In a dramatic change of tone — compared to the bluster and indignation of the past week — Rep. Charlie Rangel today asked for mercy from the House ethics committee, invoking his time in the military and his 40 years in the House.
“How can 40 witnesses, 30,000 pages of transcripts, over 550 exhibits measure against my forty years of service and commitment to this Body I love so much? I ask the Committee in reviewing the sanctions to take that into serious consideration, as well as the effects this ordeal has had on my wife, family and constituents,” he said in a statement released this morning.“Even in light of the fact that the Subcommittee’s findings were made without my representation and weighed against what was not found, I hope my four decades of service merit a sanction that is in keeping with and no greater than House precedents and also contains a drop of fairness and mercy.”
The House ethics committee is holding a hearing today to vote on what sort of punishment, if any, to recommend for Rangel. A subcommittee found him guilty of 11 ethics violations earlier this week, in a short but cantankerous hearing in which Rangel accused the committee of preventing him from getting a lawyer and violating his due process rights before leaving the hearing altogether.
Rangel also reportedly asked supporters to cancel rallies in his support that were scheduled for today in Harlem and Washington.