The House of Representatives voted 333-79 Thursday to censure Rep. Charles Rangel, the most severe punishment the House of Representatives can dole out to one of its own, short of expulsion.
But two Republicans, Reps. Don Young of Alaska and Peter King of New York voted against censuring Rangel, a 20-term New York Democrat who was found guilty by an ethics panel last month of faced 11 counts of financial and fundraising misconduct.
A special trial-like ethics subcommittee panel in the House last month found Rangel, 80, guilty of failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and assets, improper use of several rent-controlled apartments in his Harlem district, questionable fundraising efforts for a City College of New York center that bears his name, and failing to pay taxes on his Dominican Republic property.
Young and King also were among just three Republicans, including Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, also to vote for an amendment that would have lightened the punishment to a rebuke, rather than censure.
Young told his spokeswoman Meredith Kenny that he has "never voted to censure anyone."
"It should be up to the voters, not up to the Congress," he said.
Young himself is no stranger to public condemnation by his peers. In 2008, he took to the floor of the House of Representatives to explain a secretive transportation earmark that so angered fellow lawmakers they called on the Justice Department to investigate it.
Speaking from the floor of the House of Representatives in 2008, Young acknowledged that he'd "been the subject of much innuendo" for the 2005 earmark, which shifted $10 million from a road-widening project in southwest Florida to a study of an interstate interchange that promised to benefit one of Young's campaign donors.
Young said that the earmark, part of a $286.4 billion highway bill he oversaw as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was never intended to benefit anyone in particular. The accusations about his role in it have "little if any connection with what actually occurred," Young said in an 11-minute speech.
His remarks came just hours before the House voted 358-51 to join a Senate call for a Justice Department investigation into the earmark. At the time, the Senate historian's office said it could recall no example in modern times of the Senate ever asking the department to look into possible criminal conduct by a House member.
Young said in August that the Justice Department had dropped its probe.