NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) — Rep. Charlie Rangel is speaking out about his ethics trial.
The House Ethics Committee recommended censure for the Congressman after the same panel convicted him of 11 violations, including failure to pay taxes and operating four rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem instead of just one.
Rangel responded to the case this weekend, posting an audio message on his Twitter page.
“Of course I was really taken aback and disappointed at the decision of the ethics committee. But I was gratified when I heard that in their report they agreed with what I’ve been saying that there was absolutely no evidence of corruption or personal gain found in the two-year investigation,” Rangel said.
While Rangel spoke out on Twitter, dozens of Harlem community leaders and New York lawmakers, including former Mayor David Dinkins, say the punishment doesn’t fit the infraction.
The group said two long years of a House Ethics Committee investigation was enough punishment for the 80-year-old congressman, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported.
The committee convicted Rangel of 11 violations last week, including failure to pay taxes.
City Council Member Inez Dickens said censuring the Harlem Democrat is going too far.
“Congressman Rangel, my congressman, who was overwhelmingly reelected by the 15th congressional district, did nothing illegal,” Dickens said. “He had sloppy bookkeeping, yes. Illegal, no.”
Dinkins also said he didn’t think the punishment was fitting.
“If he is to be punished further – and I say further because I feel that he has already been punished enough – there’s nothing to be gained by seeking to further humiliate this great man,” Dinkins said.
The full House is expected to vote on the committee’s recommendation to censure Congressman Rangel sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday.
If the House votes to censure Rangel, he’ll be the first Congressman to receive the punishment in 27 years.
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