U.S. Representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) filed a lawsuit today against House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other House Republicans seeking reversal of a censure vote in 2010 and accusing them of denying him due process.
The House voted in December 2010 to censure Rangel after an ethics committee found him guilty of violations ranging from unpaid income taxes to improper solicitation of funds. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Rangel claimed he learned after the vote that several members of the committee received improper ex parte information.
The alleged misconduct "offends the view that the American system of justice requires persons sitting in the capacity of 'judges' in a quasi-judicial proceeding must not only avoid prejudice and bias, but must also avoid the appearance of prejudice and bias," he said in the complaint.
A spokesperson for Boehner could not immediately be reached. Other defendants included Representative. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who served as chair of the ethics committee during the proceedings against Rangel. Rangel is represented by New York attorney Jay Goldberg.
Rangel produced a memo he claimed was sent by the ethics committee's former staff director and chief counsel to Lofgren detailing ex parte communications between two former committee lawyers and members of the subcommittee that investigated the charges.
Had he known about the ex-parte communications, Rangel argued, he would have moved to dismiss the proceedings.
Rangel seeks a permanent injunction requiring the House to vacate the censure and remove references to it in official records.
The case hadn't been assigned to a judge as of press time.