crook, he has been in congress tooooo long, and you liberals just don't get it. He has abuse power by not paying taxes and getting rent control for 30 years where that apartment could have been used by a real poor person and not him.

Posted by: jhartnack | December 5, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

What a joke. Amerika is the official clown capital of the world now.

Posted by: politbureau | December 5, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

It has been more painful for the US American people to see that a governance that holds itself above the law is not equal, nor from us.
Our US constitution defenders are off with their noses up Asztcrackistan, instead of removing in cuffs all usurpers of the US Constitution , (who either have or ever had hidden history as Federal public officials).
Rangel has been an act of treason to the US Constitution, along with those who do nothing but allow thieves of the people's wallet to elevate themselves over justice.

If the law is good enough for one in the USA....it is good enough for all.

Term limits and an end to all elected official's retirement plans now!!!!!

Posted by: dottydo | December 5, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah looking at Pelosi that long can be pain full. Big whoop I still have a job my pension and health care so HA HA how about you fooled you again.

Posted by: freedon | December 5, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

If it is any consolation Katie Couric, CBS News Anchor, found it painful as well.

Wah, Wah, this happened when Rostenkowski went to jail.

Rewarding bad behavior is getting more prevalent. Why did they let Rangel keep his seat?

Posted by: thelaw1 | December 5, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The most important person in the country about taxes (the Constitution requires all tax bills to originate in the House) cheats on his taxes. In many countries that would be capitol offense, not a slap on the wrist.

Posted by: Delongl | December 5, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Rangel my Brother you are a disgrace ! You stabbed Adam Clayton Powell in the back in 1970 to get his seat when he faced allegations similar to the ones that you have been censured for. You have pimped out the people of Harlem and the United States since then. Rangel should have retired at least 10 years ago but he was so drunk with power, he couldn't let it go. One thing for sure, come 2012 he'll be permanently retired from Congress, by none other than Adam Clayton Powell III !

Posted by: ellislawoffice | December 5, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Rangel to his supporters:

"I've been officially 'humbled' by my mistakes. I'm sorry......(wink, wink). Keep those donations rollin' in, please. I'm gonna run for re-election soon."

Posted by: momof20yo | December 5, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Cry me a river, Charlie. You got off with a slap on the wrist, because members of Congress don't have to live by the rules that they make for the rest of us. I, for one, would gladly petition my congressman to withdraw your "painful" censure on condition that you be indicted and prosecuted for your conduct.

Posted by: AdrianMole | December 5, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

i feel ur pain u embarsing POC politician.love congress? why not,only place to be to make $$$$$$$ without working. any feedback as to what the IRS is going to do with this tax evader?

Posted by: pofinpa | December 5, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Did they send him home is shame or put him in jail like they would us?

He can make a million a day by letting his vote and influence be bought.

Another congress giveaway to a crook...

Posted by: billisnice | December 5, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

What are the actual consequences of a censure verses a reprimand? That is one thing I have not learned in any article pertaining to this case.

Posted by: elderbe | December 5, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse


Pay your back taxes with penalties and interest, just like Joe Blow, then maybe I will pay attention to your alligator tears.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 5, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

HEY CHARLIE, MUST BE TOUGH TO GET CAUGHT WITH YOUR PANTS DOWN. YOU DISGRACED OUR COUNTRY TO THE EXTENT YOU HAVE TERRIORIZED US. OUR CHILDREN ASK ABOUT YOU AND WONDER HOW YOU COULD BE SO WEALTHY WHILE THEY HAVE LITTLE TO LOOK FORWARD TO FOR CHRISTMAS. YOU DID NOT SERVE HONORABLY. YOU
ARE A CRIMINAL.

Posted by: sarahannson | December 5, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

HEY CHARLIE, MUST BE TOUGH TO GET CAUGHT WITH YOUR PANTS DOWN. YOU DISGRACED OUR COUNTRY TO THE EXTENT YOU HAVE TERRIORIZED US. OUR CHILDREN ASK ABOUT YOU AND WONDER HOW YOU COULD BE SO WEALTHY WHILE THEY HAVE LITTLE TO LOOK FORWARD TO FOR CHRISTMAS. YOU DID NOT SERVE HONORABLY. YOU
ARE A CRIMINAL.

Posted by: sarahannson | December 5, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

HEY CHARLIE, MUST BE TOUGH TO GET CAUGHT WITH YOUR PANTS DOWN. YOU DISGRACED OUR COUNTRY TO THE EXTENT YOU HAVE TERRIORIZED US. OUR CHILDREN ASK ABOUT YOU AND WONDER HOW YOU COULD BE SO WEALTHY WHILE THEY HAVE LITTLE TO LOOK FORWARD TO FOR CHRISTMAS. YOU DID NOT SERVE HONORABLY. YOU
ARE A CRIMINAL.

Posted by: sarahannson | December 5, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey Charlie... Paying one's taxes is also a "painful experience". You might want to test it out some day.

If I'd done what you've been doing for decades, I'd be behind bars. Not THAT is a painful and embarrassing experience!

Posted by: r_loveland | December 5, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey Charlie... Paying one's taxes is also a "painful experience". You might want to test it out some day.

If I'd done what you've been doing for decades, I'd be behind bars. Not THAT is a painful and embarrassing experience!

Posted by: r_loveland | December 5, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I read elsewhere in the Post that Rangle said he sill loves congress. Why shouldn't he? Congressmen work only 2 1/2 days a week, they are in recess almost 50% of the legislative year which allows them time to raise funds for reelection, they have 20 - 30 staff members in their Washington office to do their work for them, plus staff in their district offices, they have a rookie salary of $174,000 which is more than 90% of household salaries, they have good job security since about 90% of incumbents are re-elected (maybe not in this past election), they get earmarks to the tune of millions of dollars for their home district which amounts to a bribe to get voters to vote for them, they take the whole month of August off to run for re-election or to go on government paid junkets, and many more other perks like free parking in reserved lots close to the terminals of Washington airports, free meals in government restraurants if they are "hosting" constituents. Yeah, I'd love congress, too. Who wouldn't?

Posted by: Paaa | December 5, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Why should the rest of us pat taxes and follow the rules if Congressmen do not have to? He should be in jail and not the slap on the wrist. How stupid are his constituents?

Posted by: astro2009 | December 5, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

booh hoo, Rangel. Painful experience? Ha! Ask Wesley Snipes about "painful experience". He did the same crime as you did, you whiney slimeball.

Posted by: DeanDR | December 5, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

why is the post giving this "jerk" airtime?

Posted by: jimsr121 | December 5, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, being told you're a bad boy is so painful.
This dirt bag should be expelled from congress and sent to a federal prison for a few years.

Posted by: GEarlMoore | December 5, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

It would have been a lot more painful for Rangel if he had suffered any sort of real consequences for his actions - like losing the four rent-stabilized apartments he's stolen from his constituents.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 5, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the repetitions. WAPA system was sloooowwwwwww.

Posted by: mftill | December 5, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"In his first interview......" but, we can be sure it isn't his last. This man simply pushed too hard and too long; even his fellow Democrats were willing to vote him his just desserts!! And as has been reported, his supporters took names and numbers! That is the Rangle form of an apology :revenge. He will beat this drum for two more years, and then finally bow out with his jaunty smile and all his perks to cuddle. However, he will forever be known as being censored OVERWHELMINGLY!! that is his legacy now. and his feeble excuses merely confirm it.

Posted by: vltg | December 5, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"In his first interview......" but, we can be sure it isn't his last. This man simply pushed too hard and too long; even his fellow Democrats were willing to vote him his just desserts!! And as has been reported, his supporters took names and numbers! That is the Rangle form of an apology :revenge. He will beat this drum for two more years, and then finally bow out with his jaunty smile and all his perks to cuddle. However, he will forever be known as being censored OVERWHELMINGLY!! that is his legacy now. and his feeble excuses merely confirm it.

Posted by: vltg | December 5, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

WHY WHY WHY is the POST giving this cheating tax crook (Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, for Chrissake!) a
platform? WHY???

How nauseating. Is ALL of DC totally corrupt? Even "journalists"?

Posted by: mftill | December 5, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

WHY WHY WHY is the POST giving this cheating tax crook (Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, for Chrissake!) a
platform? WHY???

How nauseating. Is ALL of DC totally corrupt? Even "journalists"?

Posted by: mftill | December 5, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

WHY WHY WHY is the POST giving this cheating tax crook (Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, for Chrissake!) a
platform? WHY???

How nauseating. Is ALL of DC totally corrupt? Even "journalists"?

Posted by: mftill | December 5, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"In his first interview......" but, we can be sure it isn't his last. This man simply pushed too hard and too long; even his fellow Democrats were willing to vote him his just desserts!! And as has been reported, his supporters took names and numbers! That is the Rangle form of an apology :revenge. He will beat this drum until for two more years, and then finally bow out with his jaunty smile and all his perks to cuddle. However, he will forever be known as being censord OVERWHELMINGLY!! that is his legacy now. and his feeble excuses merely confirm it.

Posted by: vltg | December 5, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The whole process couldn't have been that painful. Within seconds of being read the censure resolution, Rangel was on the House floor defiant as ever. This whole idea that he inadvertently engaged in minor violations that did not personally enrich himself is hogwash. The man took out four rent-controlled apartments, knowing that one is the limit of the law, and that he probably didn't even qualify for that. He didn't pay taxes on his rental property, even though Rangel was in charge of writing the tax code.

After all of this, Rangel had the nerve in response to a question about the anger that Rangel would be subject to criminal prosecution and jail were he an average American to equivocate and question what an "average" American is, saying that he didn't care about this whole notion of average Americans. Umm,Mr. Rangel, average folks are all of us not in Congress. The point is that Rangel got out of serious criminal proceedings against himself by being a member of Congress, and this is the true embarrassment.

Rangel is still up to his game, blaming the political climate in Congress, blaming voters (but not his own, who keep electing him overwhelmingly despite his corruption), and blaming anyone and everything but himself, so plainly the censure didn't sting him that much.

Posted by: blert | December 5, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Rangel is a stone cold crook, and a pathological liar. But then, what democrat isn't?

Posted by: wewintheylose | December 5, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

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