Ethics Committee Chief Counsel Recommends Censure for Rangel

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The House ethics committee's chief counsel has recommended censure, to punish Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel for violating House ethics rules.

"I respectfully submit that this committee should recommend to the full House that it take disciplinary action against respondent, and that this committee recommend respondent be censured by the House," said Chief Counsel Blake Chisman.

Chisman called for the punishment despite the 80-year-old Democrat's plea for what he called "a drop of fairness and mercy."

Before Chisman made his remarks, Republican Rep. Joe Bonner of Alabama told colleagues that Rangel needed only to look in the mirror to see who caused his predicament.

"Mr. Rangel can no longer blame anyone other than himself for the position he now finds himself in," Bonner said. "Not this committee, not his staff or family, not the accountants or lawyers, not the press."

Censure would be the most serious punishment, short of expulsion, which is considered highly unlikely. Rangel was found guilty by a House subcommittee earlier this week on 11 of 13 counts of ethics violations. Charges include failing to pay taxes on a house he owned in the Dominican Republic, and improperly soliciting donations for a college center named after him.

The committee recessed Thursday afternoon for closed-door deliberations.