Censured by House Colleagues, Rangel Apologizes for ‘Awkward Position’

BY Quinn Bowman  December 2, 2010 at 6:24 PM EDT

The House of Representatives voted 333-79 Thursday afternoon to censure Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., for violations of House ethics rules. The overwhelming rebuke followed a vote on an amendment to downgrade his punishment to a written reprimand. That failed 146-267.

Rangel stood in the well of the House floor as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi read the censure measure — a formal rebuke of his behavior. The censure language also ordered Rangel to pay the taxes he owed on the villa.

After the censure, Rangel said it was painful to accept the vote and insinuated that the changing political tide of the House was part of the reason his colleagues voted to censure him. Republicans will take control of the chamber in January after historic gains in November elections.

Rangel emphasized also that he did not think he was corrupt:

“I know in my heart that I am not going to be judged by this Congress but I’m going to be judged by my life, my activities, my contributions to society, and I just apologize for the awkward position that some of you are in,” he said. “Compared to where I’ve been, I haven’t had a bad day since,” he added, alluding to his time fighting in the Korean War.

The House ethics committee, after a nearly two-year investigation into the allegations, recommended by a 9-to-1 vote on Nov. 18 that Rangel be censured by the House. The committee found Rangel guilty of 11 violations — including failure to pay taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic and using his office letterhead to solicit funds for a college center named after him.