Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) became emotional during an afternoon session before the ethics panel.

Wiping away tears, he stood to again stress that he did not act for personal gain and to apologize to the committee for any awkwardness or embarrassment he may have caused.

"I don't know how much longer I have to live, but it will always be to try to help people," Rangel said with a voice more gravelly than usual.

The congressman asked that members of the committee, no matter what sanction they decide to recommend, refrain from calling him a corrupt individual.

"Thank you for this awkward opportunity to express myself," he concluded. 

Rangel spoke after Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a member of the panel, asked him to offer his words.

The House ethics committee's chief counsel recommended Thursday that Rangel be formally censured by the full House for violating 11 House ethics rules.

Short of expulsion, censure is the most serious sanction the ethics panel can recommend. A majority of the full House would have to vote to censure Rangel should the ethics committee officially recommend that punishment.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) spoke in Rangel's defense in the morning session. The committee is in executive session to consider what punishment to recommend.