List of Individuals Expelled, Censured, or Reprimanded in the U.S. House of Representatives

Blog Post

The Constitution grants the House broad power to discipline its Members for acts that range from criminal misconduct to violations of internal House Rules. Over the decades, several forms of discipline have evolved in the House. The most severe type of punishment by the House is expulsion, which is followed by censure, and finally reprimand. 

Members Who Have Been Expelled From the House of Representatives

The sternest form of punishment that the House has imposed on its Members is expulsion. The Constitution specifically empowers the House to expel a sitting Member who engages in “disorderly Behaviour,” requiring a two-thirds vote of those present and voting. Learn more about the Constitutional origins of expulsion.

IndividualCauseDateResolution No.Vote
John B. ClarkDisloyalty to the Union; fighting for the ConfederacyJuly 13, 1861N/A94-45
John W. ReedDisloyalty to the Union; fighting for the ConfederacyDecember 2, 1861N/ANo recorded vote
Henry C. BurnettDisloyalty to the Union; fighting for the ConfederacyDecember 2, 1861N/ANo recorded vote
Michael J. MyersConvicted of bribery October 2, 1980H. Res. 794 (96th Cong.)376-30
James A. TraficantConvicted of conspiracy to commit bribery, defraud U.S., receipt of illegal gratuities, obstruction of justice, filing false tax returns, and racketeeringJuly 24, 2002H. Res. 495 (107th Cong.)420-1

Members Who Have Been Censured By the House of Representatives

Censure registers the House’s deep disapproval of Member misconduct that, nevertheless, does not meet the threshold for expulsion. Once the House approves the sanction by majority vote, the censured Member must stand in the well of the House (“the bar of the House” was the nineteenth-century term) while the Speaker or presiding officer reads aloud the censure resolution and its preamble as a form of public rebuke. Learn more about the historical origins of censure.

IndividualCauseDateResolution No.Vote
William StanberyInsulting Speaker of the House Andrew Stevenson during floor debateJuly 11, 1832N/A93-44
Joshua R. Giddings"Unwarranted and unwarrantable" conduct for presenting a series of anti-slavery resolutions violating the House gag ruleMarch 22, 1842N/A125-69
Laurence M. KeittAssisting in assault on Senator Charles SumnerJuly 16, 1856N/A106-96
Benjamin G. HarrisEncouraged Confederacy in House debate to expel Representative Alexander LongApril 9, 1864N/A98-20
Alexander LongSupporting the recognition of the Confederacy in a floor speechApril 14, 1864N/A80-70
John W. ChanlerInsulting the House by introducing resolution containing unparliamentary languageMay 14, 1866N/A72-30
Lovell H. RouseauAssaulting Representative Josiah Grinnell of Iowa with a caneJuly 17, 18661N/A89-30
John W. HunterUnparliamentary language for insulting a Member during debateJanuary 26, 1867N/A77-33
Fernando WoodUnparliamentary language for describing Reconstruction legislation as a "monstrosity"January 15, 1868N/A114-39
Edward D. HolbrookUnparliamentary language for stating in debate that another Member made false assertionsFebruary 4, 1869N/ANo recorded vote
Benjamin WhittemoreSold multiple military academy appointments2February 24, 1870N/A187-0
John T. DeWeeseSold a military academy appointment3March 1, 1870N/A170-0
Roderick R. ButlerSold a military academy appointmentMarch 17, 1870N/A158-0
Oakes AmesSold $33 million worth of stock in the "Crédit Mobilier" scandal to Members of Congress and executive officials at an undervalued price to influence votes and decisionsFebruary 27, 1873N/A182-36
James BrooksSolicited and accepted 50 shares of "Crédit Mobilier" stock at undervalued pricesFebruary 27, 1873N/A174-32
John Y. BrownUnparliamentary language for insulting a Member during debateFebruary 4, 1875N/A161-79
William D. BynumUnparliamentary language for insulting a Member during debateMay 17, 1890N/A126-104
Thomas L. BlantonUnparliamentary language for inserting a document into the Congressional Record that contained indecent and obscene languageOctober 27, 1921N/A293-112
Charles C. DiggsConvicted on 11 counts of mail fraud and 18 counts of false statements in a payroll fraud scandalJuly 31, 1979H. Res. 378 (96th Cong.)414-0
Charles H. WilsonReceiving improper gifts; improper use of congressional funds; improper personal use of campaign fundsJune 10, 1980H. Res 660 (96th Cong.)By voice vote
Gerry E. StuddsSexual misconduct with a House PageJuly 20, 1983H. Res. 265 (98th Cong.)421-3
Daniel B. CraneSexual misconduct with a House PageJuly 20, 1983H. Res. 266 (98th Cong.)421-3
Charles B. RangelMisuse of congressional letterhead for fundraising; impermissible use of rent-controlled facility for campaign headquarters; inaccurate financial reports and federal tax returnsDecember 2, 2010H. Res. 1737 (111th Cong.)333-79

Members Who Have Been Reprimanded By the House of Representatives

For much of the House’s history, in fact well into the twentieth century, the word reprimand was used interchangeably with censure. Since the creation of a formal ethics process in the late 1960s, a reprimand registers the House’s disapproval for conduct that warrants a less severe rebuke than censure. Learn more about the historical origins of reprimand.

IndividualCauseDateResolution No.Vote
Robert L. F. SikesImproper financial disclosure and conflict of interestJuly 29, 1976H. Res 1421 (94th Cong.)381-3
Charles H. WilsonFalse statement before Ethics Committee investigating the influence of a foreign governmentOctober 13, 1978H. Res. 1414 (95th Cong.)329-41
John J. McFallFailure to report campaign contributions from a foreign lobbyistOctober 13, 1978H. Res. 1415 (95th Cong.)By voice vote
Edward J. RoybalFailure to report campaign contributions; converted campaign funds to personal useOctober 13, 1978H. Res. 1416 (95th Cong.)By voice vote
George V. HansenFor conviction of four counts of making false statements related to financial disclosure formJuly 31, 1984H. Res. 558 (98th Cong.)354-52
Austin J. Murphy"Ghost voting" in which Murphy had another person vote on his behalf; improper use of official resourcesDecember 18, 1987H. Res 335 (100th Cong.)324-68
Barney FrankUsing political influence to fix parking tickets and influence probation officers for personal friendJuly 26, 1990H. Res 440 (101st Cong.)408-18
Newt GingrichAllowing a Member-affiliated tax-exempt organization to be used for political purposes; providing inaccurate and unreliable information to Ethics CommitteeJanuary 21, 1997H. Res 31 (105th Cong.)395-28
Addison Graves (Joe) WilsonInterrupting President's remarks before a Joint Session which was a "breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings" of the Joint Session.September 15, 2009H. Res. 744 (111th Cong.)240-179
Laura RichardsonCompelling official congressional staff to work on her political campaignAugust 2, 2012H. Res. 755 (112th Cong.)Unanimous consent

Footnotes

1Rosseau was formally censured before the bar of the House on July 21, 1866.

2Whittemore resigned before expulsion and the House "condemned" him.

3DeWeese resigned before expulsion and the House "condemned" him.