Maxine Waters (D-CA) has been named one of the most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011. She is facing an ethics trial for using her position as a ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee to force Treasury officials to meet with her for what the House Ethics Committee alleges led to favorable action for OneUnited Bank.
In the interest of space and word constraints, the charges against her can be reduced to this: It is alleged that Waters used the weight of her senior position on the committee to arrange a meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The request for the meeting was masked as her advocating TARP money on behalf of minority-owned banks in desperate financial straits, brought about by failed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae investments. But as the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) pointed out, the end result was that the only bank to receive financial assistance from TARP was OneUnited Bank, which received $12 million.
The problem is that her efforts were in her official capacity and compounding that, the only bank to receive TARP money was the bank in which her husband had investments. These were valued between $500,000 and $1 million. Her husband also happened to be a board member of the bank, and the bank had contributed $12,500 to her election campaigns. The House Ethics Committee charged Waters with multiple offenses commensurate with her actions.
But NLPC — the group responsible for uncovering Waters’ alleged misdeeds — updated the case, saying:
The congresswoman’s trial was to begin last November , but was delayed indefinitely after new documents surfaced. The documents consist of a series of emails between Waters’ chief of staff and grandson Mikael Moore, and members of the Financial Services Committee. The emails show that Moore participated in discussions regarding the bank bailout legislation that directly affected OneUnited.
When confronted with charges similar to those for which mafia chieftains have been imprisoned, you and I would attempt to retreat from the court of negative public opinion. But Maxine Waters isn’t most people — she is an arrogant, powerful, high-ranking, senior member of Congress.
Her thirst for power is unabated, and with Barney Frank (D-MA) having announced he will retire at the end of this term, his position as the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee is about to open up. Without regard for appearance, Waters has made it known that she is laying the necessary groundwork to become the ranking Democrat on the very committee whose rules she is facing trial for breaking.
Waters is a belligerent, often crudely outspoken liberal even further to the left than Barney Frank. Wall Street is understandably concerned about Waters becoming the ranking Democrat and, potentially, the chairman of the committee. Frank has been the senior Democrat on the committee since 2003, and was viewed by lobbyists and Wall Street executives as someone they could work with. While we see where that relationship led us, it can be safely argued that with Waters as senior Democrat, or chairman, the potential exists for economic disaster.
Waters’ stated intentions will be yet another test of Nancy Pelosi’s power as House minority leader. It is an open secret that the two women have a strained relationship at best. But the intricacies and machinations involved in who assumes the Democratic leadership role on the committee is not the issue. The issue is that Waters has no reservations about seeking to lead the committee whose rules she is accused of blatantly violating.
This is an ongoing, unambiguous disregard for appearance and propriety. The Los Angeles Times reported that her relatives made over $1 million during the eight years preceding said article through their involvement with companies, candidates, and causes she had aided. The Times reported that Waters and her husband helped get government bond business for a company, and that her daughter, Karen Waters, and son, Edward Waters, have profited from her connections.
Citizens Against Government Waste named her the Porker of the Month for June 2009, when she “provoked a tussle with House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, (D-WI), over her intention to obtain an earmark for [her] Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center, a facility within the Los Angeles school system.”
Maxine Waters is the face of elected officials who thumb their noses at the public and, in her case, also tells citizens to “go to hell.” But the real tragedy isn’t what corrupt and arrogant politicians do — it’s what the public allows them to get away with, by rewarding them with re-election.