It’s official: the House ethics committee has announced that Rep. Maxine Waters is headed to a public trial on charges that she violated House ethics rules. The charges stem from her intervention with federal regulators on behalf of a bank in which she and her husband had substantial investments, and where her husband once served on the board of directors.
Waters denies wrongdoing and vows to fight. “I have not violated any House rules,” she insists, and “therefore, I simply will not be forced to admit to something I did not do and instead have chosen to respond to charges made by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in a public hearing.”
Waters argues that her advocacy that forms the basis of the charge was “on behalf of minority banks” and that “neither my office nor I benefited in any way, engaged in improper action or influenced anyone.” But according to one witness, the bank with which Waters had personal connections was the only bank discussed during a meeting Waters arranged with Treasury Secretary Paulson to talk about the effects on minority-owned banks of the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Waters’ financial disclosure statement shows that her husband had between $500,000 and $1 million invested in that bank — OneUnited Bank.
It Waters sticks to her guns — and she’s a better bet than most to do just that — it should be an interesting public trial.
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