The lead House ethics investigator in the case against Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) said this afternoon that he misspoke when he said his subcommittee had recommended a reprimand for Rangel.
Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), who lead the investigation subcommittee, told reporters earlier today that the panel had recommended a reprimand for Rangel, who is charged with 13 ethics violations.
Returning a call for clarification from TPMmuckraker, Green’s spokesman now says the congressman “misspoke.”
“The subcommittee does not make recommendations” for punishment, he said.
Green told The Hill that he “screwed up” and was calling the head of the ethics committee to apologize.
“It’s not an option that is typically published, I screwed up,” he said. He added that his subcommittee does have authority to make recommendations to the full committee.
It’s not necessarily the action the committee will take. The next stop in the process is for the panel to hold a sort of trial; if they find that Rangel did violate ethics rules, the full committee will vote on a punishment: reprimand, fine, censure or expulsion.
Reprimand is the most lenient of the options.
Whatever the punishment, it wouldn’t be final until the full House votes on it.
Green’s office also released a statement explaining the process:
The Investigative Subcommittee that conducted an inquiry into the conduct of Representative Charles B. Rangel concluded its work on July 22, 2010, when it transmitted a Statement of Alleged Violation to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (Standards Committee). Consistent with the rules of the Standards Committee, the Investigative Subcommittee transmitted the Statement of Alleged Violation and related documents without any recommendation of a sanction. In fact, the matter is not concluded. As provided for in the rules of the Standards Committee and the House of Representatives, an Adjudicatory Subcommittee has been appointed and held its first meeting yesterday, marking a new phase in the matter involving the conduct of Representative Charles B. Rangel. The Adjudicatory Subcommittee will conduct its own hearing to determine whether the evidence establishes that any of the counts in the Alleged Statement of Violation can be proved by clear and convincing evidence. Additionally, if the Adjudicatory Subcommittee finds a violation of any of the counts in the Statement of Alleged Violation, it does not recommend a sanction to the House of Representatives. It is the responsibility of the full Standards Committee to hold a separate hearing for the purpose of recommending an appropriate sanction, if any, to the House of Representatives.