Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who this week was convicted on 11 counts of violating House ethics rules, told his supporters to stand down and cancel rallies supporting him that were originally scheduled for Thursday morning.
The rallies were to take place at 6 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Democratic Club in Harlem and at 11:30 a.m. outside the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Longtime Rangel supporters were planning to meet in Harlem, board two buses and travel to D.C. and rally outside the House building, where the ethics committee will meet at noon to determine Rangel’s punishment.
Bill Lynch, a prominent New York political consultant and longtime aide to the city’s former mayor, David Dinkins, was helping organize the rallies. A press release issued Wednesday evening said Rangel had requested that the rallies be postponed.
A spokesman for Rangel did not say why he had requested they be canceled. The 80-year-old, 20-term House veteran has asked the panel to consider his years of public service when recommending his punishment.
“How can 40 witnesses, 30,000 pages of transcripts, over 550 exhibits measure against my 40 years of service and commitment to this Body I love so much?” he said 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.”
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a storied civil rights veteran, sat alongside Rangel on Thursday at his sanctions hearing.
Russell Berman contributed to this story.