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Waters won't settle ethics charges, wants House trial

By Ben Pershing
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has decided against settling potential House ethics charges for her role in helping to steer federal funds to a bank, choosing instead to proceed to a trial, a source familiar with the process said Friday night.

Waters's decision means that her case will be heard by an adjudicatory subcommittee of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. She will become the second high-profile Democrat -- and member of the Congressional Black Caucus -- to face such an ordeal in the coming months, along with Rep. Charles E. Rangel (D-N.Y.).

Waters's office declined to comment on the issue, and the ethics panel has not issued any statements on the case. Her decision was first reported by Politico.

Waters is facing scrutiny for her efforts to arrange meetings in 2008 between Treasury Department officials and minority-owned banks, including representatives from OneUnited Bank. One of the sessions was geared toward ensuring that the banks received a share of bailout funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and OneUnited got $12.1 million in TARP money soon after the second meeting.

Waters reportedly did not tell Treasury Department officials that she had personal and financial ties to OneUnited. Waters's husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank's board of directors and owned shares in the company worth at least $500,000. Waters herself had previously owned shares in the bank herself but sold them years earlier.

Waters has said that she was simply trying to help minority-owned institutions get their fair share from the government.

Responding last October to the news that the ethics committee had voted to create an investigative subcommittee to probe her case, Waters said: "I am confident that, as the investigation moves forward, the panel will discover that there are no facts to support allegations that I have acted improperly or violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, or regulation or other standard of conduct in performing my duties and discharging my responsibilities as a United States Representative."

The ethics committee took up the Waters case after a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics, a quasi-independent body charged with vetting allegations of misconduct against lawmakers and recommending possible further action by the ethics committee. Several members of the black caucus have complained about the OCE's methods and have signed onto legislation that would weaken its charter.

By Ben Pershing  |  July 30, 2010; 10:57 PM ET
Categories:  Capitol Briefing  
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The real challenge presented by the current "actions" by the ethics committee is that the two people involved have become so immune to appropriate behavior, they have no clue what is going on. This is pretty dsicouraging stuff....I suspect there is more to follow.

Posted by: swan_502 | August 4, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Is it a legitimate use of military jets to transport the Speaker of the House and her favored Congressional coterie for routine travel? Even if you believe it is -- and, personally, I do not -- any rational taxpayer would admit that it is monumental waste of money. Military flights cost between $5,000 and $20,000 per hour to operate. The Speaker and her passengers routinely reimburse the Air Force $120 to $400 for each flight.
Since Nancy Pelosi took over as Speaker in 2006, she's rung up millions in military travel expenses to commute between San Francisco and Washington.
Worse still, she also appears to have liberally requisitioned entire flights and used these flights to shuttle her children and grandchildren back and forth to DC. That is, uncompanied by any member of Congress, her kids, in-laws and grandchildren are using military passenger jets for their routine travel needs.

Posted by: atthun | August 4, 2010 5:59 AM | Report abuse

Why not demand a trial? Gives her little buddies a chance to give her a slap on the wrist like Rangle.
No chance she'll be treated the same as John Q. Citizen....

Posted by: TexRancher | August 3, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

The swamp is finally being drained and two of the biggest crocs from the "Most Ethical Congress" are going down first!

Good news for America!

Posted by: JustJoe3 | August 2, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

It's not the "Congressional Black Caucus", it's the Black Democrat Congressional Caucus. Republicans, and whites who represent majority-black districts, are not allowed to join.

Posted by: sampjack | August 2, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

C'Mon, she just wanted to make sure her husband got paid (off).

What is the big deal?

Posted by: SwellLevel5 | August 1, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

It is utterly hypocritical for Congress to extol the virtues of a color-blind society while officially sanctioning caucuses that are based solely on race. If we are serious about achieving the goal of a colorblind society, Congress should lead by example and end these divisive, race-based caucuses.

Posted by: JBfromFL | August 1, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Multiply these counts by 1.000 and it still wouldn't total what George Bush and Cheney did. It also wouldn't add up to what the party of NO is doing to the Country daily.

Posted by: racam | August 1, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse doubt you lips are stained with koolaid and nostril's packed with brown liberal spew...I bet when someone talks about ask 'where do you sign up'

Posted by: JWx2 | July 31, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

she's black and liberal democrat..therefore she MUST be the 'Victim' of someone else's its mandatory that she gets special treatment and sympathy...the california blacks don't think she is racist..but she does thrown them a hamhock now and then.

Posted by: JWx2 | July 31, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Talk about it hitting the fan. It's a very serious charge. If a Wall Street type had done something like this, they would hang them. We will see if the trolley runs both ways.

Posted by: wonderingstevie | July 31, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

This is good for the Democrats--they're not letting their own members slide, they're holding them accountable, even in the months just before an especially tough election for them. That's ethical behavior, and they should be commended for it, and rewarded at the polls. That's the message that should come out of this. The ethics apparatus during Republican rule of Congress was practically dismantled altogether, and you sure never saw them making the ethically correct but politically difficult decision to try one (or two) of their members just before an election.

Posted by: iowanic | July 30, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Hehehe...the most ethical Congress ever, huh? Good going queen Pelosi. Not only has Queen Pelosi given us corrupt legislation, she's also given us corrupt representatives. Time to drain the swamp again America...GOP '10.

Posted by: conservativemaverick | July 30, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

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