December 5th, 2010
11:04 AM ET
12 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. Jeff

    What a POS. Political? Rangel missed the fact that the bar has been raised in Congress. Specifically, it's been raised above him. He sets a poor example for anyone on how to handle being punished for one's crimes.

    December 5, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. wot

    If it WAS a political vote, then it was wrong. EVERYONE should of voted for his censure. It's a shame he wasn't ejected from the house. (This comes from someone often accused of being a "lib".)

    December 5, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. ShameonHim

    The vote was political, Duh he is a politician. Amazing stupidity. PUT HIM IN JAIL.

    December 5, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. stockton

    If it was such a political vote, why did so many Democrats vote for the resolution?

    December 5, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. Po Boy.

    OH SURE!! It was very political and had nothing to do with the fact he didn't pay all his taxes for 17 years. He headed the tax writing committee in the House. He should be in prison.

    December 5, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. dave

    Rangel = Cumpulsive Liar

    Thats it.

    December 5, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. GEdwards

    He's part of the problem and his arrogance is unbelievable.

    December 5, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Rb

    Yes it's true CRIME DOES PAY

    December 5, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. waynewayne

    crowley=softball questions for liberals
    rangle=go directly to jail do not collect 200
    oh yeah i forgot...liberals get a pass on criminal acts

    December 5, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. StLouisMan

    Just doesn't wqnt to get it . Been nice if he had sounded more sincere and less of a poor victim.

    December 5, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. syoung

    It's a shame he wanted to throw in our brave fighting men & women & poor minority children to deflect the fact that he is a lying, crooked lowlife...also to LYNN...your DEMO bias is showing..."The Republicans promised jobs if elected in Nov., but instead more jobs were lost."'s only been a FEW WEEKS...they are not miracle workers!

    December 5, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. Stephen

    This man doesn't represent anyone but himself. If I or any other american broke the law as he did, we would have been handcuff and led away. And refusing to comment on the "race card" issues just told us he felt the vote against him was racist. He really feels he has done nothing wrong. He should be removed or if he has any honor left, he should resign NOW! Another joke in congress.

    December 5, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Charlie . . . pay your taxes and move on.

    December 5, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. chris

    I was watching him explain what happened...and he was a rambling fool. He deserves to be dismissed from congress! What a disgrace!

    December 5, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. Scotsman2001

    Another thing. Why did he get off in this interview with comparing how he felt about being censured with how our brave men and women are fighting for our freedom. Why wasn't he challenged to explain howwhat he was found gulity of was comparable to what our troops go through every day?? Where is the journalism here? Is this an example of another "pass" for the Dems? Someone, please explain

    December 5, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Kenneth Close

    This means we can all forget to pay tax's the way I read his rational just say it was an honest mistake.

    December 5, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. B.J.

    I'm confused, exactly what kind of crime has to be committed before a dirty politician such as this actually goes to the Big House???

    December 5, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Billy/Bob117

    Why did CNN give this crook air time? He should have been kicked out of congress. I see the dem controled ethics panel left the GOP to take care of good ole Maxine Waters.

    December 5, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Dave

    The guy who heads the committee that decides our taxes, didn't pay his taxes. He's either a criminal or he's too dumb to serve. Either way, he must go.

    December 5, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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