Censure: How the Other Half Punishes

Charles Rangel has been found guilty of 11 of the 13 charges filed against him, with two of the charges having been rolled into one. As punishment for his crimes/violations, the chief counsel of the House ethics committee, Blake Chisam, recommended a sentence of censure for the disgraced congressman to the full House, despite Rangel’s protestations for “a drop of fairness and mercy” in a prepared statement read prior to the start of the hearing.

Not only does the punishment not fit the crime, it is in fact no punishment at all.

According to AOL News:

Censure is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution -- it falls under Congress’ right to adopt resolutions. ... Censure is stronger than a rebuke, but not as strong as an expulsion. It is a formal, open reprimand given to a member of Congress for going against its standards of ethics and behavior.

In other words, Rangel must stand in the well of Congress and have the members tell him he behaved poorly. No, really.

Pursuant to the gravity of the charges he was found guilty of, this is beyond nonsense. One charge alone is that Rangel failed to pay taxes for 17 years on Punta Cana, his Dominican luxury beachfront villa that he keeps booked solid year round. With the battery of attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors that people like Rangel have, are we to honestly believe he had a luxury resort property and somehow forget to pay taxes on it, and no one remembered to remind him ... for 17 years?

Regarding Obama, Pelosi, et al. banging the drum regarding how the rich aren’t paying their fair share, should we assume they had good old Charlie in mind?

Rep. Jo Bonner, R-AL, was concise in his opening statement to the committee:

For the small business woman who didn’t pay her taxes for 17 years and had the IRS breathing down her back, [we] can only imagine how she would have liked to have the chance to help write the tax code of this country and make it less burdensome and simpler for everyone else.