WASHINGTON (CN) - Congressman Charles Rangel sued Speaker of the House John Boehner on Monday, trying to overturn the results of the ethics investigation that led to his censure in 2010.
The House censured Rangel, a 21-term Democrat from New York's 13th District, for ducking 17 years of income from a rental property in the Dominican Republic.
Rangel also sued other lawmakers in his federal complaint, including Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, former chairwoman of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
Rangel, 82, claims he was denied a fair trial, including the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses; that the subcommittee hearing charges against him was biased and adversarial; and that Republicans "fail(ed) to turn over material relating to the misconduct of Republican members, which probably would have led to a different outcome had plaintiff's rights to due process and his fundamental constitutional rights been adhered to."
Rangel claims that the "critical issues" in his case involve Article 1m Section 5, Clause 2 of the Constitution: "Each house may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member."
Rangel calls this the "constitutional provision."
He says in the complaint: "The issues before the court in this case and controversy are as follows: (1) the textual meaning and effect of the constitutional provision, particularly the meaning and effect of the underlined portion ['may determine the Rules of its Proceedings']; (2) the effect of numerous flagrant, knowing and intentional violations of plaintiff's due process rights and his other fundamental constitutional rights by a majority of the Members of the Committee charged with recommending a sanction to the House, where prior to the vote of the House, the House was knowingly deceived by the Chair of the Committee and the Ranking Member to the effect that all prior proceedings had been conducted in accordance with procedural rules and the protection of plaintiff's constitutional rights, knowing then that their statements were false at the time they made such statements; and (3) whether such egregious misconduct, as more fully described below, resulted in the House lacking the condition precedent for disciplining plaintiff."
Rangel seeks writ of mandamus expunging his censure from the record.
He is represented by Jay Goldberg of New York City.
Rangel won his first term in the House by challenging incumbent Adam Clayton Powell, who had lost his seat due to ethics violations, then regained it after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Powell v McCormack.
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