Rangel Sues to Overturn House Censure

WASHINGTON -

Rep. Charles Rangel is suing House Speaker John Boehner and six other lawmakers for delivering the longtime congressman a rare censure in 2010, charging that the ethics investigation was bungled.

In a complaint filed Monday in federal court in Washington D.C., Rangel claims the Ethics Committee that investigated his alleged wrongdoing is guilty of “numerous flagrant, knowing and intentional violations” of his due process rights, The Hill reported.

The filing accused then-chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and ranking member Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) of having “knowingly deceived” House members into thinking that the probe “had been conducted in accordance with procedural rules and the protection of [Rangel] constitutional rights.”

A House GOP aide was quick to dismiss the suit on Monday.

“The House overwhelmingly voted to censure then-Chairman Rangel by a bipartisan vote of 333-79,” the aide said. “It’s sad that he has resorted to such tactics in the face of [conclusive] evidence.”

Rangel’s lawyer, New York attorney Jay Goldberg, argued that his client’s reputation has been wrongly tarnished because of the censure.

“[Rangel] has suffered and will continue to suffer injury in fact, which is fairly and directly traceable to the imposed action,” he wrote in the complaint. “The injury will likely be redressed by a favorable decision of this court.”

The complaint cites several emails to Lofgren from R. Blake Chisam, the former chief counsel of the ethics panel, claiming that two staff attorneys conducting the investigation withheld information and broke other rules that might have led to a different verdict.

Rangel was censured on the House floor in December 2010 after the ethics panel found him guilty of 11 charges related to his conduct outside the Capitol. The censure covered a wide range of activities, including using a rent-controlled apartment in Harlem as a campaign office, using congressional stationery and staff to solicit funds for an academic center named after Rangel and failing to pay taxes on rental income for 17 years.