Some Dems Call for Rangel to Quit as One Panel Recommends Reprimand

As calls grew Friday for embattled New York Rep. Charlie Rangel to resign, a Texas congressman apologized for revealing earlier in the day that an investigative panel of bipartisan lawmakers recommended a "reprimand" of the longtime lawmaker for alleged violations of House rules.

Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, a member of the panel, said Friday he shouldn't have spoken to the press about the case and that he apologized to Ethics Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.

"I called her and did penance," Green said, adding that the recommendation has "no force" with the panel that could oversee a trial of Rangel later this year on the allegations.

A reprimand is the most lenient of the three formal modes of discipline in the House. The other two are censure and expulsion.

Green said Rangel was well-apprised of the recommendation of reprimand.

"He was aware of everything on the table," Green said.

A Congressional Research Service report indicates that "reprimand expressly involves a lesser level of disapproval of a Member than that of Censure, and is thus a less severe reubuke by the institution."

Under a reprimand, a lawmaker must stand in the well of the House and be reprimanded by the speaker. The full House would likely have to vote to reprimand Rangel.

Rangel is facing 13 allegations of violations relating to his tax filings for properties he owns in the Dominican Republic and the use of four rent-controlled apartments in pricey New York City.

If there is no settlement, the case goes to another ethics committee panel that will likely hold a public "trial" in September against the 20-term lawmaker. The four-member panel that recommended a reprimand is composed of Reps. Green, Jo Ann Bonner, R-Ky., Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and Bobby Scott, D-Va., who were first named to the investigative subcommittee in August 2008.

Already a handful of Democrats has called for Rangel to resign, most recently Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky. The others include Rep. Walter Minnick of Idaho, Betty Sutton of Ohio, Zack Space of Ohio, Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona and Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio.

"Too many politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have fallen victim to the idea that they are 'different' than regular folks and nothing could be further from the truth," Kirkpatrick said in a statement.

"It is our job as members of Congress to hold each other accountable to a higher standard regardless of party," she added. "If the serious charges against (Rangel) are accurate, he needs to resign."

Even President Obama seemed reluctant to come to Rangel's defense.

"I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served his constituents very well, but these allegations are very troubling," Obama told CBS News. "And he's somebody who is at the end of his career, 80 years old. I'm sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity, and my hope is that it happens."

Rangel denies the charges and says the indictment released Thursday contains factual errors.

"We've heard Charlie in the Ways and Means Committee, and he's addressed these charges. He never denied they happened. He always has an explanation. You can excuse one or two, but not 13," Yarmuth told the Louisville Courier-Journal in an interview published Friday. "I don't see how he can stay if they're true. I believe they are."

Reprimands have been used occasionally in the past. The House voted to reprimand Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., 408-18 in 1990 for using his office to "fix" parking tickets for Steve Goble, a male prostitute who used Frank's home.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., was reprimanded and fined in 1997 for his ethics transgressions

The House did not reprimand Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., for his shout "You lie" at President Obama last near. But the House did vote to "disapprove" of his actions.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.