The House is expected to decide Thursday on punishment for scandal-plagued political legend Charlie Rangel, who is desperately trying to escape the humiliating public rebuke recommended by the Ethics Committee.
The Harlem lawmaker made a last-ditch effort Wednesday to downgrade the penalty from censure to reprimand, asking 25,000 campaign donors to light up the Capitol switchboard on his behalf.
“I have spent my entire life standing up for those in need and now I am asking that you please stand with me in this hour of need,” read an e-mail blast to donors who boosted him to his 21st term last month.
Rangel’s House colleagues are set to weigh Thursday whether censure is a fitting punishment. The penalty was recommended two weeks ago by the Ethics Committee, which found him guilty of 11 counts of misconduct.
If censure is approved, the embattled 80-year-old faces a verbal reprimand from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the chamber floor. Censure is the harshest punishment outside of expulsion.
Rangel’s team has had little time to prepare an appeal, but the 40-year congressman hopes for time to address the House before it votes.
Rangel would be the first representative censured since 1983, when two politicians were slapped with the harsh penalty after sex scandals involving House aides. Rangel has maintained that despite financial ethics violations involving fundraising and taxes, he is not crooked and shouldn’t be boxed in with past censured legislators.