Rep. Charles Rangel (D) of New York on Thursday may become the 23rd House member to be censured by his colleagues, in the history of the institution. For lawmakers who break the rules, censure is one of the punishment options specified in the US Constitution (the others are expulsion, reprimand, or a fine). A public verbal rebuke from the House speaker is usually the outcome of a censure vote – humiliating, yes, but much less draconian than expulsion. Mr. Rangel is in trouble for 11 ethics violations related to his personal finances and fundraising efforts for a New York college. A censure vote has not occurred in the House in 27 years. Here are the five congressmen censured most recently, for matters ranging from fraud to sexual misconduct to “unparliamentary language.”
In light of the scandal at Penn State, which reveals how big-time college sports often overwhelm the core values of higher education, Congress should closely examine whether the NCAA is running a not-for-profit enterprise or a commercial entertainment empire.
Analogies between voter ID laws and Jim Crow poll taxes are absurd. That pockets of citizens lack ID is a compelling argument for active voter registration drives, not damning attempts to curb fraud. Ensuring the integrity of our electoral process ought not to be a partisan issue.