Lipinski Votes to Censure Rangel
Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) issued the following statement regarding his vote to censure Representative Charles Rangel:
“Today, I voted to censure Representative Charles Rangel. Prior to doing so, I stood firm and voted against reducing his punishment to a reprimand, parting ways with 146 of my colleagues.
“I do not take such votes lightly. This was the first time during my six years in Congress that I have had to render such judgment and witness the censure of a colleague. Passing judgment on another Member of Congress is a serious matter, and one that requires deliberation of the evidence of the case, the conduct of the Member, and the attitude the Member takes towards their conduct.
“Rep. Rangel has demonstrated a deep commitment to his nation and his constituents, serving with distinction in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and representing his district for 20 terms. Unfortunately, there is sufficient evidence that he broke the House rules, violated federal laws, and undermined the public’s trust in not only himself, but the entire House of Representatives.
“Based on the investigation and the adjudicatory process of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the ‘ethics committee’), Rep. Rangel used official stationary and House resources to solicit donations for a university center that bears his name, including from entities with business before the Ways and Means Committee he then chaired. The ethics committee also determined that financial disclosure statements that Rep. Rangel submitted contained numerous errors and omissions, including failure to report and pay tax on rental income derived from a beach villa in the Dominican Republic. The committee also found that he derived an undue benefit by maintaining his residence and campaign office in a rent controlled apartment in New York City. Finally, the ethics committee determined that “because of the substantial responsibilities of his position [as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee], it is appropriate to hold him to a higher standard”; that his actions “represented an ongoing pattern of behavior, as opposed to isolated incidents”; and that his “actions and the accumulation of his actions reflected poorly on the institution of the House and, thereby, brought discredit to the House.”
“The ethics committee found that there was clear and convincing evidence that, through these actions, he violated federal law and House rules. As such, he should face the consequences of his actions and be censured. Mr. Rangel must be held to the high standards demanded by 40 years of congressional service and the privilege of serving as Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“Members of Congress must maintain the trust of the public in order for our work to be effective and respected. Actions of any member that violate that trust undermine the work of all Members of Congress and the institution, and must be addressed forcefully. For that reason, I voted today to censure Rep. Charles Rangel. I hope this sends a signal to all Members of Congress about the need to adhere to the rules and laws that govern our conduct. And I hope that this action helps to restore some public trust and confidence in Congress.”
(December 2, 2010)
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