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Rangel poised to plead for reprimand, rather than harsher censure

Rep. Charles Rangel was at one time one

Rep. Charles Rangel was at one time one of the most powerful men in the country thanks to his post as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. But he was forced to step down in March after an investigation into ethics violations. In November 2010, the Ethics Committee found Rangel guilty of 11 counts of violating House ethics rules, and on Dec. 2, the full House approved a sanction of censure against Rangel. Credit: Getty Images

Embattled Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel will implore his fellow House members to downgrade his ethics punishment from censure to reprimand, according to published reports.

The 20-term political lion plans to ask the ethics committee — which convicted him on 11 counts of ethics violations Nov. 16 and then slapped him with censure — for time to address the full House before it rules on the harsh recommended penalty, sources said.

He could speak with the committee as early as Monday.

Rangel, 80, was found guilty of failing to pay taxes on his Dominican Republican resort, using congressional stationery and staff to fundraise for a school in his name and other charges.

Censure, however, has historically been imposed on politicians for far worse violations.

“Compare those charges — treason, sexual misconduct, lying to the committee — with Charlie’s charges, and you see the disproportionate nature of the whole thing,” a source told the Daily News.

Rangel will likely reiterate to the full House that he is not corrupt and thus, does not deserve censure, a humiliating public rebuke by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi certain to cast a pall over the lawmaker’s 40-year congressional career.

He may even cite ethics committee findings, which determined Rangel did not benefit from “any direct personal financial gain.”

In a move that could curry favor, Rangel has quickly complied with a committee recommendation that he pay owed taxes, signing off last week on $15,000 in checks to federal and state authorities.

The Democrat’s office plans to circulate a list of “10 Reasons Why Rep. Charles B. Rangel Should Not Receive Censure” to House members, comparing Rangel’s convictions with those of other lawmakers who have faced censure. The list’s first argument is that “Rangel has not been convicted with any crime.”

His spokesman could not be reached for comment Sunday.

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