Rangel Pleas for ‘a Drop of Mercy’

by Daniel Foster

UPDATE: And indeed, the House ethics panel has just recommended censure for Rangel. It will now go to a floor vote.

In a Roll Call op-ed, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D., N.Y.) pleads for ‘a drop of fairness and mercy’ from the ethics panel set to determine the sanction for his conviction of breaking 11 House rules (an official ‘censure’, with no attendant loss of privileges or seniority, is considered the harshest likely punishment.)

Rangel recounts his journey for his honorable service in the Korean war to the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, and his subsequent fall:

And then the sky fell down. The nightmare began. Beginning soon after I took the gavel at Ways and Means, I have been smeared with allegations of corruption and personal gain. Two years ago, I referred these media allegations to the ethics committee, confident that I would be protected from these attacks and false accusations.

The committee has not met its burden of proof in presenting clear and convincing evidence that Charlie Rangel has deviated from his sense of duty to this body and this great country. I will continue to do all that I can do to provide the very same rights and opportunities that motivated Pvt. Rangel to overcome poverty and succeed in life.

How can 40 witnesses, 30,000 pages of transcripts, over 550 exhibits measure against my 40 years of service and commitment to this body I love so much?

I ask the committee in reviewing the sanctions to take that into serious consideration, as well as the effects this ordeal has had on my wife, family and constituents.

Even in light of the fact that the subcommittee’s findings were made without my representation and weighed against what was not found, I hope my four decades of service merit a sanction that is in keeping with and no greater than House precedents and also contains a drop of fairness and mercy.

If you have a taste for it, you can read the whole thing here.