December 5th, 2010
11:04 AM ET
4 years ago

Rangel responds to punishment

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

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. paul

    someone explain to me how this is political??? MANY of his OWN PARTY(the vast majority in fact) voted for censure, so where does this scum bag get off with this lame excuse? He broke the law....period......if it was any of us, we would be in jail............

    December 5, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. MikeBell

    Rangel has not sense of accountability. Arrogance at its worst.

    December 5, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. saywhhhhhat

    he should be in prison like a normal citizen

    December 5, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Rb

    It is my position that we have the most corrupt government in the world and we just bend over time and again!

    December 5, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. paul

    what a pice of garbage...someone explain to me how this is political after the majority of his OWN Party voted for censure!!! Good try Charlie, but,,,,,no.

    December 5, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. K.S.

    The only reason this guy is saying this is the color of his skin. Lets be real honest here on this one. I will give the guy a thank you for his service during the Korean war, but that is as far as it will go. He knowingly violated the rules, all for what, to start a school City college of NY. There should be criminal charges filled against him, and he should be kicked out of congress. How is it that we allow people that have broken laws to stay in office, making $187,000 a year plus benefits, when they refused to follow the laws that they set forth. This is complete BS, and I cant wait till the day that all of the idiots like this guy are kicked out of office and this country.

    December 5, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. db

    Notice how he avoids saying anything about the charges he was found guilty of, not paying income tax for 17 years, and not claiming his Costa Rican property, using Congressional paper and postage to get money for his chosen City College, and it goes on an on. This guy is only the pimple on an arce when it comes to scumbags in Washington DC. Even when found guilty, not once but the second time he still feels like this was wrong, that he is inocent, that he was found guilty becasue the other Democrats wanted to look good back home. Give me a break. Rangle is a lier, a thief, a cheat, and will pull the racial card in a heart beat, and did in this interview. Next is Maxine Waters!

    December 5, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Rb

    When do we take back our country from these flea bags that continue their criminal agenda while we become victims of our own demise!

    December 5, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Eddie Haskel

    Although he said he broke House ethics rules, he also said "the whole idea of corruption has been just laid to rest."

    There's only one thing that needs to be "laid to rest" here. It's about 5 foot 9 and real ugly.

    December 5, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Fed Up

    If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Of course, we all know he didn't do anything wrong.

    December 5, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Dan Cardinale

    Renegade Rangel, if you were actually tried for your many illegal activities by other than your congressional cohorts you'd not only be expelled from Congress but you'd be in jail like any other big time criminal. You claim this was a political vote. I completely agree. It was a vote by your political pals trying to make it look like you were receiving a serious punishment. You, your congressional pals, I and the rest of real Americans know that your heavily biased constituent base would reelect you even if you actually had the horns and barbed tail of the devil you are.

    December 5, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. thor

    Any other person that wasn't a politician would be in jail for the things that Rangel has done.This censure is just away for Congress to protect themselves from what average Americans would face.

    December 5, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Rb

    When do we become patriots and defend our country from the crime tearing our country down...WHEN?

    December 5, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Jay

    Even in admitting guilt, it's all about "the children" to him! I was just trying to help others...of course! And shame on them for even approaching the race card. Sick of that kind of pandering to the lowest common denominator.

    December 5, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. Alf

    Mr. Rangel; you are a bum and a thief. Those charges and findings had nothing to do with a political witchhunt nor race. You broke the law, be a man! What kind of person would vote for such slime.

    December 5, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Albert Friday

    Rangel is just trying to redirect his guilt and censure by the House committee. American justice is failing when it comes to accountability in congress.

    December 5, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. Louis Wu

    Political? When more Democrats than Republicans voted to censure him? I don't think so. I'm a Democrat but this guy is an embarassment to the party and to Congress. He should go to jail.

    December 5, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. bcalb

    I am surprised he didn't cry "Racism". Rangel is just one of a large group of crooks, thieves, and various other miscreants in Congress. He just happens to be one of the most obvious and delusional. He thinks breaking the law and the rules of conduct do not apply to him. He should have been kicked out.

    December 5, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. MK

    this guy is full of himself....why is he not being prosecuted for evading taxes. If you're in congress and get caught, the penalty is just to pay what you owe. If you're a private citizen and get caught you have to pay what you owe and also be punished with steep fines or fail time. This guy gets a slap on the wrist read to him by his buddy Nancy Pelosi.

    December 5, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. Dan

    Rangel believes he is more equal that others. A prime example of everything our forefathers fought against. He is in a nutshell everything wrong with American politicians and their self policing.

    December 5, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Kana

    Granted Rep. Rangel may have done a lot for his community and I commend him for his work. However as an elected official he has to lead by example. His example of failing to pay taxes,exploiting a rent-controlled apartment, having a school named after him, etc. all violate the Peoples trust. He's fortunate that he wasn't thrown out of congress and should be thankful for only being censured.

    It's quite obvious that he must be doing something that benefits his constituents or one would think they wouldn't have reelected him. You can't base your thinking that convicted criminals can't be re-elected. A fine example is Marion Barry who was taped using illegal drugs with a prostitute, convicted and re-elected to public office.

    December 5, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Harry

    Oh my how the mighty have fallen. One a lie is told, then again, again and again. The lie becomes, pooh. a truth. How come we, the American people, have become emasculated with the inability to remove corrupt government employees and elected officials out of office. Why do we tolerate this? Rangel evaded his income tax responsibilities? If you or did that well the IRS would go after our underewear if the could. You are a member of Congress, pick up $200.00 and avoid jail.
    I tell yah, what a country, what a country.

    December 5, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. Rod Venger

    Lynn said, "The Republicans promised jobs if elected in Nov., but instead more jobs were lost"

    Far frakkin out, man! Those people have not even started working yet and already you're blaming them for lost jobs? The Constitutionally-defined start of the 112th Congress begins on Jan 3rd, 2011 with the House members being sworn in on the 4th or 5th. Maybe you'd like to cut them some slack for another few weeks before you start hammering on them?

    December 5, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. Scotsman2001

    Dude, if we did what you did we would be sharing a jail cell with Bubba. Get over it you whining idiot. Now just retire and buggah off.

    December 5, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. B.J.

    It doesn't bother me as much dirty politicians such as "Renegade Rangel" get away with crimes that we could only dream of. What irritates me more is the thought us average citizens don't realize the truth. I hate to think someone such as Nancy P. thinks she has out smarted us. It's so sad so many have suffered and lost their lives protecting the rights we have for leaders of this country to walk on and trash.

    December 5, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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