CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Dec. 3, 2010: Caribbean friends and supporters of Harlem Congressman, Rep. Charles Rangel, (D-N.Y.), will have to watch him be censured by the U.S. House.
Members yesterday voted 333 to 79 to censure the 80-year-old member, after he was found guilty of 11 ethics violations.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi read the resolution that rebuked Rangel in front of the entire chamber. Censure represents the second highest form of congressional punishment. The former Harlem Representative would also be required to pay restitution for his unpaid taxes.
In the Proclamation of Censure, it was stated that Rangel will be required to pay restitution for his unpaid taxes.
After the public rebuke was read, Rangel asked for a minute to address the chamber. `I know in my heart I am not going to be judged by this Congress. I`ll be judged by my life in its entirety.`
Rangel launched a campaign requesting House members a more lenient punishment such as a reprimand. His office released a list of ten reasons to justify reprimand as a more suitable punishment.
The Harlem Democrat is the first Congressman to be censored since 1983 and is only the 23rd member to be censored.
Rangel`s charges included failing to pay taxes on property he owned in the Dominican Republican and improperly using Congressional resources to fund a center that bore his name.
Surprisingly, Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, were among the voices against censuring for Rangel. Instead, King like many in the Congressional Black Caucus, called for a reprimand.
Rangel was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970 to represent Harlem, New York. The U.S. Representative was formally charged in July, and after resisting calls to leave Congress, won re-election this month.
On November 18, the House ethics committee voted 9 to 1 to recommend the censure of Rangel. The ethics committee, consisting of five Republicans and five Democrats, went into a closed doors deliberation on the punishment for Rangel`s violations. The deliberation lasted about four hours.
Rangel emerged as an advocate for the Caribbean fighting for special aid-and-trade legislation to help the struggling economies and traveling to the islands. Rangel earlier this year was forced to give up his powerful Ways and Means Committee Chairmanship post after being admonished by an ethics panel for taking corporate trips to the Caribbean to conferences organized by the New York Carib News paper, in violation of House rules.
The congressman was a regular at the conferences and is a friend of many Caribbean leaders. He was this year honored by the Jamaican government and has in the past hosted Caribbean leaders in New York for a conference on the Caribbean and its Diaspora.