NAACP Calls on U.S. House of Representatives to Oppose “Censure” Motion Against Congressman Rangel

Facts in Case and Congressional Precedence Demonstrate Punishment Which Exceeds “Letter of Reproval” Would be Unprecedented, Unwarranted and Unfair



Later this week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a motion to “censure” Congressman Charles Rangel (NY) for his failure to follow the instructions of the House Committee on Official Standards related to solicitations on behalf of a public university located in his congressional district, failure to adequately review financial records, which led to omitting required information on his Financial Disclosure statements and under reporting income on his federal tax returns in numerous years, and his improper use of rent-stabilized apartment for campaign activities. Throughout the investigations, there has never been any proof or even official allegation of corruption, criminal wrongdoing or acting for personal gain. Furthermore, it was recognized and appreciated by members of the Congressional investigating committee that throughout the process, Congressman Rangel was consistently open, forthcoming and transparent.

Despite the fact that Congressman Rangel has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing, corruption or acting for personal gain, the Committee on Official Standards has recommended a “censure” of Congressman Rangel. Not only is this punishment too extreme for the allegations, it is unprecedented. In the past, Members of the House have been “censured” after being found guilty of more extreme ethical violations of such as accepting a bribe, of knowingly perpetuating fraudulent behavior for personal gain, and for inappropriate sexual behavior; they have been “reprimanded” (a lesser punishment) for lying to the Committee, for using official resources and campaign funds for personal purposes, and for blatantly breaking House rules. All of these activities, including those which led to the lesser punishment, were much more egregious than those with which Congressman Rangel has been charged.

It is also worth noting that for almost 40 years, Congressman Rangel has consistently been a champion for civil and human rights. He has often led the charge for all Americans against discrimination, opposing disparities and fighting unfair treatment. It is only just that every Member of the House of Representatives extend to him the same courtesy and uphold the same ideals that he has championed throughout his career. We urge every member of the NAACP and every member of the House of Representatives to carefully review the charges against Congressman Rangel, as well as the historical precedents and then vote against “censure” and express their desire for the committee to reconsider, and lessen, the severity of its recommended punishment to a letter of reproval.

You may also wish to review three documents:

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