Ethics Committee Refers Rangel Resolution to House

By John R Parkinson

Nov 29, 2010 8:33pm

ABC News' John R. Parkinson reports:

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the chair of the House Committee on Standards on Official Conduct, told reporters late Monday evening that the ethics committee has tonight submitted a resolution to the House of Representatives regarding the matter with Rep. Charles Rangel.

A senior aide from the Speaker's office had not heard the news about the resolution, but suggested if it was true that the full House of Representatives could consider the ethics committee's recommendations as early as Tuesday or Wednesday. 

By a vote of 9 to 1, the panel of five Republicans and five Democrats earlier this month agreed with chief committee counsel R. Blake Chisam, who had recommended the penalty. It also recommended that Rangel, D-New York, be required to pay restitution on unpaid taxes.

The full House must now vote on whether to approve the penalty or impose a different one. If the House votes to approve the sanction — a simple majority is needed – the 40-year incumbent lawmaker would likely go to the House well to immediately hear a rebuke from the Speaker.

The censure recommendation could be brought to the floor by a point of privilege at any moment this week or brought to the floor through the Rules committee.  It's possible the Rules committee could orchestrate the rules to keep Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, from reading a potential rebuke of Rangel and rather have the Speaker Pro Tempore read it, but precedence suggests that the Speaker of the House might actually have to read it.

The ethics committee found Rangel guilty of 11 of 13 ethics charges, ranging from improper fundraising, inappropriate possession of multiple rent-controlled apartments and failure to pay taxes on a vacation home.

Rangel's censure by the ethics committee is only the fourth time such a penalty has been imposed in the history of the House of Representatives. The House has also rendered four expulsions, three censures and nine reprimands.

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