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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 11/16/2010

Censure Charlie Rangel

By Jonathan Capehart

Now that a jury of his congressional peers has found him guilty of 11 out of 13 counts of violating House ethics rule, Rep. Charlie Rangel's storied biography is branded with an asterisk. This is not how the 20-term Harlem congressman envisioned his career path going. The full House ethics committee gets to decide how to punish him.

But the more I think about it, the judgment that probably matters most to Rangel is not that of the ethics committee itself but that of R. Blake Chisam. He's the staff director of the committee who also served as Rangel's prosecutor. And yesterday, in response to a question about whether he thought Rangel was corrupt, Chisam replied, "I see no evidence of corruption." Sources told me a while back that being branded corrupt was what galled Rangel.

There is a wide range of punishments for the full ethics committee to choose from. Given what Chisam said yesterday, expulsion is off the table. How would they ever justify it? A reprimand or censure is my guess. Because Rangel was the chairman of the House ways and means committee, a position that demands the highest of ethical standards, which he flouted without care or concern, he deserves censure. Rangel was given a public trust. He should be held accountable for violating it.

By Jonathan Capehart  | November 16, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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rangel should be kicked out and pelosi reprimanded for protecting this thief..not only did the liberals and democrats have their 'obamas' kicked on November 2...but now the democrats will have them gift wrapped with cheese wrappers....hahahahahaha!

hey liberals...hows that pelosi change working for ya.

Posted by: JWx2 | November 16, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

rangel needs to be expelled to the dominican republic to dry out on the beach like a stranded beached whale.

Posted by: JWx2 | November 16, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"Definition of CORRUPTION
1a : impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle."

I guess if you had no integrity, virtue, or moral principle, they could not be impaired. Leave it to liberals to create their own meanings to words.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | November 16, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The President and Speaker of the House should step up and ask for Senator Rangel resignation. No ifs and buts about it.....he was found guilty while holding a public office. BEING REPRIMANDED OR CENSURED SHOULD NOT BE AN OPTION.

Posted by: cmse | November 16, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan...Could I ask you a question. Suppose a Republican Congressman had done what Charlie Rangel had done..the cash, the non-payment of know all of that. Would you demand his resignation?

Posted by: wjc1va | November 16, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

It's going to be difficult for the Obama or Pelosi to ask for Senator Rangel's resignation since there is no Senator Rangel.

Rep. Rangel should be censured and reprimanded.

Posted by: | November 16, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse


Now, now. Don't be technical with Jonathan. He is just following the liberal talking points. After all, why do you think that the House Ethics Committee finally conducted Rangel's hearing right now, after Charlie spent three years and $2M in legal fees (mostly from his PAC, which itself is an ethics violation) delaying it? They needed to tidy up this little bit of Democratic unpleasantness before the Republicans take control of the House in January.

You can rest assured that if the Democrats had not lost control of the House two weeks ago then this matter would have been buried in "the most ethical Congress in history."

Posted by: hisroc | November 16, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I guess it all depends how you define corruption. Rangel uses four rent-controlled apartments, a violation of the housing rules that would never be countenanced if he were not a member of the House of Representatives. He failed to report and pay taxes on rental income. He failed to disclose assets on Congressional disclosure forms. To some of us, that's pretty darned corrupt. To Mr. Chisam, apparently not. Maybe he's hung around the House too long.

Posted by: Rob_ | November 16, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Rangel is not sloppy or inattentive. Let's define corrupt in public service as breaking the rules in order to put the elected member's interests ahead of those of the public the elected member was elected to serve.

Rangel is corrupt.

I believe that most of us get that.

It is a shame that after two years of reviewing the charges, the one day of deliberation was done behind closed doors, and the presentation of the evidence was not on CSPAN as planned.

Posted by: Benson | November 16, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jono, whatever happened to draining the swamp, a la Nanny "Stretch" Pelosi?

Posted by: kbarker302 | November 16, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Rangel the thief needs to resign this was open and arrogant thievery.

Posted by: screwjob22 | November 16, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Senator Rangel is one of the most decent and honorable public servants this country has ever had. The prosecutor himself said that "he sees no evidence of corruption". Republicans live by demonizing other people. Rangel does not deserve to be domonized, he has served twenty terms with dignity and honor.

Posted by: bartedson | November 16, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

That Rangel will suffer nothing but a piece of paper in his file speaks volumes about the corruption of Congress as a whole.

Posted by: JoeOvercoat | November 16, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Say what you will folks, but the people of Harlem have spoken at the polls. You can kick Charlie out today. He will take a nice vacation in the Dominican Republic and return in January to be sworn in as a member of the 112th Congress. The chairmanship is gone anyway. No great loss for Charlie either way. You gotta love America!

Posted by: friday3 | November 16, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Dont forget this great public servant and friend of the little guy had for rent controlled apartments. That means three truly needy and deserving families could not get those places due to rangel's greed and sense of entitlement. He should resign and then be prosecuted in the courts. Its called felony theft,plane and simple.

Posted by: j751 | November 16, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Could be worse...he could have been found wearing diapers while visiting prostitutes and using government money to pay for them, right Senator Vitter? Oh right, he's in the GOP and they NEVER get kicked out unless they are going after little boys.

Posted by: B-rod | November 16, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Could Mr. Chisam please tell us what "corrupt" means down there in DC? Up here in New York, we speak English, and the word apparently means something different.

Posted by: Itzajob | November 16, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

None of you ever sent a letter on your employer's stationery? Never stretched the rules on what you owe Uncle Sam? Really????????

Based on the salary for the US House of Reps and their ages, I'm not sure the Rangels didn't qualify for rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments. Not four, but probably one.

Should he be held to a higher standard than the rest of us mortals? Yes.
Should he be held to a higher standard than John Ensign and David Vitter? Apparently you think so.

Posted by: Victoria27 | November 16, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

This is no big deal, he didn’t have $80K in a refrigerator, or enrich himself in any other big way other than cheating on his taxes and a few other indiscretions that amount to minor sums when looking at the great scheme of the Government, and, quite frankly, everyone is going to need to cheat on their taxes soon, and commit other indiscretions, in order to survive, so this is not any big deal either. He is just setting an example for all. All the rest is just legalistic technicalities that shouldn’t be applied to our Congressmen, being that they are usually held to be above the law, he got re-elected and that tell you all you need to know about him (and his district) so get over it.

Posted by: droberts57 | November 16, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Rangle, should be thrown out on his a&&.

Posted by: Defund_NPR | November 16, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The house leadership last time around appears to have been picked on the basis of seniority which appears to mean those who had safe districts. I hope the 112th leadership turns out to be better able to recognize the business of the whole house and that they have the grace to resign their leadership positions should they be guilty of violations.

Posted by: almorganiv | November 16, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I actually have a little sympathy for Charlie. I assume most members of Congress are crooks and liars. They can't get elected without lying, and after a couple of years in D.C., they start fudging here and there. The longer in D.C., the more detached from ethical and honest behavior they become. Thus, we have Charlie.

This story is over now. Arguing and speculating about what punishment will befall ol' Charlie is a waste of time. He'll get some kind of hand slap, and then he'll decide he must serve 5 more terms to regain his good name (if he doesn't become subject to another ethics investigation due to spending PAC money on his lawyers).

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | November 16, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Republicans they are all corrupt.

Posted by: walker1 | November 16, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

For those of you that think rent control is the big issue here, ask Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.; Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; and John Ensign, R-Nev., as well as Reps. Mike Doyle, D-Pa.; Heath Shuler, D-N.C.; Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; and Zach Wamp, R-Tenn how they got past an Ethics Committee hearing on the C Street rent which is one-quarter to 0ne-third of market.

If you're worried about the Rangel Center at CCNY, ask Mitch McConnell about the public policy center his name is on at Louisville, which both swarfs Rangel's connection financially and in total opacity.

If minowr tax irregularities get your goat, try about half of both houses of Congress.

Posted by: aprilglaspie | November 16, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Maybe not corrupt but definitely a corner cutter and perkulator.

Posted by: snake_taylor | November 16, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Expulsion is too good for this miscreant.

The IRS and the FBI should be next on his dance card.

On the other hand, let him stay. It will only add fuel to the fire of 2012.

Hard to believe that these idiots can't read the tea leaves of 2010 and see that the American people are just flat tired of this kind of nonsense. No matter what side of the aisle it comes from.

Posted by: jrealty | November 16, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: thebump | November 16, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

What is not being discussed is what Rangel himself should do now. He should do what anyone who has any real personal sense of honour should do. He should retire from public life. He has fallen short of what should be expected from public servants and he should be big enough to admit it and retire to personal life. This is what Nixon did, this is what Clinton should have done, and it is what every public servant should do who stumbles.

Posted by: kpfp | November 16, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Because Rangel was the chairman of the House ways and means committee, a position that demands the highest of ethical standards, which he flouted without care or concern,...


By your own words you say he is corrupt. Another Obamaite Dem in denial.

Posted by: delusional1 | November 16, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

So when will we see the criminal charges against him? Or will he be protect by Eric Holder?

Posted by: richard36 | November 16, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Capehart proves his own black bigotry by turning a blind eye to Rangels sleazy corruption and pverty pimp racism.

Posted by: carlbatey | November 16, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

A reprimand? Like, "Don't do it again Charlie!" What about the IRS? I would say he may not be corrupt, but he certainly is criminal. I hope the IRS thinks so. It's easy to vote to raise taxes when you are hiding your own.

Posted by: bobilly1 | November 16, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

The comments here are amazing. Conservatives spend so much time justifying the crimes of their own, but sure jump on the opportunity to denounce a Democratic representative. What Representative Rangel did was inexcusable and wrong and frankly I wouldn't vote for a corrupt politician.

But you conservative had better sweep your own doorsteps clean before you worry about someone else's (Senators Vitter and Ensign come to mind).

Posted by: MNUSA | November 16, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

You've got to be kidding Capehart - just how many rules do you have to violate, or how much in taxes do you need to evade before being expelled from Congress? If Charlie had any honor at all, he'd resign. In the absence of a resignation, he should be expelled - and the first people that should be lining up to expel him should be those Democrats who want to fight the old "culture of corruption". It isn't like there won't be another Democrat coming from his district, and having Rangle there as the poster-boy for Democratic ethics in 2012 will be another disaster for the Dems.

Posted by: dhbarr | November 16, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Rangel never envisioned his career ending this way.

He expected to continue in his corrupt habits with his corruption hidden by Pelosi and the rest of the House of Representatives because we all know one hand washes the other.

Posted by: krankyman | November 16, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Get real. Rangel's career will not end. He is as corrupt as the day is long. If I did not pay taxes I would be in jail. For Rangel and other politicians this is business as usual.

Posted by: txengr | November 16, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

How many definitions for "corrupt" are there? It is clear that that for the US Congress is different from that used for other Americans.

From our side of the road, Rangel is CORRUPT

He should be sacked

Posted by: scv3456 | November 16, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Old Charlie should get kicked out of Congress along with old Maxine. The problem is half the people judging them are just as corrupt. They were just too clever to get caught.

At age 80, old Charlie should be put out to pasture. His district is so safe, he could get away with murder and still get re-elected.

Posted by: alance | November 16, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps our society is making a bit of progress. A man, with brown colored skin, who often used that color as a "race card" on his climb to power and a high position of public trust. He violated that trust in a criminal fashion. He has been tried and convicted by a jury of his peers. As the results are announced, there is a refreshing lack of "race card" screeching. Now it remains for his constituents in Harlem to get past that "race card". Rangel just didn't cheat "the man", he cheated all men, of all colors.

Posted by: observer1776 | November 16, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

It can be said that Charlies "Integrity" has been corrupted and if that has been corrupted, Charlie is CORRUPT.

Any way you slice it, Charlie is a "Crooked" lawyer. Has nothing to do with "poor record keeping." It has everything to do with Integrity and Honesty.

Posted by: doughboy96 | November 16, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

The court of public opinion will be the judge of Rangel.

The judgment will be "corrupt".

Sorry, but Rangel doesn't get his own set of rules. He should play by the same rules as everyone else when it comes to rent-controlled properties, paying taxes, and using public resources in support of pet charities who name facilities after you.

Posted by: Benson | November 16, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

"Some gotta win, some gotta lose. Goodtime Charlie's got the blues."

Posted by: drowningpuppies | November 16, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

This is a scam.

Rangel walked out so the evidence wouldn't be presented to the public. The Ethics Committee obliged and 'convicted' him behind closed doors. Now he'll get 'reprimanded' or 'censured' -- both meaningless punishments.

Then Rangel can go straight back to stealing.

The Ethics Committee is not interested in ehtics. This is a show trial with a predetermined outcome.

This kind of sleazy 'special rules for special people' stuff is straight out of Animal Farm. Rangel is one of the pigs and he's going straight back to the trough.

Enough. These scumbags in Washington have gone too far.

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | November 16, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Just one point. David Vitter. What about him? He broke the law as well. I dont hear any repubs demanding transparency on that one. How about his punishment? Well????? Family values man in the flesh trade, with added perversions. I think Repubs know what needs to be done with Vitter, but they have no character, no values, no integrity. The democrats at least make an attempt to clean house . Repubs avoid dealing with their problems at all costs to the country.

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | November 17, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Yawn. This is almost as big a deal as earmarks, the next big fat nothing people just won't shut up about.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | November 17, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Remember Cardillo

Posted by: X502mids | November 17, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

"censure" BS. He DID NOT pay his taxes. Why does he get a free pass. No doubt he is involved in criminal activities. Please, Jonathan Capehart, tell me why he is not being indicted? Am I wrong. Does the law allow congressmen to do these things?

Posted by: txengr | November 17, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Rangel = Resign

Pelosi = censure for lack of leadership and oversight

FBI = arrest Rangel

Jail Time Baby!

Posted by: fngVP | November 18, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

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