U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) asked the D.C. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday to expunge all records that he’d been censured by his fellow lawmakers in Congress. He wants to see history rewritten.
His reasoning? “The committee that investigated him was racist and violated his constitutional rights,” according to The Washington Times, which reported:
A lower court judge has already tossed Mr. Rangel’s case, arguing that his colleagues who censured him for evading taxes were protected by the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, which allows lawmakers to engage in their duties without having to worry about being sued.
He was censured by a Democraticly-controlled House of Representatives in 2010, and the vote wasn’t even close: “333-79, with 77 Democrats and two Republicans voting against censure, the harshest form of punishment short of expulsion from Congress,” reported Politico, which said:
Immediately following the vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) formally called on the 80-year-old Rangel to stand in the well of the House to be informed that he had indeed been censured by his colleagues for series of 11 ethics violations.
His ethics violations stemmed from activities while serving as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which is charged with writing the U.S. tax code.
The violations included “charges that he improperly solicited millions of dollars from corporate officials and lobbyists for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York, failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of income and assets on financial disclosure forms, maintained a rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office in a Harlem apartment building and failed to pay income taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic,” Politico reported.
Notwithstanding the landslide bipartisan vote against him, Rangel pins the source of all his troubles four years ago on a few Republican lawmakers. The Times reported:
Mr. Rangel, though, argues that the four Republicans who served on the panel were given extra information that the four Democrats weren’t, in questionable communications that he says would have been clearly illegal if they had been sitting judges instead of members of Congress.
He argues that since the lawmakers were acting as judges in this case, they should be held to that standard, and because they violated his rights his censure should be expunged. Mr. Goldberg also told the judges that a former high-ranking staffer on the ethics committee had raised the possibility that racism played a role in the committee’s behavior toward Mr. Rangel.
The Democrats have been rewriting history for decades by portraying Republicans as racist, when it’s actually been their own party that’s dragged its feet enacting civil rights legislation for the century from Reconstruction to the 1960s. Rangel’s attempt to expunge the record of his censure is just one more example.
On Nov. 4, the voters of Harlem elected Rangel to his 23rd term in Congress, making him the best argument for term limits I can come up with.