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Congress / CONGRESS

Richardson Is Only the Latest House Member to Face Punishment

Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif.(J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP)

August 2, 2012

Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif., who was reprimanded by the House of Representatives on Aug. 2, is only the latest member in the chamber's history to face an official punishment. 

Listed below are the House members over the years who have been censured, reprimanded or expelled — and the reasons why — based on information compiled from the websites of the House Ethics and Rules committees.

(Members who resigned or whose terms ended before action could be taken are not included.)

 

Expelled

  • 1861 – Rep.-elect John B. Clark (Missouri): “[T]aken up arms against” the government of the United States; expelled, 94-45 (July 13, 1861)
  • 1861 – Rep. John W. Reid (Missouri): “[T]aken up arms against” the government of the United States; expelled, no vote recorded (December 2, 1861)
  • 1861 – Rep. Henry C. Burnett (Kentucky): “[O]pen rebellion” against the government of the United States; expelled, no vote recorded (December 3, 1861)
  • 1980 – Rep. Michael J. Myers (Pennsylvania): Convicted of bribery, conspiracy, and Travel Act violations (August 30, 1980); expelled, 376-30 (October 2, 1980)
  • 2002 – Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. (Ohio): Convicted of conspiracy to violate federal bribery and gratuity statutes, receipt of illegal gratuity, obstruction of justice, defrauding the government, racketeering, and tax evasion (April 11, 2002); adjudicatory hearing (July 15-17, 2002); sustained nine counts; unanimously recommended expulsion (July 18, 2002); expelled, 420-1 (July 24, 2002)

Reprimanded

  • 1976 – Rep. Robert L.F. Sikes (Florida): Improper financial disclosure and conflict of interest; 44 members transmitted complaint by an outside organization (April 6, 1976); committee voted to conduct inquiry, 9-0 (April 9, 1976) found violations of House rules and Code of Ethics; reprimanded, voice vote (October 13, 1978); resigned (December 31, 1978)
  • 1978 – Rep. Edward J. Roybal (California): Failed to report campaign contribution, appropriated campaign funds for personal use, made false statement to Standards Committee (1974); reprimanded, voice vote (October 13, 1978)
  • 1984 – Rep. George V. Hansen (Idaho): Convicted of four counts of making false statements; reprimanded, 354-52 (July 31, 1984); conviction vacated in 1995
  • 1987 – Rep. Austin J. Murphy (Pennsylvania): Improperly used official resources and violated House rules regarding voting; reprimanded, 324-68 (December 18, 1987)
  • 1990 – Rep. Barney Frank (Massachusetts): Personal residence was used for prostitution by third parties, had improper contacts with probation office on behalf of personal assistant, improperly dismissed assistant’s parking tickets, and sexual activity in the House gymnasium; reprimanded, 408-18 (July 26, 1990)
  • 1997 – Rep. Newt Gingrich (Georgia): Complaint alleged improper use of official resources in preparation of a college course, conflict of interest, and improper use of tax-exempt entities in support of a college course (September 12, 1994); investigation was expanded to include allegations that Gingrich made false statements to Committee on Standards, his relationship with foundation/course violated foundation’s tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS Code, he used unofficial resources for official purposes, and his activities and relationship with another foundation (September 26, 1995); reprimanded and directed to reimburse $300,000, 395-28 (January 21, 1997)
  • 2012 – Rep. Laura Richardson (California): Engaged in misconduct by forcing some of her office staff to work on her 2010 campaign

Censured

  • 1832 – Rep. William Stanberry (Ohio): Insulted Speaker during floor debate (July 9, 1832); censured, 92-44 (July 11, 1832)
  • 1836 – Rep. Sherrod Williams (Kentucky): Insulted chairman of the Committee of the Whole House during debate (July 2, 1836); censured without formal vote (July 2, 1836); House “reconsidered” censure (July 4, 1836)
  • 1842 – Rep. Joshua R. Giddings (Ohio): “[U]nwarranted and unwarrantable” conduct (presented a series of resolutions related to slavery and negotiations with Great Britain (March 21, 1842); censured, 125-69 (March 22, 1842); resigned (March 22, 1842); reelected (May 5, 1842)
  • 1856 – Rep. Orsamus B. Matteson (New York):“Defamed character of House” by accepting money in exchange for supporting a Minnesota land bill; censured, 145-17; expulsion resolution tabled (February 27, 1857); resigned prior to House action but was later reelected
  • 1864 – Rep. Alexander Long (Ohio): Supported recognition of the independence of the Confederacy in speech on the House floor (April 8, 1864); censured, 80-70 (April 14, 1864)
  • 1864 – Rep. Benjamin G. Harris (Maryland): Encouraged the Confederacy during a House debate on a resolution to expel another member, (April 9, 1864); censured, 98-20 (April 9, 1864)
  • 1866 – Rep. John W. Chanler (New York): “[A]ttempted a gross insult to the House” by proposing a resolution supporting a presidential veto (May 14, 1866); censured, 72-30 (May 14, 1866)
  • 1866 – Rep. Lovell H. Rousseau (Kentucky): Assaulted Rep. Josiah Grinnell of Iowa with a cane outside the Capitol for alleged insult spoken in debate (June 14, 1866); censured, 89-30 (July 17, 1866); resigned (July 21, 1866), but reelected
  • 1867 – Rep. John W. Hunter (New York): Insulted another member during debate (January 26, 1867); censured, 77-33 (January 26, 1867)
  • 1868 – Rep. Fernando Wood (New York): Described Reconstruction legislation as a “monstrosity” (January 15, 1868); censured, 114-39 (January 15, 1868)
  • 1869: Del. Edward D. Holbrook (Idaho): Stated in debate that another member made false assertions (February 4, 1869); censured (February 4, 1869)
  • 1870 – Rep. Benjamin F. Whittemore (South Carolina): Sold appointments to military academies (1870); censured 187-0 (February 24, 1870); resigned prior to censure; reelected to the same session of the House; excluded from House after reelection, 130-76 (June 21, 1870)
  • 1870 – Rep. John T. Deweese (North Carolina): Accepted money for recommending appointment to military academy (1870); censured,170-0 (March 1, 1870); resigned prior to censure (February 28, 1870)
  • 1870 – Rep. Roderick R. Butler (Tennessee): Accepted money for recommending appointment to military academy (1870); censured, 150-0 (March 16, 1870)
  • 1873 – Rep. Oakes Ames (Massachusetts): Sold $33 million in Credit Mobilier stock to members of Congress and executive branch officials at undervalued prices with the intent to influence votes and decisions (1868); censured; 182-36 (February 27, 1873)
  • 1873 – Rep. James Brooks (New York): Solicited and accepted 50 shares of Credit Mobilier stock at undervalued price (1868); censured, 174-32 (February 27, 1873)
  • 1875 – Rep. John Young Brown (Kentucky): Insulted a member in debate and lied to Speaker James Blaine (February 4, 1875); censured, 161-79 (February 4, 1875); a resolution rescinding a portion of the censure was unanimously agreed to after Blaine concluded that Brown “did not in any way intend to prevaricate or deceive the House” (May 2, 1876)
  • 1921 – Rep. Thomas L. Blanton (Texas): Inserted a document into the Congressional Record containing indecent and obscene language (October 22, 1921); censured 293-0 (October 27, 1921); apologized (October 28, 1921)
  • 1979 – Rep. Charles C. Diggs Jr. (Michigan): Convicted of 11 counts of mail fraud and 18 counts of false statements (October 7, 1978); censured, 414-0 (July 31, 1979); reelected after conviction (November 7, 1978); resigned after losing criminal appeal (June 3, 1980)
  • 1980 – Rep. Charles H. Wilson (California): Accepted money from a person with direct interest in legislation, maintained a person on payroll not performing duties commensurate with pay, and appropriated campaign funds for personal use; censured, voice vote (June 10, 1980); defeated in primary (June 3, 1980)
  • 1983 – Rep. Gerry Studds (Massachusetts): Had a sexual relationship with 17-year-old male House page in 1973; House rejected reprimand recommendation, 289-136; censured, 421-3 (July 20, 1983)
  • 2010Rep. Charlie Rangel (New York): Found guilty by the House Ethics Committee for 11 violations stemming from fundraising and financial disclosure issues.
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