NEW YORK (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) — Charlie Rangel’s tears fell on deaf ears in Washington Thursday night. The veteran Harlem congressman was facing the likelihood of public humiliation by his colleagues in the form of censure. On Friday, some constituents were saying it may be time for the legendary lawmaker to go.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell on a sad situation for the longtime public servant
Rangel’s fall from grace came in the very space he built a legacy, in the halls of Congress, where colleagues called him out for corruption.
“The committee voted nine to one that Mr. Rangel be censured by the House,” said Rep. Zoe Loftgren (D-CA).
Except for being expelled, it was the most severe punishment the 40-year veteran could have received. Before the decision, Rangel wept at his desk, then made one final plea for forgiveness and understanding.
“Any action taken by me was not with the intention to bring any disgrace on the House or to enrich myself personally,” he said.
The House Ethics Committee, however, wasn’t buying it, saying the 80-year-old violated the public trust by using a rent-stabilized apartment used as a campaign headquarters, raising money from lobbyists for a Rangel center at City College and his failure to pay taxes here in the U.S. on his income and his villa in the Dominican Republic.
“The failure to pay taxes for 17 years, what is that?” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).
Rangel faced the probability of what amounts to a public dressing down in front of his colleagues – a punishment some constituents said was fitting.
“There’s no excuse. He should be more responsible. He’s a congressman,” said Robert Stover of Harlem.