After a vote of 333-79 in the U.S. House of Representatives to censure the veteran lawmaker, justice was served in the two-and-a-half year, $2 million ethics investigation of Representative Charles B. Rangel (D-NY). Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) then called Rangel to the well of the House, where she publicly read him the list of his crimes.
It lasted less that a minute. Less than 45 seconds, in fact. Then, Congress was on to new business. In January, Rangel will be sworn in for his 21st term with the legislative body.
Justice was served? Project 21 member Kevin Martin is not impressed. Here’s what he said about the crime and the punishment:
Congressman Rangel talks of “past mistakes,” but he has never really seemed willing to admit the full extent of his wrongdoing and accept any real punishment. It is another reprehensible example of a completely narcissistic, progressive black politician.
Rangel and his few supporters, namely the Congressional Black Caucus, tried to use everything — from Rangel’s skin color to his age to his service in Korea to his 40 years of public services — to convince other members of the House of Representatives to simply reprimand him. Yet they seem to have overlooked that, during Rangel’s many years of service, that included his prominent leadership position as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, he and his presumably veteran staff either did not know about or did not care about long-standing ethics rules.
It is for this reason that I believe Rangel’s colleagues on the ethics committee chose the punishment of public censure — for what good it did — over a private reprimand. Every day, Americans are jailed and fined for the types of things for which Rangel’s colleague found him guilty. He got off easy. It is long past time that Rangel accepts responsibility for his past actions and accepts this public rebuke with what little dignity he has left.