The House panel that found Rep. Charlie Rangel guilty on 11 of 13 ethics charges is deliberating which symbolic punishment to give him. Will he receive a "censure," the ultimate strongly-worded letter? We'll see. Rangel, meanwhile, is whining as usual.
The ethics committee's chief counsel, R. Blake Chisam, has recommended that the panel pursue "censure," but some panel members seem more inclined to go with "reprimand," a lesser punishment. What's the earth-shattering difference between these? A reprimand can simply be voted on by the House while the violator sits in his chair, but a censure requires the Speaker to read the charges to the violator while he stands in the well of the chamber. It's more humiliating, and it goes on the permanent record, but that's about it. The harshest penalty is "expulsion," where they, you know, expel the member from Congress.
So this is why it's hard to feel much if any sympathy for Rangel on days like today, when he gave yet another rambling, 15-minute woe-is-me lecture to the ethics panel — a snippet of which is in the top clip —about this terrible injustice done to him. This is a man who's been in Congress for several decades and has exercised plenty of power in his time. He was re-elected this year, even with the ethics violations. He'll still be a member of Congress. So boo hoo. It's no one else's fault that he was too arrogant to follow the chamber's conduct rules, and he shouldn't expect the public to weep for him when he's handed his fake punishment.