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Rangel asks Pelosi to delay his censure vote

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) asked House Democratic leaders to hold a vote to determine his sanction Thursday rather than Wednesday, according to two caucus sources.

On Tuesday, the 20-term House veteran asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other senior caucus leaders during an afternoon leadership meeting to put off the vote until Thursday even though they were leaning towards holding it Wednesday, the sources said. Pelosi did not indicate whether she would comply with his request.

The 20-term House veteran wants more time to lobby his colleagues to downgrade his punishment for a string of ethics violations from censure to reprimand, a less serious ruling that does not require him to stand in the well of the House while the violations and ethics committee’s ruling are read.

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After Tuesday’s leadership meeting, Rangel threw up his hands when asked whether he would give a statement on the floor before the vote and said he didn’t know when the roll call would be held.

He then huddled with other Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members at a meeting held off the Capitol campus at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee headquarters. The meeting covered many issues, including Rangel’s impending sanction. Several senior CBC members have said they don’t believe Rangel deserves to be censured.

The House ethics committee recommended the punishment after an adjudicatory panel found Rangel guilty of 11 counts of ethics violations, including improperly soliciting donations for an educational center bearing his name, failing to pay taxes on a Caribbean villa and filing financial disclosure forms riddled with mistakes.

House Democratic leaders could call for the censure vote at any time during the lame-duck session, but the ethics committee’s Tuesday release of hundreds of pages of documents pertaining to the charges and subsequent trial of Rangel has the lawmaker and his allies on red alert for the impending vote.

Pelosi's office did not immediately return a request for comment.