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Posted at 5:38 PM ET, 11/18/2010

Charlie Rangel apologizes

By Jonathan Capehart

[Update, 6 p.m.: The ethics committee recommends censure for Rangel.]

Wednesday, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) was convicted of 11 ethics violations by a jury of his congressional peers. Thursday, the legendary Harlem lawmaker did something extraordinary. He apologized. Not one of those "if anyone was offended" dodges. We're talking a full-on, fall-on-the-sword mea culpa. Take a look.

Today I stood before the Ethics Committee to apologize for the embarrassment I have brought upon this body that I love dearly, and to the members of Congress, and to my family and constituents.

There has never been any corruption or personal gain in my actions, as the committee's chief counsel noted. Neither has there been any intent on my part to violate the House rules. My actions may have been sloppy, or even stupid, but never corrupt.

There is no excuse for my acts of omission and failures to abide by the rules of Congress. I have made many mistakes that I will forever regret, and I apologize for them.

This has been one of the most difficult days of my life. All of this has been brought upon me as a result of my own actions. In the end, I hope that you would judge me on my entire record as a soldier and a dedicated public servant -- not by my mistakes.

To my beloved colleagues, my constituents and the American people, I am sorry.

As I wrote Wednesday -- and Rangel acknowledged in his apology -- that the judgment most important to him was that of chief counsel R. Blake Chisam. But if he hadn't been sloppy, if he hadn't succumbed to the arrogance of power, Rangel would not be the sad figure on display this week.

By Jonathan Capehart  | November 18, 2010; 5:38 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

He has now been censured and cried his crocodile tears. Move on, everything is back to normal.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | November 18, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

B.S.

Posted by: alaskachic93 | November 19, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Bull.

Posted by: alaskachic93 | November 19, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Bull.

Posted by: alaskachic93 | November 19, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Hi, New Yorker here; why's he sorry if he had no intent? Oh yea, and he doesn't know how much longer he's gonna live. I know where he'll be living: the Dominican Republic where he doesn't pay taxes on his property. Absolute joke...he belongs with the rest of them in congress.

Posted by: sellingpencils | November 19, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

The real question is, why would a grown "man" go around calling himself EJ?

Posted by: ej_smug | November 19, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

The most common comment seems to say it all, BULL.

I almost never believe a politician is sorry. Sorry he got caught, yes, but not sorry for what he did. And this is regardless of what is said or how sincere the apology appears to be. Politicians are the epitome of the old saw about the secret of success is the ability to fake sincerity.

Mr. Rangel, if you were really sorry why did you spend months in denial? Why did you spend $2M in campaign contributions on attorney fees to defend yourself? For $50K you could have gotten an attorney to tell you what the rules were, that you violated them, and that you were either stupid to have not known the rules after all your years in Congress or were stupid in thinking you would not get caught. For another $50K you could have had a lawyer go to the committee, hat in hand, and say you had been stupid rather than corrupt, you were willing to admit your stupidity and accept the censure of the committee, and that you wanted to put the whole matter behind you. You chose not to do that, and now expect us to believe you when you say you are sorry?

I accept your right to defend yourself. But being sorry involves a willingness to accept the consequences of your acts and make restitution (if possible) for them. It does not mean mounting a $2M defense to avoid those consequences, and then being sorry only when the defense fails.

To repeat, BULL.

Posted by: wvanpup | November 19, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

What an act; and Capehart either falls for it, or is complicit in it.

Cape...again, if Rangel were a conservative Republican, would react the same way to the "censure"?

I strongly suspect you are 1) a hypocrite, 2) a racist or an ideologue who believes certain people don't have to follow the law, 2) a believer in "theft shall cleanse us all," and/or 4) a believer that bad behavior should have no bad consequences.

Posted by: wjc1va | November 19, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The next time a republican faces ethic charges, please do everyone a favor and treat it the same way you gave Rangle a pass. Face it, the first words out of your pen Capehart would be "They has ta resign". Should it not be any different in this case? Name me one job in the private sector where you break the law, yes I said break the law and still keep your job? Try not paying your taxes sometime. See if crying crocodile tears to the judge helps get you off the hook.

Posted by: elcigaro1 | November 19, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Rep. Rangel's assertion that there was no corruption or personal gain attributed to his actions are absurd. Equally absurd is his contention that he never intended to violate House rules. If is actions were that sloppy or stupid as he attributes, then he clearly lacked the intellect necessary to serve in the House and Charlie Rangel is not stupid! Corrupted, yes; stupid & sloppy, no.

Just as ridiculous as Rep. Rangel's denial is Mr. Capehart's defense of this disgraced and corrupted public official.

Posted by: dselwell | November 19, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight.

If I fail to pay my taxes for two years and then run an illegal foreign shelter scam for many more years; I need only come clean, apologize, and then submit myself to the stern warnings of my fellow colleagues. That's it?

Am I correct in assuming that if I do all of these things, the IRS will show up on my doorstep and say "Oh, just you never mind, but we hope you have learned a good lesson from this experience." Right...

Rangel should be forced to resign (or be ejected) immediately. As long as Fast Charlie draws a breath as an elected US Representative, the perception of systemic DC corruption will go on. Who, exactly do these clowns in congress think they are, Roman Catholic Bishops and Cardinals? Who, indeed.

And so it goes...

Posted by: pgould1 | November 19, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

For more than 2 years, Rangel maintained he had done nothing wrong, refused to give up the Chairmanship of Ways & Means, and mocked anyone who criticized his behavior.

Let me join those saying "BULL" to Rangel's far-too-late apology. He abused his power, broke laws, and flaunted his invulnerability to any rebuke.

Expel him!

Posted by: pilsener | November 19, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart; all,

to Mr. Capehart: IF Representative Rangel was TRULY SORRY for his CRIMES (and CRIMES is precisely the CORRECT term!), he would RESIGN his office & LEAVE the Capitol, once & for all.

imVho, ALL that Rangel is sorry about is that he GOT CAUGHT! = being "sorry" for BEING CAUGHT is true of nearly every person in the penitentiary!

to ALL: IF any of us "regular people" had done EXACTLY the same CRIMES, as Rangel has obviously committed, we would be CONVICTED of numerous FELONIES & INCARCERATED, for a long time! = let's see if the US Attorney in NY has any GUTS & will INDICT/PROSECUTE Rangel.
(my guess is: NO!)

IF you are as DISGUSTED, as our members are, about THE MESS that BHO, the ELITIST DIMocRATS & "our betters" have made of our country, come join the TEA PARTY & help us return this country to its CITIZENS.
you will be warmly welcomed & immediately "put to work" to help us fix the MESS.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | November 19, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Charlie

a day late and a dollar short

You had 2 yrs to clean up your criminal acts.

Posted by: mlemac | November 19, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

He committed all these acts to make or to save money that he was not ethically or legally permitted to do. So, those acts were clearly corrupt and clearly enriched him. His saying that his acts were not corrupt is his way of trying to sell us some type of alternate universe where theft is not theft because he says so. As a lawyer, as a legislator as just an adult he should be ashamed to make these pathetic claims.

Posted by: rick390 | November 19, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

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