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The PJ Tatler

by
Belladonna Rogers

Bio

November 28, 2011 - 4:28 pm

This has turned into one of those days that gets you thinking of the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.”  Not all good news stays put as good news.  Sometimes, it gets up and bites you where it can really hurt, in this case, your imagination.

As PJM’s Bryan Preston reported this morning,

…with Frank retiring Maxine Waters is slated to be the ranking Dem on the banking committee. Waters marched right alongside Frank in defense of Fannie & Freddie, and once let slip that she would like to “socialize”, as in seize for the government, oil companies. She also told the Tea Party to “go straight to Hell” …

The fiery Los Angeles Congresswoman, 73 and far from mellow, who’s served in Congress since 1990, has been under a House Ethics investigation since 2010. According to Politico, Waters has been working the phones today, calling Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat colleagues to announce her plan to fill Frank’s banking post in the next Congress, as if she had nary an ethics care in the world:

After news reports on Waters’s involvement with OneUnited’s federal bailout broke, an ethics investigation into the California Democrat was initiated. In June 2010, Waters was hit with three ethics charges accusing her of violating the letter and spirit of House rules and federal regulations by assisting OneUnited, including using her official position to benefit her personal finances.

Waters has vehemently denied the allegations and asked for an ethics trial to clear her name.

But those proceedings were postponed in mid-Nov. 2010. The Ethics Committee said the delay was due to new evidence uncovered during the probe, but POLITICO later reported that two Ethics Committee staffers helping run the Waters case were suspended after allegations they improperly communicated with Republicans, including its current chairman, Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner, on the secretive panel.

In July, … an outside counsel, Billy Martin, was appointed to take over the case. Martin’s deadline for reporting back to the Ethics Committee with his recommendations is Jan. 2.

Waters’s attorneys have asked for the charges against her to be dismissed, but it is not clear whether that will happen, meaning the California Democrat could go into 2012 facing a potential ethics trial while seeking the top Democratic spot on Financial Services.

According to The Hill, Wall Street is bracing for the worst:

 “She’s not a good face of the issues,” one financial executive said. “She’s too much of a bomb thrower.”

Democratic leaders may look to someone other than Waters, the second-ranking Democrat on the panel, to take over for Frank.

Waters is wrestling with a long-running ethics investigation over whether she helped secure federal funding for a bank in which her husband owned stock and previously served as a board member. Waters has maintained her innocence, and two attorneys on the House ethics committee were placed on leave for mishandling the case. An outside attorney is now investigating the matter.

“They’re going to go with people who are universally respected,” said the financial executive. But a trade group president and former Hill staffer believed the top spot is Waters’s to lose. This source pointed out that Waters brings geographical and racial diversity to the committee.

Jumping over Waters to another Democrat would also be a headache for Democratic leaders because it would risk angering the Congressional Black Caucus.

So anyone planning to drink a toast tonight to the retirement of Barney Frank might want to think again.  Happy days do not appear to be here again, especially if the Democrats re-take the House.  Duck-and-cover would likely become the new motto in the banking industry if that were to come to pass.

 

Belladonna Rogers is a close observer of international and domestic affairs.
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