Remember how Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was found guilty of a bunch of stuff we’d go to jail for, but for which he only received a public rebuke? He’s suing to get the rebuke – formally known as a censure – off the record:
In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, the New York Democrat alleges “numerous, flagrant, knowing and intentional violations” of his due process rights.
Rangel, 82, seeks to overturn the censure and says in the court papers that he suffers “irreparable harm that cannot be compensated by money damages.”
The lawsuit names Boehner; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., who was chairwoman of the House ethics committee at the time of the censure; and other committee members and staff. The congressman alleges that evidence was withheld by the committee staff.
Personally, if I were Rangel, I’d have been glad to not be in jail:
In December 2010, the House voted 333-79 to censure Rangel for multiple ethical misdeeds — including failing to pay taxes for 17 years on rental income from his villa in the Dominican Republic and soliciting donations from companies with business before the Ways and Means Committee while he was chairman. The donations were going to a center being built in Rangel’s honor at the City College of New York.
Censure is the most serious punishment, short of expulsion, that Congress can impose on one of its own members. Rangel became the first congressman in nearly three decades to be publicly rebuked in such a fashion.
Rep. Rangel apparently didn’t know about a memo that would have changed his legal defense tactics:
Rangel’s lawsuit aims to overturn that censure…with the lawsuit claiming the ethics investigation involved “numerous, flagrant, knowing and intentional violations” of Rangel’s right to due process, including the committee withholding a memo written by former staffers arguing the investigation was tainted by misconduct. Had Rangel known about the memo, the lawsuit says, he would’ve immediately moved to dismiss the investigation.
At 82, Rangel does not have many years left in Congress or in this earthly plane. This is a huge black mark on his record, and one he probably wants eliminated ASAP. I don’t see how he’s going to succeed though – the vote was not only bipartisan (though part of that was Democrats trying to throw him under the proverbial bus for the sake of the Democratic Party), it was based upon well-proven and significant charges.