Pelosi Quotes Rangel: ‘The Gospel of Matthew Made Me Do It’

Penny Starr | September 26, 2011 | 4:28pm EDT
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( – House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.)--who was censured by Congress in December for multiple ethics violations--has often told his congressional colleagues: “The Gospel of Matthew made me do it.”

Pelosi made the remarks at a Capitol Hill reception for the unveiling of an oil painting of Rangel that will hang in the hearing room of the House Ways and Means Committee, where Rangel formerly served as chairman.

Rangel was forced to step down from that chairmanship last year while he was being investigated by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

“What I think what brings a passion to his work is the fact that Charlie Rangel is a deeply religious man,” Pelosi said. “How many times has he said to us: ‘The Gospel of Matthew made me do it.’ When the Gospel talked about the least of our brethren, when they were hungry, when they needed shelter, when they needed clothing. Even Christ said: 'When I was in prison, you visited me.’ Very, very important.

A cake at the Sept. 22, 2011 reception on Capitol Hill to unveil Rangel's portrait featured a photograph of the $64,000 painting. ( Starr)

“So, in Charlie’s list of accomplishments, which are very too many to mention in this big crowd, standing this long--but they were about the Gospel of Matthew,” said Pelosi.

On Dec. 2, 2010, when the House voted 333-79 to censure Rangel, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who was then chairwoman of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, explained why the censure was necessary.

“As the chair of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and as chair of the adjudicatory subcommittee in the matter of Mr. Rangel, I rise in support of the resolution which calls for censure of Representative Charles B. Rangel,” said Lofgren.

“Mr. Rangel improperly solicited individuals and entities with businesses and interest before the House to fund the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York," said Lofgren. "He misused official resources to make these solicitations for millions of dollars. He improperly solicited funds from lobbyists. He failed to file full and complete financial disclosure statements for 10 years.  He accepted a favor or benefit related to his use of a residential, rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office under circumstances that created an appearance of impropriety. He failed to report and pay taxes for years on income he received from a property he owns in the Dominican Republic.

“We found that Representative Rangel's conduct in each of those four areas violated laws and regulations, as well as the rules of the House and standards of conduct," said Lofgren.

In her remarks at last week's reception, Pelosi said that Rangel’s career accomplishments were “about a patriotism of America, of liberty and justice for all. They were about being a grandfather and making the future better for the next generation.”

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) speaks at a reception on Sept. 22, 2011 for the unveiling of a portrait of the lawmaker, who was censured by the House of Representatives late last year. ( Starr)

“So, I want to join the Speaker in saying this painting is not just about today, this portrait unveiling,” said Pelosi. “This is so that generations of children, when they come to the Capitol, when they come to this Ways and Means room, will see the painting of a man there who might have had beginnings similar to theirs, that may have had obstacles to overcome, who was a pioneer in representing the diversity of our country in the leadership of the Congress.”

Rangel has consistently received a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America for his support of abortion.

The reception unveiling the portrait of Rangel featured a cake decorated with an image of the portrait.

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