Rep. Charles Rangel, who was convicted of violating 11 House ethics rules, asked the ethics panel to consider his years of service when recommending its punishment for him on Thursday afternoon.
The 80-year-old New York Democrat, who was reelected to a 21st term two weeks ago, admitted that he "failed in carrying out my responsibilities" and "made numerous mistakes," but emphasized that he did nothing corrupt.
"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?" he asked in a statement. "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."
Rangel's plea comes just hours before the House ethics committee is expected to convene a hearing to recommend an official sanction for the former Ways and Means Committee chairman.
"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," Rangel added.
Ethics experts believe that the committee will endorse a formal censure, reprimand or fine, not expulsion from the House. The former two punishments require a majority vote before the full House, whereas the latter requires a two-thirds vote.