What Exactly Is A Censure?

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Washington — Charles Rangel is the 23rd House member in the nation’s history to be censured for misconduct.

Censure is “the most serious punishment short of expulsion that could be meted out by the House,” according to The Associated Press.

According the Senate’s website censure is “a formal statement of disapproval…that can have a powerful psychological effect on a member and his/her relationships in the Senate.”

A congressional censure is stronger than a rebuke but not as strong as an expulsion: It is a formal, open reprimand given to a member of Congress for going against its standards of ethics and behavior.

Censure is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution; it falls under Congress’ right to adopt resolutions.  The censure resolutions Congress has adopted over the years have been very different.

Below are some examples:

  • In 1868, Rep. Fernando Wood was censured for unparliamentary language.
  • In 1902, Sen. Benjamin Tillman was censured for fighting in the Senate chamber.
  • In 1967, Sen. Thomas Dodd was censured for using campaign funds for personal benefit.
  • In 1983, Rep. Daniel Crane was censured for sexual misconduct with a House page.
  • In 1990, Sen. David Durenberger was censured for ethics violations including a shady real estate deal, using campaign funds for personal use, and illegal use of a condominium.

Read more on Censures at Wikipedia

Related:

Rangel Censured

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