The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to censure Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) for nearly a dozen ethics violations. Censure is the second most severe punishment the House can give its members, after expulsion. Roll Call reports, "More than 100 Democrats and a handful of Republicans voted to reduce Rangel’s punishment from censure to reprimand, but that motion was defeated. In the final vote that followed on censure, fewer Democrats sided with Rangel, and the House approved the penalty on a vote of 333-79." This is the first time since 1983 that a member of the House has been censured.
Rangel told his colleagues, "I know in my heart I am not going to be judged by this Congress. I’ll be judged by my life in its entirety," but said, "I brought it on my myself, but I still believe this body has to be guided by fairness," and pointed out his actions were not for personal enrichment. Rangel had also cited his Korean war service, but the head of the House Ethics committee panel that recommended censure, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California), said, "That service does not excuse the fact that Rep. Rangel violated laws. He violated regulations. He violated the rules of this House... We found his actions, and accumulations of actions, reflected poorly on the institutions of the House."
Some colleagues defended him. Rep. Peter King (R-LI), who rarely agrees with Rangel, said that he didn't see any real crime, "If expulsion is the death penalty, then censure is life in prison. Why, today, are we being asked to reverse 200 years of precedents?"