The House Ethics Committee recommended Thursday that Rep. Mario Biaggi, a 10-term New York Democrat convicted of accepting illegal gratuities, be expelled from Congress for violating its rules of conduct.
Biaggi, once the most-decorated policeman on the New York City force, could become the first congressman since 1980 and only the second since the Civil War to be drummed out of the House.
The committee’s recommendation must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the House to become effective.
Biaggi, 70, vowed to fight the recommendation and accused the committee of acting in haste.
“I am bitterly disappointed by the committee’s action, coming as it does before my appeal has even been heard,” he said. “This fight is far from over. I will take my case directly to the floor of the House.”
The committee could have recommended a wide range of sanctions, including expulsion, censure, reprimand, fine or loss of seniority.
In November, two committee lawyers issued a report that said Biaggi had “discredited the House of Representatives as an institution” after he was convicted of accepting paid vacations in exchange for helping to steer government contracts toward a floundering Brooklyn shipyard.