Rep. Zoe Lofgren has been sued by another Democratic House member who claims he was wrongly censured for ethical violations while Lofgren chaired the Ethics Committee.
The federal lawsuit filed Monday in Washington, D.C., by Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., also names House Speaker John Boehner and a slew of Ethics Committee members and staffers. Boehner wasn’t yet Speaker in December 2010 when the House voted 333-79 to censure Rangel, but does now have the power to remove the action from the Congressional Record.
Rangel’s lawsuit claims Lofgren, D-San Jose, and Jo Bonner, R-Ala., then the Ethics Committee’s ranking Republican, “knowingly deceived” the House before the vote, “knowing then that their statements were false.” Evidence was withheld that could’ve helped clear him, he claims.
Lofgren specifically “deceptively misrepresented what had occurred during the proceedings before the committee” when advising the House that Rangel’s “pre-vote proceedings were conducted fairly, honestly, without bias and according to the law, when she knew this was not so.”
Lofgren declined to comment Tuesday.
Per the Associated Press, the committee found that Rangel had underpaid the IRS for 17 years by failing to pay taxes on income from a rental unit in a Dominican Republic resort, had filed misleading financial disclosure reports, had set up a campaign office in the Harlem building where he lived that had been designated for residential use only and had used congressional letterheads to solicit donations for a center named after him at City College of New York.
It was only the 23rd time in the House’s history that a member was censured, the most severe punishment short of expulsion.