PJ Media

Maxine Waters: Another Congressperson with Ethics Problems

The Caucus blog reports that Maxine Waters, D-CA, who “has been under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegations that she helped steer government money to a bank in which her husband owned shares, is asking for an investigation into the committee that has been investigating her.”

On Tuesday, Waters

said she would introduce a resolution calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to appoint a bipartisan task force to investigate the ethics panel’s decision last month to place two of its lawyers on paid administrative leave. On Nov. 19, the day the committee announced it was delaying Waters’ trial, it also placed Cindy Morgan Kim, the committee’s deputy chief counsel who was leading the investigation, and Stacy Sovereign, a committee lawyer, on indefinite leave for reported problems with their handling of the case against [her].

The resolution warns that the delay in Ms. Waters’ trial violates her “due process rights and the rules of the committee,” and says that the committee’s handling of the situation has subjected it to “public ridicule” and served to “unjustly impugn the integrity” of Ms. Waters.

I personally have my ear pretty close to the ground on this and I haven’t heard anything from the public at large ridiculing the Ethics Committee. I have, however, received many emails calling for the ousting and/or outright imprisonment of the likes of Ms. Waters. As for her integrity being “unjustly impugned,” I have to agree with those who argue that the thing that mostly impugns her integrity is that she sought bailout monies to specifically benefit a bank predicated on its being black owned.

Indeed, Waters argued that her actions were taken not simply to help one black-owned bank that her husband had an interest in. Instead, she argued, her intent was to help a group of black banks. It is not unfair for reasonable minds to expect elected representatives to act in the interest of all Americans equally.

“Whereas all of these actions have subjected the committee to public ridicule, produced contempt for the ethics process, created the public perception that the committee’s purpose was to unjustly impugn the integrity of a member of the House, and weakened the ability of the committee to properly conduct its investigative duties, all of which has brought discredit to the House,” reads one clause in her resolution. 

Here again we see the over-inflated opinion and unwashed arrogance of someone who holds public office. Need I remind taxpayers who foots the bill for the lavish lifestyles and perks that Waters, her family, and those in public office enjoy? If anything, the public should be outraged that more attention hasn’t been given to the untoward and highly questionable actions of House members long before this.

On August 2, 2010, the National Legal and Policy Center reported:

The House ethics committee announced Monday that it is charging Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) with congressional rules violations, just days after another House Democrat, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), was also hit with ethics charges by the committee.

The ethics committee has not released the details of Rep. Waters’ alleged violations, but the charges are believed to stem from the congresswoman’s suspected attempt to obtain bailout funds for a bank where her husband served as a boardmember.

But as Alana Goodman reported for NLPC on August 22, “the House Ethics Committee abruptly postponed the high profile ethics trial … after new evidence came to light which may contradict some of the congresswoman’s previous claims.”

We now know Waters “is being charged with helping to steer more than $12 million in federal bailout funds to One United, a bank in which her husband has a substantial stake.”

At that time Goodman wrote, “The New York Times reported that emails show that Waters’ office may have been advocating on behalf of One United far longer than she previously admitted. Emails reportedly [showed] that Waters’ chief of staff, Mikeal Moore, was actively involved in discussing details of the bank bailout with members of the House Financial Services Committee, after [she had] told Barney Frank, D-MA, that she would halt her involvement in banking matters that might conflict with her husband’s financial dealings.”

But as Goodman reported, a source directly involved with the trial had told the Times that the documents “may directly contradict a bit of Maxine’s story, if not the actual facts the way she has told it.”

This new development could raise additional ethics questions, not just for Waters, but also for members of the House Financial Services Committee, which her office was corresponding with.

Waters seized upon the postponement, not only to proclaim her innocence, but to also argue that the delay proved the Committee didn’t have enough evidence to proceed with the hearing.

The problem with that logic is that, even if her claims of a lack of evidence are true, it doesn’t mean she is innocent of the violations she has been charged with. Her claim that “we did not influence anyone and we did not gain any benefit” can be seen in the same light as that of an athlete responding to questions about taking performance enhancing drugs by answering, “I’ve never tested positive” — which isn’t the same as saying I’ve never used them.

Throughout all of this, the questions that beg answering are: Is Congress corrupt to its foundation? Does the elected office cause corruption? Do corrupt people seek office to further their nefarious ways? With said questions having been asked, Congress certainly does nothing to dissuade one from referencing it as a den of thieves.