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What Does Censure Mean?

What Does Censure Mean? - Rep. Charles Rangel begged for "a drop of fairness and mercy" from the House ethics committee in recommending today how he should be punished for financial and fundraising misconduct. One possibility that was floated as a possible consequence facing Rangel was censure, "the most serious punishment short of expulsion that could be meted out by the House," according to The Associated Press.

Earlier this year, the 80-year-old congressman and former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee was accused of violating 12 House rules, including living in four rent-controlled apartments, misrepresenting his property on tax forms and soliciting money. At a public sanctions hearing Tuesday, Rangel admitted that he had mishandled his finances and asked the House to consider previous cases where lawmakers received censure.

So does the punishment really fit the crime? Surge Desk takes a look at congressional censure and past cases.

In short, congressional censure is stronger than a rebuke but not as strong as an expulsion: It is a formal, open reprimand given to a member of Congress for going against its standards of ethics and behavior.

This may not seem like a very concrete definition. After all, censure is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution; it falls under Congress' right to adopt resolutions. Accordingly, the censure resolutions Congress has adopted over the years have been very different.

What Does Censure Mean?

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