Washington (CNN) - New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel, who was formally censured by the House last week for violating House ethics rules and tax laws, said Sunday that members' standing in their home districts influenced the vote outcome.
Rangel said the low approval rating of Congress and the past election swayed congressional leaders, who he said were afraid of appearing to go "easy on anybody in Washington."
"I can understand that feeling back home, but I tell you, individually, whether it's Republicans or Democrats, they knew what I had done did not reach the level of a censure," Rangel said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Rangel called the vote an "embarrassing and painful experience," but said he is now trying to move on.
When asked if he thought race was a factor in the vote, he smiled and avoided directly answering the question.
"That's the last thing in the world that I would want to discuss because God has been very good to me," Rangel told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "I'd be hard put to start complaining now."
The House ethics committee found the 20-term Harlem Democrat guilty on 11 counts of violating House rules, including failing to pay taxes on a vacation home in the Dominican Republic, and improperly using his office to raise money for an educational center bearing his name.
The House voted in favor of the censure Thursday by a vote of 333 to 79.
Rangel said he was "overzealous" in trying to raise money for minority children and relied too heavily on his accountant and chief of staff.
Although he said he broke House ethics rules, he also said "the whole idea of corruption has been just laid to rest."
–The CNN Wire Staff contributed to this report
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